Berberine Supplement Benefits & Side Effects

Table of Contents

What is berberine?

Berberine is an alkaloid extracted from an assortment of herbs. It’s supplemented because of its anti-diabetic consequences, which rival some pharmaceuticals’ potency, although still need more research to get a proper comparison. A chemical called berberine is among the very best natural supplements available. Berberine occurs naturally in various plants is an isoquinoline plant alkaloid derived from the amino acid tyrosine. Other potential mechanisms of action include protecting and β-cells, regulating hepatic gluconeogenesis, and reducing inflammatory cytokine signaling.

The therapeutic use of berberine by people dates back centuries. The earliest recorded mention of berberine as a medicinal herbal medicine was in the ancient Chinese book “The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica”. Berberine has a bitter flavor and is found in several systems of traditional botanical medicine. Asian traditional medicine techniques have used berberine for the properties of clearing damp-heat and counteracting poison. It has very remarkable health benefits and impacts your body at the cellular level.

How Does Berberine Work?

How Does Berberine Function?

Berberine works in a variety of ways in various cells and organ systems. But a primary mechanism of action is via the AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) pathway. Berberine has been researched in hundreds of studies. It’s been demonstrated to have substantial effects on several different biological systems. Once you ingest berberine, it has taken in by the body and transported into the blood. Then it travels to the body’s cells.

It binds to several different “molecular targets” within the cells and affects their role similar to pharmaceutical drugs work.  One of the principal activities of berberine is to trigger an enzyme inside cells called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This enzyme is sometimes known as a metabolic master switch. It’s located in the tissues of different organs, including the brain, liver, muscle, liver, and heart. This receptor plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism.

Berberine also affects various other molecules within cells and might even influence which genes are turned on or off.

Berberine affects the body at the cellular level and contains an assortment of functions within cells. One of the principal functions is triggering a vital enzyme named AMPK, which regulates metabolism.

Researchers have predicted AMPK a “metabolic master switch”. AMPK can be found in cells of various organs throughout your body, including your heart, brain, kidneys, liver, fat cells, and muscle tissue. By activating AMPK, berberine enhances your body’s ability to metabolize sugar (glucose ) for energy. That is why it is useful for metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.

The AMPK pathway reduces cell proliferation and cell growth, helping to clarify berberine’s weight loss, anti-inflammatory, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Berberine affects DNA transcription, receptor expression, and different molecules’ interaction with cells in our bodies, including antioxidants.

Researchers believe that berberine is well-absorbed but quickly metabolized by your body.

When you choose berberine, it is rapidly consumed and then transformed on your liver quickly. The majority of berberine effects on your body likely come from metabolites (byproducts) of berberine generated once you take it.

Berberine benefits

What are the advantages of berberine?

Here are a few of the berberine benefits which may be suitable for your wellbeing. 

Cellular Health:

Berberine seems to offer protection for the gastrointestinal tract’s mobile health in certain areas with an oral dose of berberine as low as 900mg each day.  Berberine-containing plants have been used in Ayurvedic, Chinese, and herbal medicine for promoting healthy microflora in the gastrointestinal tract.  A human clinical trial evaluated four doses of berberine, ranging from 5mg/kg daily for five days to 10mg/kg each day for ten days, reported the maximum dose of berberine was the best at encouraging gastrointestinal microbial balance.  Preliminary studies indicate that berberine may have advantages against depression, cancer, infections, fatty liver, and heart failure. Additionally, it has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory consequences.

Lowers Blood Sugar

Clinical studies reveal that berberine can lower blood glucose and decrease insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Berberine can decrease glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1c or hbA1c), reduce fasting blood sugar levels, lower postprandial glucose (blood glucose levels following a meal), and improve lipid metabolism.

The effects of berberine on diabetes type 2  patients are similar to those of metformin, a popular prescription diabetes medication. A meta-analysis of 14 research studies found that berberine is just as effective for enhancing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood glucose as prescription medications such as metformin.

Boost Insulin Resistance

How Berberine Lowers Insulin Resistance:

Berberine allows insulin to work better.

Boosts sugar metabolism, which helps your body use sugar correctly 

Increases insulin sensitivity

Decreases gluconeogenesis

Reduces absorption of glucose during digestion

Boosts beneficial gut bacteria

In a three-month-long analysis of 116 people with diabetes, a gram each day of berberine reduced their fasting glucose by 20 percent to healthy normal amounts, reduced their hbA1c by 12 percent, and improved their cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Berberine pairs nicely with healthy lifestyle changes and work together with other medications to lower blood glucose. 

Animal and human research indicate that 1500mg of berberine, taken in three doses of 500mg per day, is equally effective as taking 1500mg of metformin or 4mg glibenclamide, two pharmaceuticals for treating type II diabetes. Effectiveness was measured by how well the medication decreased biomarkers of type II diabetes. Some evidence suggests it can decrease LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides in type II diabetics, and potentially result in a small increase in HDL-cholesterol.

Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Excessive inflammation and oxidative stress are associated with many conditions, such as :


Metabolic syndrome


Increased risk of cancer

Heart disease


And much more

A delicate balance exists between reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants in your body. An unhealthy diet or specific health problems, like insulin resistance, can increase ROS formation, tipping the balance towards an inflammatory condition.

But anti-inflammatory foods and plant chemicals can help decrease inflammation in your body, protecting the cells of your heart, brain, and central nervous system. Berberine exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in human and animal studies. Additionally, it is proven to decrease inflammation in humans, in part through the AMPK pathway, and enhance the metabolism of glucose (sugar).

