Planta Med 2013; 79(06): 437-446
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1328321
Original Papers
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

The Effects of Berberine on Blood Lipids: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Hui Dong*
1   Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, P. R. China
Yan Zhao
2   Department of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, P. R. China
Li Zhao*
1   Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, P. R. China
Fuer Lu
1   Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, P. R. China
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 03 June 2012
revised 31 January 2013

accepted 13 February 2013

Publication Date:
19 March 2013 (online)


Clinical trials have reported lipid-lowering effects of berberine intake, but the findings have been inconsistent. The aim of this meta-analysis was to assess the safety of berberine and its effects on blood lipid profiles. A systemic review was designed, undertaken and reported in accordance with the PRISMA statement. Randomized controlled trials of the effects of berberine on blood lipids in adults were included. Study population characteristics and the main results, including changes in the levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, were extracted. Weighted mean differences were calculated for net changes in blood lipid concentrations using fixed-effect or random-effects models. After filtering, eleven randomized controlled trials (including a total of 874 participants) were included in this study. The methodological quality of these studies was generally low. The final analysis showed that administration of berberine produced a significant reduction in total cholesterol (mean difference − 0.61 mmol/L; 95 % confidence interval − 0.83 to − 0.39), triglycerides (mean difference − 0.50 mmol/L; 95 % confidence interval − 0.69 to − 0.31), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (mean difference − 0.65 mmol/L; 95 % confidence interval − 0.76 to − 0.54) levels, with a remarkable increase in high-density lipoprotein (mean difference 0.05 mmol/L; 95 % confidence interval 0.02 to 0.09). No serious adverse effects of berberine have been reported. In conclusion, berberine may have beneficial effects in the control of blood lipid levels. However, the efficacy of berberine in treating hyperlipidemia should be further evaluated by more randomized controlled trials in a larger population of patients.

* Equal contribution.

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