Metformin has been used for regulating blood sugar levels for several centuries and is now a first-line drug for type-2-diabetes. Since its discovery that it activates AMPK and reduces risk of cancer, metformin has drawn great attention.
However, metformin has a lot of gastrointestinal side effects including nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and gas. These appear to be worse in people that are consuming a large amount of carbohydrates, and are fairly common.
On the other hand, Berberine, extracted from natural sources, was an ancient herbal medicine in treating diarrhea. Ongoing experimental and clinical studies have illuminated great potential of Berberine in regulation of glucose and lipid homeostasis, cancer growth and inflammation. Furthermore, the lipid lowering effect of Berberine is comparable to those conventional lipid drugs but with low toxicity.
Various studies show the efficacy of Berberine in the treatment of type-2-diabetes in patients.
In a randomized double blind controlled study, 36 adults with newly diagnosed type-2-diabetes were given Berberine or Metformin in a three months trial. Both Metformin and Berberine had similar effects in lowering blood sugar level. Significant decreases in hemoglobin A1c, fasting blood glucose, postprandial blood glucose, and plasma triglycerides were observed in the Berberine group. Berberine performed better when compared to Metformin in reduction in total cholesterol and triglycerides.
Therefore, it is the right time to transform beneficial effects of Berberine into therapeutic practice. Studies show that Berberine is quite well tolerated and probably better than Metformin and works equally well if not better to lower the hemoglobin A1c in patients with high blood sugar with the added benefit of lowering cholesterol and has some anti-inflammatory and immune supporting properties.