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Can coptic salt help those living with type 2 diabetes?

Coptic salt is a supplement in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Some people suggest it possesses many health benefits, including antidiabetic properties that could help treat type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Coptic salt is a popular herbal supplement in TCM. Despite its name, it is not a culinary salt people use in cooking. Instead, it is a supplement that derives from plants.

Supporters of the supplement and its compounds suggest it can provide many health benefits. Some evidence suggests it may possess antidiabetic properties, such as helping lower blood sugar levels. As such, some people may recommend it for managing T2DM. However, evidence on this is sparse, and more research is necessary to investigate its potential benefits.

Coptic salt is an herbal supplement. Some people may also refer to it as chinen salt, Chinese coptis, or coptidis rhizoma. The name coptic salt derives from the plant it comes from, known as Chinese goldthread (Coptis chinensis), or Huanglian in Chinese. Guidelines for TCM suggest that people may use it to help treat diabetes.

Coptic salt is not a salt in the culinary sense. Instead, people take it as a supplement and refer to it as a salt because it contains salt compounds such as berberine chloride. This compound is the active component of coptic salt and may possess anti-inflammatory, antilipidemic (stopping the accumulation of fats in the blood), and antidiabetic activity.

Some people may also confuse coptic salt with monosodium glutamate (MSG) or pink Himalayan salt. However, it is different.

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians highlights the potential ability of berberine to help lower blood sugar levels. They refer to a study suggesting it could have a comparable effect to current treatments for T2DM, such as metformin. However, they add that research is sparse.

A 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis suggests coptic salt may be beneficial for managing diabetes. It also adds that it could be more beneficial than current T2DM treatments, such as metformin.

However, while coptic salt shows promise, more research is necessary to confirm if it is an effective option.

Read on to learn more about berberine.

Berberine chloride, the main active ingredient of coptic salt, may possess antidiabetic properties. Berberine belongs to a group of natural plant compounds known as alkaloids. As coptic salt contains berberine, it may exert similar antidiabetic effects.

Some evidence suggests that berberine possesses a hypoglycemic effect, meaning it helps lower blood sugar levels. Similarly, jinlida may also possess hypoglycemic effects. Jinlida is a TCM herbal formula that contains many herbs, including coptis chinensis. A 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis indicates that the hypoglycemic effects of jinlida granules can help lower A1C levels.

While the exact mechanism remains unclear, researchers suggest that berberine chloride changes fat and glucose, or blood sugar) metabolism. Other evidence suggests that berberine may help the body use insulin more effectively or that it may act similarly to metformin.

Some evidence notes that Chinese coptis may be able to treat infections, manage diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, help lower high blood pressure, and have anticancer properties. In addition to possibly helping lower blood sugar levels, evidence notes that berberine may also support cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol levels.

However, many of the studies suggesting these benefits are of limited quality. As such, more research is still necessary.

A 2020 systematic review highlights that berberine may be an effective option for preventing obesity. As obesity is a common risk factor for T2DM, berberine may also help protect against developing the condition.

Currently, there is a lack of evidence investigating the safety, risks, and suitable dosages of coptic salt. However, some research exists on other forms and components of coptic salt.

TCM guidelines suggest it may be safe to consume 5 to 30 grams of Coptis chinensis. Some trials investigating berberine for diabetes suggest taking 500 milligrams (mg) two or three times daily. Other guidelines for berberine indicate that 200 mg per kilogram of body weight daily may be necessary for reducing blood sugar levels.

As such, it may be advisable to consult a doctor about suitable dosages.

In general, people tolerate berberine well. However, as with any supplement, it may cause side effects. These can include:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • skin irritation

Health experts also do not advise using berberine for pregnant people. It is worth noting that berberine may also cause adverse effects due to interactions with other medications. Therefore, if a person is considering coptic salt, it is important for them to consult their doctor first.

Coptic salt is an herbal supplement that derives from the Coptis chinensis plant. Some people suggest it can provide many health benefits, such as lowering blood sugar levels. This may be due to certain components in coptic salt, such as berberine.

While some research indicates coptic salt may help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes (T2DM), this evidence is scarce. As such, more research is still necessary.

Although coptic salt may show promise, it is advisable to manage T2DM as a doctor recommends. Typically, this will involve the use of medications and lifestyle changes.

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