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Can You Take Berberine on an Empty Stomach?

Article Summary: 

  • It is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning to take a berberine supplement—whether on an empty stomach or shortly before or after a meal. 

  • Although berberine is considered clinically safe to be ingested, its poor bioavailability in the intestine is a major hindrance to its therapeutic benefits. 

  • Tesseract’s BerberActiv®, a unique berberine supplement formulation, overcomes the common palatability, bioavailability, and absorption challenges associated with other berberine supplements.  

You might have read or heard about berberine and its therapeutic effects that support various health functions.* This plant alkaloid is known to support healthy glucose and lipid metabolism, in addition to promoting gastrointestinal health, liver function, cardiovascular function, healthy weight management, and immune function.* As an antioxidant, berberine protects cells from oxidative stress, and berberine’s immuno-modulating effects help maintain the body’s normal inflammatory response.* 

Berberine has been traditionally used across different cultures due to its perceived health benefits. Still, when you are considering including berberine in your daily supplement regimen, you likely will have several questions about its benefits and functions. Below, we answer some of the frequently asked questions about berberine, such as whether you can take berberine on an empty stomach, the right amount of berberine to consume, potential adverse effects of berberine, and the factors to consider when choosing a berberine supplement. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Berberine

Berberine is extracted from the roots, rhizomes, leaves, twigs, stems, and bark of plants, such as tree turmeric, Oregon grape, barberry, and others. As a supplement ingredient, berberine is commonly available in the salt form of chloride and sulfate. While oral berberine supplements are the most common, it can be delivered intravenously or topically. The following are some FAQs regarding the intake and efficacy of berberine supplements.  

A closeup image of berberine capsules

Can you take berberine on an empty stomach? 

Berberine can be taken right before eating a meal or shortly after, to help moderate blood glucose and lipid levels that spike after you eat.* Berberine can also be taken on an empty stomach if it does not cause any adverse effects, such as constipation, diarrhea, or bloating. Consult with your health-care provider to determine the best time of day you should take a berberine supplement.  

Is berberine absorbed better when consumed with foods? 

Berberine is only minimally absorbed in the intestine, and it displays1 an absolute bioavailability of less than 1 percent. Taking a berberine supplement with herbs or spices, such as milk thistle or cinnamon, might enhance its absorption in the body. 

How much berberine should you consume in a day? 

A majority of commercially available berberine supplements contain 400-500 mg of berberine per capsule. Clinical studies have shown4 that overall ingestion of 1,000 mg - 1,500 mg of berberine daily resulted in a significant benefit to glucose metabolism over a period of 8-12 weeks.*   

Are there side effects of berberine?

Berberine is considered clinically safe and well-tolerated by the human body. However, a few adverse reactions have been reported at higher amounts, primarily gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea and constipation. 

Can you take a berberine supplement with a prescription medication?

Berberine’s effects on certain enzymes in the blood can influence its interactions with certain prescription medications. Although the safety profile of berberine is well established, it is recommended to consult with your healthcare practitioner before taking a berberine supplement with a prescription medication.  

What should I look for when selecting a berberine supplement?

Common challenges associated with a majority of berberine supplements include the unpleasant taste of the active ingredient and its natural low bioavailability and solubility, resulting in poor absorption of berberine in the body and compromising its efficacy. When looking for a berberine supplement to support your diet, you should consider an advanced supplement formulation that can overcome these challenges.      

A Berberine Supplement to Support Your Overall Health

Tesseract Medical Research has developed a revolutionary berberine supplement formulation, BerberActiv®, to optimize its absorption in the body. The proprietary CyLoc® - DexKey® nutrient delivery technology addresses the common challenges associated with berberine supplements to achieve patient compliance and enhanced efficacy. The CyLoc® technology encases each berberine molecule in its dextrin fiber matrix, masking the bitter taste and creating nano-sized particles that are more easily absorbed. The DexKey® technology releases the active ingredient at the desired point in the intestinal tract to enable maximum absorption and effectiveness.  

Tesseract’s bioactive berberine complex is available in both quick-release and sustained-release formulations and supports the optimal functioning of the immune, cardiovascular, hepatic, and endocrine systems.*  

Visit Tesseract Medical Research to learn if you can take berberine on an empty stomach and how to incorporate a berberine supplement into your diet to support your endocrine and immune functions.*

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1Habtemariam S. The quest to enhance the efficacy of berberine . . . : Physicochemical modification approaches. Biomedicines vol. 8,4 90. 18 Apr. 2020, doi:10.3390/biomedicines8040090

2Chen W, et al. Bioavailability study of berberine and the enhancing effects of TPGS on intestinal absorption in rats. AAPS PharmSciTech vol. 12,2 (2011): 705-711. doi:10.1208/s12249-011-9632-z

3Funk RS, et al. Variability in potency among commercial preparations of berberine.” Journal of dietary supplements vol. 15,3 (2018): 343-351. doi:10.1080/19390211.2017.1347227

Al Czap, Founder | Tesseract

Al Czap has more than four decades of professional experience in preventative medicine. He founded Thorne Research in 1984 (sold in 2010) and he published Alternative Medicine Review for 17 years beginning in 1996. AMR was a highly acclaimed, peer-reviewed, and indexed medical journal. Al was the first to recognize the need for hypoallergenic ingredients and to devise methods of manufacture for and delivery of hypoallergenic products to underserved patient populations. His work has greatly impacted those with impaired immune and digestive systems and compromised health due to environmental exposures.

The advanced formulations based on our revolutionary, patented, and patent-pending technology are only available through Tesseract. No other medical, pharmaceutical, or supplement company is licensed to utilize our proprietary technology.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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