Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.  While there are many natural options claiming to help, one supplement called Berberine may have some real science to back it up.  Berberine is a compound found in a variety of plant species, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, and other traditional medicine for thousands of years.  It is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but emerging research suggests it may be particularly effective at lowering blood sugar levels. In fact, a systemic review and meta-analysis showed that taking berberine can lower blood sugar levels to a similar extent as the diabetes drug Metformin.  Another study evaluating 116 people with type 2 diabetes, showed one gram of Berberine daily reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 20% and HbA1c (a marker for long-term blood sugar levels) by 12%.  The typical dose of berberine is 500 milligrams (mg) two times a day.  Since a small number of people may experience gastrointestinal side effects, it is recommended to start with 500 mg once a day and increase the amount once your body gets used to it. *  Although more research is needed, it seems science may be catching up with something ancient healers have known about for a long time!


*As always, if you have diabetes or any other medical condition, it is important to speak to your healthcare practitioner prior to taking any nutritional supplement.




(1) Gunnars, K. (2017, January 14). Berberine: A Powerful Supplement With Many Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/berberine-powerful-supplement

(2) Lan, J., Zhao, Y., Dong, F., Yan, Z., Zheng, W., Fan, J., & Sun, G. (2015). Meta-analysis of the effect and safety of berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipemia and hypertension. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 161, 69-81. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.09.049

(3) YX, C. (n.d.). Berberine. Retrieved from https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/berberine

(4) Zhang, Y., Li, X., Zou, D., Liu, W., Yang, J., Zhu, N., . . . Ning, G. (2008). Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and Dyslipidemia with the Natural Plant Alkaloid Berberine. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 93(7), 2559-2565. doi:10.1210/jc.2007-2404