–  Potential Anti-Cancer Effects

While no human cancer trials exist with berberine, one group of scientists exploring berberine has called it” an epiphany against cancer”. Inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance are linked to an increased risk of cancer, so it is not surprising that berberine can help stop the development of cancerous cells.

Together with decreasing cancer risk factors, berberine has specific activity against cancer cells. It is cytotoxic to cancer cells, targeting cancer cells for destruction without damaging healthy cells. Berberine inhibits cell proliferation (growth), making it more challenging for cancer cells to grow and spread. Additionally, it functions to fight cancer by enhancing mitochondrial function. It may also assist with cancer cachexia, the wasting syndrome associated with cancer.

May Lower Cholesterol

Berberine appears to be effective for treating high levels of “bad” cholesterol). Two separate extensive reviews analyzing results from over 90 research on human subjects found strong evidence for berberine’s ability to reduce total cholesterol and other blood lipids, especially LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides. One way berberine enhances cholesterol is by increasing the LDL receptors’ number to control LDL cholesterol levels more efficiently. Additionally, it decreases the synthesis of lipids (cholesterol and cholesterol molecules) from the liver.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Research shows that berberine is safe and effective for reducing blood pressure. Berberine’s effects on blood pressure and blood flow are probably due to increased bioavailability of nitric oxide and ACE inhibition. Since type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure often occur together, some scientists have suggested that berberine may be a perfect first-line therapy to aid with these issues. This approach is particularly true in patients who have trouble affording expensive prescription medications.

– Boost Heart Health

Inflammation and insulin resistance increase the chance of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. Berberine may protect your heart by reducing inflammation, in addition to cardiac tissues.

Research using both in vitro methods and individual subjects reasoned that berberine improved heart health and decreased harm to the heart by preventing cell death through the AMPK pathway. Additionally, it reduced the participants’ blood levels of C-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation. In vitro evidence indicates that berberine can also prevent heart arrhythmias from happening.

Help Dementia

At this time, it will not surprise you to understand that dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s have an inflammation component for their formation and development.

Insulin resistance and chronic inflammation improve your likelihood of dementia and other neurological problems. Additionally, it helps protect cells in your brain and nervous system from harm.

A study of rats given poisonous heavy metals to create a disease like Alzheimer’s revealed that berberine improved their cognitive behaviors and shielded against memory impairment through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

A study in rats using an Alzheimer’s-like condition found that it protected against memory impairment, decreased oxidative stress, and increased the rats’ brain antioxidant levels. In diabetic rats with vascular dementia, berberine decreased inflammation and reversed impairments in learning and memory.

– Relieve Depression Symptoms

Preliminary evidence indicates that berberine might be a beneficial supplement for those who have depression. There’s a connection between inflammation and depression: individuals with depression are more likely to have elevated levels of inflammation in their own body, and inflammation and oxidative stress may increase the symptoms of depression.

By inhibiting inflammation and oxidative stress, berberine may decrease the likelihood or severity of depression. Another way berberine can assist in depression is by increasing the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline production. This action is similar to how many prescription antidepressants work. Berberine can also lower the weight reduction side-effects of antipsychotic medications in rats, and possibly in humans.

– Improves Gut Health

In conventional medicine, berberine was used to relieve diarrhea. Recent studies of berberine affirm that it has beneficial effects on gastrointestinal function and health and is therapeutically promising for nausea, gastroenteritis, and inflammatory digestive problems. Similar to other berberine advantages, its gut health improvements happen partially by reducing inflammation. In rats, berberine restores gut health by decreasing inflammation and by modulating sugar metabolism.

–  Weight Loss

Berberine can be effective as a nutritional supplement for weight reduction. Berberine can help weight loss by regulating insulin. Additionally, it may inhibit the development of fat cells and stimulate the conversion of white adipose tissue into brown adipose tissue, which enhances metabolism and fat-burning.

Berberine Dosage and Side Effects

Berberine should be taken with a meal, or soon after, to benefit from the blood sugar and lipid spike related to eating.

An excessive amount of berberine at once could lead to stomach upset, cramping, and diarrhea. Many studies cited in the post used doses in the range of 900 to 1500 milligrams each day. It’s normal to take 500 mg, three times every day, before meals (a total of 1500 mg every day). In case you’ve got a medical condition or are on any medications, you should speak to a physician before taking it.

In general, berberine has an outstanding safety profile. The side effects are associated with digestion, and there are several reports of nausea, nausea, flatulence, constipation, and stomach pain. Berberine is among a few supplements that are as powerful as a drug. It has strong effects on several facets of health, particularly blood glucose control. 

Berberine has a high capacity to interact with medications, and some interactions may be acute. It’s usually safe in normal doses, but more long-term research on its security is necessary. In high doses, gastrointestinal upset can occur, and because of its ability to decrease blood glucose, it may boost the risk for hypoglycemia in large doses.

Is berberine safe to take?

Unlike the many well-researched pharmaceuticals, its long-term safety and frequent adverse effects have not been sufficiently evaluated. Berberine is generally safe, especially considering it performs as well as some prescription medications. Its toxicity is so low that there are no participants in research reported any side effects. A physician’s guidance is recommended. Berberine has been the topic of much research and appears to be powerful, like many pharmaceuticals.

Since berberine lowers blood sugar, it has the potential to cause hypoglycemia (low blood glucose ). This result is unlikely for most people, but if you have diabetes or take insulin or other medications for blood glucose control, talk to your physician before taking berberine, as it might improve the hypoglycemic effects of prescription impotence medications. If you are taking these or other medications, ask your doctor if you can take berberine safely. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, do not take berberine. There is no evidence that it is safe for babies, so it’s better to stay away.


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