The effect of berberine supplementation on obesity parameters, inflammation and liver function enzymes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2020 Aug:38:43-49. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2020.04.010. Epub 2020 May 6.


Introduction: So far, no study has summarized the findings on the effects of berberine intake on anthropometric parameters, C-reactive protein (CRP) and liver enzymes. This systematic review and meta-analysis were done based upon randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to analyze the effects of berberine on anthropometric parameters, CRP and liver enzymes.

Method: Following databases were searched for eligible studies published from inception to 30 July 2019: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, PubMed and Google scholar. Necessary data were extracted. Data were pooled by the inverse variance method and expressed as mean difference with 95% Confidence Intervals (95% CI).

Result: 12 studies were included. Berberine treatment moderately but significantly decreased body weight (WMD = -2.07 kg, 95% CI -3.09, -1.05, P < 0.001), body mass index (BMI) (WMD = -0.47 kg/m2, 95% CI -0.70, -0.23, P < 0.001), waist circumference (WC) (WMD = -1.08 cm, 95% CI -1.97, -0.19, P = 0.018) and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations (WMD = -0.42 mg/L, 95% CI -0.82, -0.03, P = 0.034). However, berberine intake did not affect liver enzymes, including alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (WMD = -1.66 I/U, 95% CI -3.98, 0.65, P = 0.160) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (WMD = -0.87 I/U, 95% CI -2.56, 0.82, P = 0.311).

Conclusion: This meta-analysis found a significant reduction of body weight, BMI, WC and CRP levels associated with berberine intake which may have played an indirect role in improved clinical symptoms in diseases with metabolic disorders. Berberine administration had no significant effect on ALT and AST levels.

Keywords: Berberine; Body mass index; Body weight; C-reactive protein; Liver enzymes; Meta-analysis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Berberine* / pharmacology
  • Berberine* / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Liver
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Berberine