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Pilot study on the additive effects of berberine and oral type 2 diabetes agents for patients with suboptimal glycemic control

Authors Di Pierro F , Villanova N, Agostini F, Marzocchi R, Soverini V, Marchesini G 

Received 9 May 2012

Accepted for publication 18 May 2012

Published 17 July 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 213—217


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Francesco Di Pierro,1 Nicola Villanova,2 Federica Agostini,2 Rebecca Marzocchi,2 Valentina Soverini,2 Giulio Marchesini2

1Scientific Department, Velleja Research, Milano, 2Diseases of Metabolism, S Orsola Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy

Background: Suboptimal glycemic control is a common situation in diabetes, regardless of the wide range of drugs available to reach glycemic targets. Basic research in diabetes is endeavoring to identify new actives working as insulin savers, use of which could delay the introduction of injectable insulin or reduce the insulin dose needed. Commonly available as a nutraceutical, berberine is a potential candidate.
Methods and results: Because its low oral bioavailability can be overcome by P-glycoprotein inhibitors like herbal polyphenols, we have tested the nutraceutical combination of Berberis aristata extract and Silybum marianum extract (Berberol®) in type 2 diabetes in terms of its additive effect when combined with a conventional oral regimen for patients with suboptimal glycemic control. After 90 days of treatment, the nutraceutical association had a positive effect on glycemic and lipid parameters, significantly reducing glycosylated hemoglobin, basal insulin, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. A relevant effect was also observed in terms of liver function by measuring aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase. The product had a good safety profile, with distinctive gastrointestinal side effects likely due to its acarbose-like action.
Conclusion: Although further studies should be carried out to confirm our data, Berberol could be considered a good candidate as an adjunctive treatment option in diabetes, especially in patients with suboptimal glycemic control.

Keywords: berberine, silymarin, glycosylated hemoglobin, diabetes

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