Berberine does not improve cardiovascular risk factors in men with hyperlipidemia Original paper

Among men with hyperlipidemia (high triglycerides, high cholesterol, and/or high LDL), berberine supplementation did not have a positive impact on a large number of cardiovascular disease risk factors.

This Study Summary was published on October 3, 2021.


Berberine is an alkaloid found in a variety of plants, including Oregon grape and goldenseal. Some evidence suggests that supplementation with berberine may have beneficial effects on people with type 2 diabetes, including improvements in blood lipids. Given these potential effects in people with diabetes, this study examined the effect of berberine supplementation on various cardiovascular disease risk factors in men with hyperlipidemia.

The study

This 12-week randomized controlled trial examined the effect of berberine supplementation on risk factors for cardiovascular disease in 84 men (ages 20 to 65) with hyperlipidemia (defined as triglycerides greater than 150 mg/dL, total cholesterol greater than 200 mg/dL, and/or LDL cholesterol greater than 100 mg/dL).

The participants were assigned to take 500 milligrams of berberine twice per day or a placebo. The primary outcomes assessed were cardiovascular risk factors such as total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, triglycerides, thromboxane A2, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and testosterone. The secondary outcomes were BMI and waist-to-hip ratio.

The results

After 12 weeks, berberine reduced HDL and total cholesterol compared to the placebo. There were no differences between groups on any other outcome.


Although total cholesterol decreased in the berberine group, this was not accompanied by a decrease in LDL and therefore is of questionable significance.

This study did not make adjustments for multiple comparisons, increasing the likelihood that the HDL and total cholesterol findings may have been a false positive.

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This Study Summary was published on October 3, 2021.