The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend statin medications to lower cholesterol in select individuals. However, some patients are intolerant of statin medications, and others choose not to take them.
Dietary supplements may offer an alternative approach to cholesterol management for these patients. One such dietary supplement is Berberine.
Berberine is a dietary supplement which when taken in its purest form is found useful in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Berberine helps to activate AMP-activated protein kinase, which can help to regulate how the body uses blood sugar. Berberine works by inhibiting an enzyme called PCSK9 that helps regulate the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream, reducing the chance of a stroke.
It has been found that Berberine alone and in combination with other supplements provided an average LDL percent reduction of 20–30%.
A review article, published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2018, summarized the clinical trials of Berberine for the treatment of hyperlipidemia (a condition in which there are high levels of fat particles (lipids) in the blood.). Three studies evaluated Berberine as a standalone treatment (1000-1500 mg/day), compared with placebo.
The majority of studies consistently suggested that Berberine had a beneficial reducing effect on LDL or “bad” cholesterol (reducing it by 20-50 mg/dL) and triglycerides (reducing them by 25-55 mg/dL). Berberine alone and in combination with other supplements provided an average LDL percent reduction of 20–30%. This can be compared with the proven LDL reduction capacity of approximately 30% with moderate-intensity statin therapy.