Berberine: Weight, Cholesterol and Glucose

The latest trend for weight loss has quickly become the prescription of diabetes medications for people who do not have diabetes. These belong to a class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists (imitators) which work to slow digestion and increase feelings of fullness, resulting in less food being eaten over time, and significant weight loss may follow. However, one study revealed that 40% of the weight loss was in the form of lean body mass (muscle) rather than fat. Users also experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and in rare cases stomach paralysis.
Berberine is an herb that safely activates GLP-1 producing the same results without the side effects and muscle wasting. Berberine also inhibits PCSK-9– a protein that breaks down LDL receptors that remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream. Some researchers believe that PCSK-9 inhibitors may be as effective if not more so than a statin.

Berberine Study Results
  • Lower blood sugar: both fasting blood glucose and HbA1C were significantly lower. A1C was reduced from 7.5 to 6.6 after 3 months. When compared to metformin, berberine performed as well.
  • Lower cholesterol: lower LDL and triglycerides (35.9%). Researchers also report lower oxidized LDL– the artery clogging form of LDL.
  • Weight loss: Berberine supplementation was found to increase brown fat and to upregulate the AMPK pathway which boosts fat burning. Leptin, the hunger hormone was significantly reduced.
  • GI Support berberine reduced gut permeability, supported GI tract tight junctions, and exhibited anti-microbial properties which helps to protect against pathogenic bacteria.

The typical dose of berberine is 500 mg twice per day. New forms have been discovered which increase the absorption rate thereby enhancing the benefits. Lipo-Micel berberine triples the absorption rate. Dihydroberberine stays in the blood stream twice as long as berberine which increases the absorption 5 times. A new berberine phytosome enhances absorption 8 1/2 to 10 times.


Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2008    Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, 2020   Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012