Metformin vs Berberine: What’s Better?

Metformin vs Berberine

Your research has led you to Metformin and Berberine, wondering which of the two might help you reach your longevity targets. Metformin has previously been explored extensively in our previous blog entries, but Berberine hasn’t been discussed as much, so we thought we’d compare these two intriguing agents.

What is Metformin?

Many people believe that Metformin is derived from goat’s rue (Galega officinalis) or French lilac, however, this is not fully correct. Sometime before the first World War, scientists studying the poisonous chemical guanidine discovered a less hazardous alkaloid, galegine, which was temporarily tried as a diabetes therapy.

Despite being less poisonous than guanidine, galegine had toxicity concerns as well– but it was while investigating galegine that scientists in Dublin developed metformin for the first time in 1922. So, while Metformin is derived from French lilac in an indirect way, it can’t really be called a natural supplement as it is a synthetic drug.

What is Berberine?

Berberine, unlike Metformin, is a naturally occurring substance found in a variety of plants, including European barberry,  goldthread, greater celandine, goldenseal, Oregon grape, philodendron, and tree turmeric. However, simply because Berberine is a naturally occurring chemical does not imply that it is any safer or healthier than Metformin. In reality, there is considerably less safety evidence for Berberine than there is for Metformin, and so it is too early to determine whether Berberine is genuinely safe for use. One thing is certain: Berberine inhibits two specific enzymes responsible for metabolizing numerous prescription medications, therefore it should only be used after speaking with your practitioner.

Which is the better choice?

  1. Metformin has received far more research attention than Berberine.

In fact, 1600 clinical studies for Metformin have been performed, compared to only 34 for Berberine. To sum it up, Metformin boasts a much more impressive safety profile than Berberine.

  1. It is difficult to rely on the authenticity of Berberine pills offered on the internet.

Unlike Metformin, which is consistent with national purity and potency standards set by the pharmacy board, Berberine is classified as a nutritional supplement, and quality regulations for supplements are extremely lenient. In one research, 60 percent of Berberine pills failed to reach potency criteria. As the FDA has noted, over-the-counter medicines aren’t always what they claim to be, and often contain harmful ingredients that aren’t disclosed.

For all these considerations, we conclude Metformin is the superior option for the time being. While Berberine and its derivatives have a ton of potential for addressing several disorders, we feel it is too soon to prescribe Berberine to our patients; nevertheless, it’s always advised to speak with a health professional before starting any new therapy.

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