What is berberine?
Berberine is a bioactive compound that is found naturally in plants. It belongs to a class of compounds called alkaloids and is often used as a dye for its yellow color. It has been used in Chinese medicine to treat various ailments.
What is its significance in the body?
Berberine has been tested in hundreds of studies, so we have a good understanding of what it can do in our bodies. Research suggests it may help promote weight loss, enhance blood sugar level regulation, and protect against chronic conditions. It has also been shown to improve heart health and may be linked to aiding in the treatment of depression and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This is great news for those looking to tackle multiple ailments while keeping their supplement shelf relatively compact. While we know there is no “magic pill” to solve all conditions, we do believe Berberine can be a great addition to your supplement routine.
One of Berberine’s many actions is to activate an enzyme inside cells called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK plays a key role in regulating metabolism and energy levels and is found in cells throughout the body. Studies show it can be a significant factor in lowering blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes—more on that later! It also appears to inhibit the growth of fat cells on a molecular level—which is what is believed to help promote weight loss.
How does it work?
Let’s look at exactly how Berberine does all these amazing things. When it comes to lowering blood sugar levels there are five key things berberine does that may help. Berberine
- Decreases insulin resistance which makes the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin more effective.
- Increases glycolysis which helps the body break down sugars inside cells.
- Decreases sugar production in the liver.
- Slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut.
- Increases the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Studies that prove its significance
Berberine being the new Ozempic has been quite the social media trend. However, we like to back up any statements with scientific facts and we find studies do a great job of that. (This is also why we run all our supplements through clinical trials!) Let’s dive into the metrics of what Berberine has done.
In a 2008 study of 116 people with diabetes, taking 1g of Berberine per day lowered fasting sugar by 20%. It also lowered hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) by 12%. HbA1c is a marker of long-term blood sugar regulation. In addition, the study found that berberine improved levels of blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides. According to an older review of 14 studies, Berberine may be as effective as certain oral diabetes drugs including metformin, glipizide, and rosiglitazone.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and are interested in taking Berberine to help manage blood sugar levels, chat with your doctor to determine if it’s right for you and the proper dosage. It’s important when referencing studies to look closely at the dosage used as that could have a significant impact on the results gleaned.
In a 12-week study of people with obesity, the intake of 500mg of Berberine three times per day caused about five pounds of weight loss on average. The body fat lost by participants was 3.6%. A review of 12 studies found that supplementing with Berberine led to significant reductions in body weight, body mass index, and belly fat. It also decreased levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation.
Studies have also shown Berberine can help reduce the risk of heart disease. There are 16 studies that showed it can help:
- Decrease total cholesterol
- Decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol
- According to research, berberine works by inhibiting an enzyme called PXSK9, which leads to LDL cholesterol being removed from the bloodstream
- Decrease blood triglycerides
- Increase HDL (good) cholesterol
Other studies have shown it can also lower apolipoprotein by 13-15%, which is an important factor for heart disease.
What is Ozempic?
So why is Berberine being called the “natural Ozempic?” And what is Ozempic? Generically called semaglutide, it is a once-weekly injection used to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. The class of medications it belongs to is called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists (incretin mimetics).
It works by binding to GLP-1 receptors which stimulates insulin release from the pancreas when the body needs it. It also helps reduce the amount of sugar released by your liver and slows down food leaving the stomach. This combination helps lower A1C and blood sugar levels and may also reduce appetite.
Before starting a new supplement, it’s always a good idea to chat with your medical professional. Especially if you regularly take medication, you need to ensure the supplement you’re considering will not have any adverse effects when taken with your current medication.
The Daily may help regulate blood sugar levels which could lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. It also helps decrease cravings, stabilize your mood, smooth skin, and keep hormones happy and healthy. We believe it’s suitable for everyone from menstruating bodies to postmenopausal bodies. If you’re considering more than one of our supplements, check out our bundles!
While more research may be needed to make claims that Berberine can be a viable treatment for diabetes and heart disease, it’s clear the studies that have been conducted show it has helped reduce blood sugar levels, increase good cholesterol, and decrease bad cholesterol. We may not be able to say that Berberine is the new Ozempic, but it seems with more research, it could be on its way.
About Writer Rachel Strysik
Copywriter by day, performer by night, I've always had a way with words.
It took me a few years to realize writing was my calling and performing was simply a hobby.
But once I did, I never looked back.
I'm insanely passionate about menstrual health and dismantling the topic as taboo.
So let's talk about it. Period.