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What Is the Best Berberine Supplement?
If you’re someone interested in herbal medicine and alternative health, you might want to explore berberine. Below, we delve into berberine benefits and berberine side effects and also answer the question, “what is the best berberine supplement.” We used unbiased third-party information such as individual reviews as well as scientific research to break it down and answer “what is the best berberine supplement.”
What Is Berberine?
Berberine is often described as one of the most effective supplements on the market. Berberine has the ability to affect the body at the molecular level, which is similar to pharmaceutical drugs. It’s one of the few herbal drugs that’s been shown effective at doing so.
Berberine is a chemical that’s found in many plants, including goldenseal and tree turmeric.
According to information on berberine benefits, this compound has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Some of the reasons people turn to berberine for their health include helping reduce insulin resistance and improve type II diabetes biomarkers.
What Is the Best Berberine Supplement on Amazon?
The following are three of our selections for the best berberine supplements on Amazon, along with specific reasons we included these on this in-depth berberine review. Once you take a look at the berberine reviews, keep reading to find out more about the supplement itself, its purported benefits, and the research on things like berberine benefits.
This berberine supplement is one our editor has used and thought it had some great benefits. You get a three-month supply of high-potency berberine. This anti-inflammatory supplement may help support healthy blood sugar levels along with healthy cholesterol levels.
If you read berberine reviews from customers on this product, you’ll find that along with a general 4.5-star rating on Amazon, this product excels in a number of specific ways.
For example, customers say that using this berberine supplement helped them get their glucose, lipids and cholesterol levels within the normal range when previously all these levels had been high.
Some people who use this berberine supplement feel it’s helped them reverse their diabetes symptoms, and they also cite the fact that the only added ingredients in this berberine product are gelatin and rice powder.
There is a total of 416 customer ratings currently on Amazon for this berberine product, and the vast majority (78%) are five-star. Only a few are anything less, which speaks to the quality of this berberine supplement.
- Powerful dose of berberine with 600 mg per capsule
- Helps you achieve optimal levels of this plant alkaloid with fewer capsules a day as compared to other brands
- Reviews say people saw benefits in conditions including insulin resistance and it helped reduce sugar cravings
- Contains no fillers, gluten, preservatives, dairy or shellfish
Sunergetic offers a great berberine supplement. The berberine benefits of this supplement, according to reviews from customers include helping lower blood sugar and keep it in the normal range, and people also say it’s helped lift their symptoms of depression. Some customers say that they went off this berberine to try other products, and ended up getting back on it because they realized its effects were so powerful.
Other reviews of this pick for one of the best berberine supplements are the fact that it helps keep cravings under control, and it helps users manage symptoms of PCOS.
Each capsule of this product contains 600 mg of berberine, and the pills are vegetarian with no fillers, and they’re easy to swallow. You take two capsules to get the full 1200 mg dose advertised.
- May help support immune function and weight loss as well as improving cardiovascular health
- Made with only one ingredient which is pure berberine
- No artificial ingredients, fillers, preservatives, binders or chemicals
- 100% money-back guarantee
This Berberine Plus product from Doctor’s Recommended Supplements is high-quality, and each serving contains 1200 mg of pure berberine. According to the makers of this berberine supplement and the berberine reviews, it may help lower blood sugar and improve gastrointestinal health and functionality. It may also support immune function and heart health.
Doctor’s Recommended Supplements has a team of doctors that select and research the ingredients for all of their products, and they use ultra-pure berberine HCL powder for the best product. These supplements are completely made in the U.S. as well.
According to user berberine reviews of this product, it has helped some people move out of the range of being prediabetic and to once again have normal blood sugar levels, and some reviews say that this berberine has been more effective than prescription drugs in lowering blood sugar.
Other people credit this product for helping boost their energy levels and liver function, improving digestion and lowering cholesterol. Reviews also say this product is easy on the stomach and doesn’t cause any major side effects.
How Does Berberine Work?
Berberine is believed to have beneficial effects related to adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation. Berberine is a fairly obscure nutritional supplement, but it may be one of the most powerful available, and one supplement that’s most similar to pharmaceuticals. AMPK is known as the metabolic master switch, and it’s located in nearly every organ of your body, and it’s important for regulating your metabolism.
Berberine is bright yellow in color, and according to one article published in Alternative Medicine Review in 1997, the following are some of the ways berberine was known to be useful at that time, which was 1997:
- Antimicrobial effects against viruses, bacteria, and fungi
- Inhibition of intestinal ion secretion
- Reduction of inflammation
- Stimulation of bile secretion and bilirubin discharge
Essentially when you take berberine it is transported into your bloodstream, and then it travels to your body’s cells.
It then binds to molecular targets and changes how they function, which is how pharmaceuticals work.
Berberine and Cancer
Berberine is believed to have some anticancer effects. Many studies have looked at the anti-tumor effects of berberine. Researchers recently analyzed a total of 26 studies on the topic, conducted from 2000 to 2018. They focused on cancer types such as breast, liver, colorectal, gastric, and esophageal cancer, among others.
