Berberine is a dietary herbal supplement gaining popularity due to its supposed weight loss effects. However, can berberine really promote weight loss? This article will discuss the effectiveness, safety, and more regarding berberine.
What is Berberine?
Berberine is a chemical compound that is found in several plants, including goldenseal, goldthread, tree turmeric, and more. It has many proposed health benefits for cardiovascular disease, weight status, and more.
Berberine’s Effects on Improving Health
A systematic review was published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology that analyzed the effectiveness and safety of berberine for individuals with obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance. The review found that the supplement decreased total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which can all be detrimental to heart health. Additionally, berberine increased high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which have shown a protective effect on the heart. However, the study did not specify the dosage nor if the supplement was taken as a pill, capsule, tea, or another method.
Additionally, an article published in Frontiers of Medicine found that berberine protects against digestive diseases. This article also mentions that berberine can increase energy expenditure and contribute to weight loss.
Can Berberine Help with Weight Loss?
- Metabolic Effects: Berberine may influence various metabolic processes in the body. It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce food cravings.
- Appetite Control: Some studies have suggested that berberine can influence hormones that regulate appetite, such as leptin and ghrelin. Appetite suppression may contribute to reduced caloric intake and, in turn shedding a few pounds.
- Reduced Fat Accumulation: Berberine may inhibit the growth of fat cells and reduce fat accumulation in the body. This could potentially lead to a decrease in body weight and fat mass.
- Improved Gut Health: The gut microbiome plays a significant role in overall health, including weight regulation. Berberine has been shown to have a positive impact on gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and reducing harmful bacteria. A balanced gut microbiome is associated with better weight management.
Is Berberine Safe?
Berberine is considered “possibly safe” for a majority of adults, according to MedlinePlus. However, many medications can interact with berberine and have potentially harmful side effects. Therefore, if you take any medications, speak with your physician or registered dietitian before taking any dietary supplements, such as berberine.
Also, avoid using berberine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as it may negatively impact the fetus. This includes berberine capsules, berberine tea, or any other form of chemical compound.
It is important to note that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigates any adverse effects or safety concerns of dietary supplements after they have hit the market. However, unlike food products, the FDA does not monitor nutritional supplements for safety or effectiveness before it is available for the public to purchase.
Berberine is a dietary supplement with possible benefits to cholesterol lipid levels, increasing energy expenditure, and potentially contributing to weight loss. However, there are potential berberine side effects and risks, especially for pregnant or nursing mothers. Berberine may also have severe interactions with different medications.
Always, speak with your physician or registered dietitian before taking a dietary supplement, such as berberine.