Berberine is a naturally alkaloid extracted from the Asian herb Rhizoma Coptidis, but is also found in a variety of other plants including: tree turmeric, goldenseal, Oregon grape and more. Berberine has been widely used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, the primary function of this molecule is its’ positive effects on insulin sensitivity and other biomarkers of type 2 diabetes such as glycated hemoglobin and fasting glucose.
In a meta-analysis spanning 14 trials and over one thousand participants, it was concluded that berberine is as effective as some pharmaceuticals at treating hyperglycaemia and dyslipidemia in type 2 diabetes.
However, this meta-analysis was subject to a number of confounding factors including selection bias and poor quality studies, and no long term studies have taken place as of yet to ascertain the long term safety implication. Despite this, berberine is one of the most promising new compounds in the metabolic syndrome field.