Overall, the found that berberine reduced tumor volume and tumor weight. In that meta-analysis, berberine seemed to show the most significant effects of breast and lung cancer tumors, but the evidence was insufficient in colorectal and gastric cancer.
Separate research from the government found that berberine induces what’s called double-strand DNA breaks, giving it effects similar to ionizing radiation. Berberine has intracellular targets like proteins that are involved in the regulation of cell growth.
Berberine has been shown to have minimal effects on normal cells, but anti-proliferative effects on cancer cells. There have even been some research studies that have found berberine could have effects on pancreatic cancer cells.
Berberine can bind to something called the vasodilator-stimulated protein VASP, which is overexpressed in breast cancer cells, which may account for its effects on tumor growth in breast cancer. According to currently available research, combining berberine and curcumin has been shown effective in suppressing the growth of certain breast cancer cell lines.
Research in the Gastro Journal reported berberine inhibits the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. This is important for many people because pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma has an overall five-year survival rate of only 3 to 5%.
Crohn’s and Colitis
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis occurs because of dysregulation of intestinal mucosal immune responses to microflora in people who are considered genetically susceptible. Treating IBD remains a challenge, and berberine has been looked at as a possible treatment because it’s known in alternative medicine to help treat bacterial diarrhea and intestinal parasite infections.
Berberine is also believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
There was a study in which berberine was given to mice who had intestinal injury and colitis. Berberine helped with weight loss, shortening of the colon, injury and inflammation scores.
Berberine helped decrease the disruption of gut barrier function, and it was found to inhibit proinflammatory cytokine production.
It’s possible, based on what is currently happening with research, that berberine could be a new way to approach the treatment of gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders.
Berberine may also help gut health because of its effects on the microbiome.
Berberine has been shown to target harmful organisms but leave so-called good bacteria in the gut, such as Lactobacilli.
Many of berberine’s possible positive effects may be linked to its ability to modulate the gut flora.
For example, berberine supplements can help increase the quantity of something called Akkermansia muciniphilia in the gut. This bacteria is responsible for maintaining mucin thickness, and mucin is what lines the gut and protects the intestines from being damaged.
If you have a thin or nonexistent mucin layer, it may be associated with increased intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut and inflammation.
The more of this bacteria is present in the gut, the less likely you are to develop metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity as well as chronic inflammation.
When levels of this bacteria are low, it appears to create a breeding ground for these health issues.
Berberine may reverse the loss of gut barrier and protect our bodies from harmful bacteria and toxins.
Type 2 Diabetes
Hemoglobin is a protein found in our red blood cells. It’s responsible for transporting oxygen, and A1C is a measure that shows how much of your hemoglobin is covered in sugar. Hemoglobin covered in sugar is known as glycated hemoglobin. If you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, you can reverse it as soon as you see that your A1C levels are in the prediabetes range with the help of berberine.
A study on rats found berberine may help protect against diabetes by increasing insulin expression and also regenerating B cells. Berberine also has antioxidant properties and it may decrease lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation is a marker of oxidative stress, which is in turn linked to cell damage and chronic disease.
Taking 500 mg of berberine two or three times a day could control blood sugar as well as metformin.
It’s estimated that women spend around one-third of their life in postmenopausal state. Due to the possible risks of hormone replacement therapy, more women are turning to alternative medicine to help with menopausal symptoms and related conditions with fewer side effects, and berberine is one such option.
Other Possible Berberine Benefits
Some of the other ways berberine might be beneficial that are currently under investigation include:
- Early evidence suggests berberine could help lower cholesterol levels
- Some research shows that berberine could reduce symptoms and death rate in people with congestive heart failure
- Berberine seems to decrease diarrhea in people with bacterial infections and help speed up recovery time in people experiencing diarrhea
- Taking berberine three time a day for six weeks could be more effective at eliminating H. pylori infection although it might be less effective in healing ulcers in people who have them due to H. pylori
- Taking berberine could reduce fat in the blood, which is a marker of liver damage
- Using berberine supplements could help reduce weight in obese people. One study found that in obese participants, when taking 500 mg three times a day, there was an average weight loss of five pounds and 6% average loss of body fat. Another study of participants taking 300 mg three times a day found the BMI average dropped from 31.5 to 27.5. It’s believed that berberine can induce weight loss because it helps boost the function of the body’s fat-regulating hormones. Berberine may also inhibit the growth of fat cells.
- Some research shows that for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), berberine could reduce testosterone, cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides, and waist-to-hip ratio
- Studies in rats have found berberine can help fight depression.
- Berberine may help reduce the build-up of fat in the liver, which can help reduce the risk of developing non-alcohol fatty liver disease.
Are There Any Berberine Side Effects to Be Aware Of?
Along with the impressive benefits, one of the biggest berberine benefits is the fact that it appears to be safe for most adults when used in the short-term and taken orally. The only possible side effects that are currently known include stomach upset, constipation, gas, and headache.
However, if you are pregnant, you should not take berberine, as it’s classified as “likely unsafe.” Researchers believe that if berberine is used during pregnancy it may cause harm to the fetus including brain damage. It can also pass through breast milk, and you shouldn’t give berberine to children.