Combined berberine and probiotic treatment as an effective regimen for improving postprandial hyperlipidemia in type 2 diabetes patients: a double blinded placebo controlled randomized study.

Gut microbes. 2022;14(1):2003176

Plain language summary

Hyperlipidaemia is a major risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases particularly when combined with hyperglycaemia and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Current diagnostic criteria and treatment targets are based on evaluating fasting lipidaemia (FL). However, increasing evidence has supported that a high level of non-fasting lipidaemia, mainly constituted by post-prandial lipidaemia (PL), is also an important CVD risk factor. The aim of this study was to investigate how the combination treatment of berberine (BBR) and probiotics (Prob), or either one could exert benefit on lowering PL, and whether their impact on gut microbiota could contribute to this effect. This study is based on the PREMOTE trial, which was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in 20 medical centres in China and enrolled newly diagnosed T2D patients. This lipidomic study included 365 of the 409 participants enrolled for the PREMOTE trial. Results showed that: - Prob+BBR combined therapy exerted a similar effect on reducing fasting lipidaemia with BBR alone but a superior effect on the levels of postprandial plasma total cholesterol and post-prandial low-density lipoprotein cholesterol compared to either BBR or Prob alone. - a substantial decrease in various lipid species after Prob+BBR treatment. Authors conclude that their findings proved the therapeutic effect of a combined treatment of oral administration of probiotics with berberine on improving PL in patients newly diagnosed with T2D and proposed a new gut microbiome related remedy for managing dyslipidaemia, covering both PL and FL, in patients with T2D.


Non-fasting lipidemia (nFL), mainly contributed by postprandial lipidemia (PL), has recently been recognized as an important cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk as fasting lipidemia (FL). PL serves as a common feature of dyslipidemia in Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), albeit effective therapies targeting on PL were limited. In this study, we aimed to evaluate whether the therapy combining probiotics (Prob) and berberine (BBR), a proven antidiabetic and hypolipidemic regimen via altering gut microbiome, could effectively reduce PL in T2D and to explore the underlying mechanism. Blood PL (120 min after taking 100 g standard carbohydrate meal) was examined in 365 participants with T2D from the Probiotics and BBR on the Efficacy and Change of Gut Microbiota in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes (PREMOTE study), a random, placebo-controlled, and multicenter clinical trial. Prob+BBR was superior to BBR or Prob alone in improving postprandial total cholesterol (pTC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (pLDLc) levels with decrement of multiple species of postprandial lipidomic metabolites after 3 months follow-up. This effect was linked to the changes of fecal Bifidobacterium breve level responding to BBR alone or Prob+BBR treatment. Four fadD genes encoding long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase were identified in the genome of this B. breve strain, and transcriptionally activated by BBR. In vitro BBR treatment further decreased the concentration of FFA in the culture medium of B. breve compared to vehicle. Thus, the activation of fadD by BBR could enhance FFA import and mobilization in B. breve and diliminish the intraluminal lipids for absorption to mediate the effect of Prob+BBR on PL. Our study confirmed that BBR and Prob (B. breve) could exert a synergistic hypolipidemic effect on PL, acting as a gut lipid sink to achieve better lipidemia and CVD risk control in T2D.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Hormonal ; Digestive, absorptive and microbiological
Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Nutrients ; Microorganisms
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition
Functional Laboratory Testing : Blood ; Stool
Bioactive Substances : Probiotics

Methodological quality

Jadad score : 4
Allocation concealment : Yes