Expensive drugs are not the only option for people with type 2 diabetes to control blood sugar and protect cardiovascular health. A natural supplement called berberine can provide both of these benefits
as well.

The supplement, derived from ­goldenseal root and other plants, activates an enzyme that makes the body more sensitive to insulin, thus helping to control blood sugar. A 2015 statistical review of 27 clinical trials concluded that berberine can control blood sugar as effectively as the go-to diabetes drug metformin

Bonus: Like the diabetes drugs called GLP-1 agonists and SGLT2 inhibitors, berberine is good for the heart. It reduces high blood pressure, improves the ability of blood vessels to dilate and helps prevent heart failure. Side ­effects—uncommon and usually mild—can include nausea and stomach upset.

What to do: Before you take any supplement, discuss it with your medical doctor or naturopathic physician to rule out any possible interactions with another medication. Example: Berberine can interfere with the effectiveness of certain antibiotics and other drugs. A typical dose is 500 mg two to three times daily before meals, but discuss the right dosing for you with your doctor. If berberine works, your doctor might be able to reduce the dose of one or more of your diabetes drugs.