Berberine has been extensively studied in clinical trials for positively influencing normal blood sugar, lipids, and hypertension. Recently, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology published a detailed review of the 27 clinical studies with berberine in these disorders that provided clear answer questions on its safety and efficacy.1
Berberine has also been examined as a weight loss aid in two double-blind clinical trials. In one study, 37 men and women with metabolic syndrome were given 300 mg of berberine three times per day for three months. The body mass index (BMI) levels dropped from 31.5 to 27.4.2 In another study, 500 mg of berberine three times per day caused an average of 5 pounds of weight loss over a 12-week period.3
Recommended adult dose/ Interactions
One 500 mg capsule before meals with a glass of water two to three times daily.
Berberine and berberine-containing plants are not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Berberine may interfere with the absorption of tetracycline and related antibiotics. Berberine produces significant inhibition of CYP3A enzymes in humans. Because most drugs are metabolized by these enzymes, berberine may decrease the clearance of many medications thereby potentiating their effect.
Berberine-containing plants may enhance the effects of oral hypoglycemic drugs through its multitude of anti-diabetic effects. People on oral hypoglycemic drugs should monitor blood glucose levels if taking berberine. Adjustment of drug dosage may be required.
1. Lan J, Zhao Y, Dong F, et al. Meta-analysis of the effect and safety of berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipemia and hypertension. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Feb 23;161:69-81.
2. Yang, J., Yin, J., Gao, H., Xu, L., Wang, Y., and Li, M. Berberine improves insulin sensitivity by inhibiting fat store and adjusting adipokines profile in human preadipocytes and metabolic syndrome patients. Evid. Based Complement. Altern. Med. 2012; 2012: 363845.
3. Perez-Rubio, K.G., Gonzalez-Ortiz, M., Martinez-Abundis, E., Robles-Cervantes, J.A., and Espinel-Bermudez, M.C. Effect of berberine administration on metabolic syndrome, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion. Metab. Syndr. Relat. Disord. 2013; 11: 366–369.