Carrying excess weight raises your risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes while also increasing the chances that you’ll develop a mental illness like anxiety and depression. (1) Not to mention, you just don’t feel as good as you could when the number on the scale is higher than you’d like.
Here’s the good news: reducing your body weight by just 5% can provide several health benefits. (2) But how do you achieve this goal?
Certainly, eating nutritious food and regular physical activity are both part of an effective weight loss plan. However, research suggests that berberine—a compound found in plants such as goldenseal, barberry, and tree turmeric—may also play an important role in obesity treatment and prevention.
Berberine for Weight Loss: What Research Says
In July 2020, the journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy published a review of 35 different research studies that each involved berberine. (3) The goal of this review was to learn what effect, if any, berberine had on obesity. It found positive results.
Some of the studies discussed in the review connected berberine with a reduction in body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated using weight and height and used by healthcare professionals to determine an individual’s risk of major disease.
Other studies in the review reported that taking berberine resulted in greater weight loss for individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It even appeared to reduce weight gain for people engaging in hormone therapy as a result of breast cancer.
Different meta-analyses have found similar results, such as one that analyzed 10 randomized clinical trials and ultimately linked berberine supplements with lower BMI and a smaller waist circumference. (4)
How Berberine Assists with Weight Loss
Berberine appears to promote weight loss in several different ways. Primarily, it is thought to positively impact many factors related to obesity, some of which include: (3)
- lipid profiles (cholesterol levels)
- gut microbiome and intestinal tract health
- blood glucose levels and insulin resistance
- expression of genes involved in fat storage
Researchers suggest that berberine’s effects in these areas can make it easier for the body to lose excess weight, in addition to preventing weight gain in the first place.
Other Health Benefits of Berberine
Berberine hasn’t just been connected to weight loss. Beyond its anti-obesity effects, this bioactive plant compound also has antibacterial and antidiabetic properties, can help protect nerve cell health and function, and may even support a healthier aging process. (5)
According to a comprehensive review published in early 2023, berberine plays an effective role as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer agent while helping to protect the liver and cardiovascular systems. (6) The National Library of Medicine adds that, based on scientific evidence, berberine might be effective for treating: (7)
- canker sores
- digestive tract infections
- high blood pressure
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
In short, berberine has been associated with several health effects body-wide. Weight loss is only one, but it’s an important one when it comes to overall health and wellness.
Tips for Taking a Berberine Supplement
One way to increase your berberine intake is with a dietary supplement. Berberine supplements enable you to receive enough of this substance to obtain its positive health effects. They’re also a simple dietary solution as all you have to do is take a tablet, capsule, or pill.
Before taking any natural ingredient, it’s important to understand whether that ingredient is safe for you. The National Library of Medicine indicates that berberine supplements are not likely safe for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. They also shouldn’t be given to infants or newborns. (7)
Berberine may interact with other medications, increasing or decreasing those medicines’ effects. For this reason, individuals taking cyclosporine should not take berberine. (7) Caution should also be taken when mixing it with several other substances, making it important to speak with your healthcare provider if you are taking any type of prescription medicine, herbal remedy, or other dietary supplement before taking berberine.
If it’s been deemed safe for you, Natural Wellness offers a High Potency Berberine supplement . This supplement is gluten free and non-GMO. It is manufactured in the USA in an FDA Registered Facility using Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs).