Role of a berberine-based nutritional supplement in reducing diarrhea in subjects with functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2020 Mar ;66(1):29-34. PMID: 32283882
Francesco Di Pierro
BACKGROUND: Berberine, an alkaloid obtained by extraction from Berberis spp., is a botanical that is widely used in the nutraceutical sector to control cholesterol and blood glucose levels. It is also a molecule that is effective in limiting diarrhea due to its multi-factorial properties, including its antimicrobial, gut eubiotic and antisecretive actions, and its ability to slow gut motility. In our routine clinical practice, we have suggested the use of a berberine-based nutraceutical, formulated with melatonin and depolymerized guar gum, to patients affected by functional diarrhea (FD) or by diarrhea-type irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D).
METHODS: We have therefore retrospectively analyzed the clinical effect of such a nutritional supplement in these two sub-groups of patients.
RESULTS: Despite the highly pragmatic scheme of our study, our findings strongly confirm the antidiarrheal properties of berberine and recommend its use in some gut functional diseases characterized by frequent evacuation of mushy and/or watery stools. In fact, even after 30 days of treatment, the berberine-based nutritional supplement significantly reduces diarrheal events by 50-70%. After 90 days, this reduction improves to between 70 and 80%, with a reduction of more than 60% in the number of evacuations per week and with more than 50% of treated subjects demonstrating normalized, according to self-reported Bristol Stool Scale categorization, stool consistency. The product is well tolerated and adherence to the proposed therapy is good. Common side effects of the product are flatulence and meteorism, likely due to the"acarbose-like"berberine effects on gutα-glucosidase.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients, especially those preferring"natural"therapy, can be successfully treated, when affected by a gut functional disease characterized by diarrhea, by berberine-based products.