The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Berberine effects on diabetes and cholesterol

    It appears to have positive effects in both conditions, according to this study by researchers at Min-Hang Hospital in Shanghai.

    First, the details.

    • 116 patients with type 2 diabetes and abnormal blood cholesterol levels were randomly assigned to berberine (1 gram daily) or placebo for 3 months.
    • The primary outcomes were changes in blood sugar and lipid concentrations.
    • Glucose disposal rate (GDR) was measured to determine changes in insulin resistance or sensitivity.

    And, the results in the berberine group.

    • Fasting blood sugar levels decreased from 7.0 to 5.6 mM/L.
    • Post load blood sugar levels decreased from 12.0 to 8.9 mM/L.
    • HbA1c (a measure of long-term diabetes control) decreased from 7.5% to 6.6%.
    • Triglyceride levels decreased from 2.5 to 1.6 mM/L.
    • Total cholesterol decreased from 5.3 to 4.4 mM/L
    • LDL (bad) cholesterol decreased from 3.2 to 2.6 mM/L.
      • All changes were significant vs placebo.
    • GDR increased after berberine treatment, but the change was not significant vs placebo.
    • Mild to moderate constipation was observed in 5 participants taking berberine.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “Berberine is effective and safe in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia.”

    It has been proposed that berberine’s benefits in diabetes might be related to a change in insulin resistance. That was not found in this study.

    4/13/08 14:53 JR

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