In February 2020 researchers from Italy and Bahrain published their review of the medical scientific literature to assess the use of berberine in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome. The researchers stated that berberine is known to be effective against insulin resistance and obesity, particularly against the hormonally active component of total body fat. A total of 5 studies, involving 1078 women, were included in the review. Two studies found that berberine induced a redistribution of body fat, reducing the hormonally active component of total body fat in the absence of weight loss, as well as improving insulin sensitivity, similar to metformin. A further study demonstrated that berberine improved the lipid pattern, whilst 3 studies demonstrated that berberine improved insulin resistance in theca cells with an improvement of the ovulation rate per cycle. Berberine was therefore also effective on fertility and live birth rates. The researchers concluded by saying that the use of berberine for polycystic ovary syndrome was safe with few side effects being seen in the reviewed studies. Further research is required to identify the dosage of berberine useful for long-term therapy.
Rondanelli M et al. Polycystic ovary syndrome management: a review of the possible amazing role of berberine. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2020 Feb 14. [Epub ahead of print]