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For the Health Professional: What Is berberine?

Berberine is a bioactive compound that can be derived from several plants, such as Coptis chinensis (C

optis/Goldthread), Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal), Berberis aquifolium (Oregon grape), Berberis aristata (tree turmeric), and Berberis vulgaris (barberry) (Pang et al., 2014). The bioactive compound has been widely used in Chinese medicine for its antimicrobial properties to treat infections that have stemmed from bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Although berberine’s hypoglycemic impact was first reported in 1988, it has been used as an anti-

diabetic mediator. The dietary supplement has demonstrated a similar mechanism of action to metformin in reducing blood sugar levels and other aspects of a person’s metabolic profile—cholesterol and triglyceride levels (Yin et a., 2012). The side effects of berberine have been mild; they are constipation, flatulence, and stomach pain. A study indicated that patients did not suffer from severe gastrointestinal effects when berberine was taken alone (Yin et al., 2008). The cost of berberine is also relatively low compared to medication. A month's supply of 500-milligram berberine capsules ranges from $8.48 to $47.40. The price range can be due to its manufacturer (Funk et al., 2018). Therefore, it allows for the exploration of berberine, and lifestyle modifications compared to OHAs and berberine with OHAs regarding the metabolic profile in adults who have T2D.


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