Berberine is a natural constituent of a variety of plants, such as goldenseal, Oregon grape, European barberry, and tree turmeric. A very bitter-tasting substance, it is usually found in the roots, rhizomes, stems, and bark of these plants.
Berberine is quite well-known to aid in maintaining healthy blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.* Now, however, berberine is being touted as having appetite-suppressing effects that can result in weight loss. In fact, many social media influencers are dubbing berberine as “nature’s Ozempic.” Ozempic, a pharmaceutical drug typically used to treat diabetes, has recently gained traction with celebrities for its supposed weight-loss potential that can provide fast and significant results.
However, although berberine is not an appetite suppressant when it is used appropriately, it can play a supportive role in a weight management program. Below, we examine the appetite suppressant claim, dispel the myth surrounding it, and discuss the true potential benefits of berberine on endocrine health and metabolic health.
Social media influencers on apps like TikTok are claiming that berberine is an appetite suppressant that can result in weight loss. However, none of these claims have been verified. Because berberine is a “nutritional supplement,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates it as a food, not as a pharmaceutical drug. As a result, most existing research on berberine and its effects on the body consists of clinical trials on humans, mice, and rats.
In a pilot study1 on human subjects taking 500 mg of berberine orally three times a day for twelve weeks, a mild weight loss (average 5 lb/ subject) was observed, along with significantly lowered blood lipid levels (23% drop in triglyceride and 9% drop in cholesterol levels). No adverse side effects of berberine on heart, liver, and kidney functions were observed.
In a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, berberine intake has been associated with a significant drop in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference (WC), highlighting the role of berberine
Appetite suppression might also be caused by berberine’s potential side effects, which include:
These adverse side effects often occur due to berberine’s poor natural bioavailability. After being consumed, berberine exhibits poor solubility and undergoes rapid metabolism; therefore, the absorption of berberine molecules in the body can be severely impacted. However, with the correct formulation delivered through CyLoc® - DexKey® nanotechnology, berberine has many beneficial effects on endocrine health and metabolic health, as well as its support for healthy weight management efforts.*
As stated above, berberine has been shown to have many benefits for the body’s endocrine system and metabolism.* Many of these benefits are attributable to berberine’s activation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an enzyme that regulates energy metabolism.* Activating AMPK can increase energy production, reduce energy storage, and normalize lipid, glucose, and energy imbalances.*3
The following is a listing of berberine’s more notable potential health benefits.
|Potential Health Benefits of Berberine
|Promotes insulin secretion and enhances insulin sensitivity*: Berberine induces insulin secretion in the body through a cascade reaction of IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor-1.* This reaction also reduces insulin resistance and enhances the insulin sensitivity of muscle tissues, fat, and the liver.*
|Aids in healthy weight management*: While studies show that berberine does not have the same substantial effect on weight loss as pharmaceutical drugs like Ozempic can have, a meta-analysis of several small clinical studies found that berberine did reduce body mass index (BMI) by approximately 0.25.4
|Modulates gut microbiota*: Berberine enriches short-chain fatty acid (FCSA)-producing bacteria, such as butyrate, in the gut.* Butyrate is synthesized through the acetyl CoA-butyryl CoA-butyrate pathway, where it then enters the bloodstream, where it helps moderate lipid and glucose levels.5
|Supports healthy lipid levels*: Berberine helps maintain healthy lipid levels, such as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C, or “bad” cholesterol) by activating AMPK, an enzyme that contributes to fatty acid oxidation and limits lipid accumulation.*
Therefore, although berberine is not an appetite suppressant in itself when taken in the appropriate amount, it can provide many benefits to an overall weight management effort and thus promote overall health.* However, selecting a berberine supplement formulated for optimal absorption is important to obtain the most benefit.
BerberActiv® is a berberine supplement developed by Tesseract Medical Research for enhanced bioavailability. BerberActiv® supports lipid metabolism, healthy weight management efforts, and gastrointestinal and endocrine health.* This unique formula is powered by Tesseract’s proprietary Cyloc®-DexKey® delivery system. These technologies enhance the bioavailability and absorption of berberine in the body by first encasing each molecule of berberine in its own dextrin fiber delivery cage and then releasing it, maximizing berberine’s effectiveness for optimal weight management support.*
Visit Tesseract Medical Research to learn more about berberine and how you can incorporate BerberActiv® into your daily supplement regimen.
1Hu, Yueshan et al. “Lipid-lowering effect of berberine in human subjects and rats.” Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology vol. 19,10 (2012): 861-7. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2012.05.009
2Cao C, Su M. Effects of berberine on glucose-lipid metabolism, inflammatory factors and insulin resistance in patients with metabolic syndrome. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, vol. 17, no. 4, 2019:3009-3014, https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2019.7295. Accessed 20 Jul. 2023.
3Srivastava RAK, et al. AMP-activated protein kinase: an emerging drug target to regulate imbalances in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism to treat cardio-metabolic diseases. Journal of Lipid Research vol. 53,12 (2012):2490-2514. doi:10.1194/jlr.R025882
4Ye Y, et al. Efficacy and safety of berberine alone for several metabolic disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Frontiers in Pharmacology vol. 12 653887. 26 Apr. 2021, doi:10.3389/fphar.2021.653887
5Wang Y, et al. Berberine-induced bioactive metabolites of the gut microbiota improve energy metabolism. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental vol. 70 (2017): 72-84. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2017.02.003