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7 Benefits and Side Effects of Berberine (5 Contraindications To Be Noted)

Berberine is an alkaloid found in Berberine, Ranunculaceae, and Rutaceae plants. It is considered to be one of the few supplements that are as effective as drugs.

Berberine is a compound in several plants, including goldenseal, barberry, Oregon grape, and tree turmeric.

Research has suggested that berberine can help treat diabetes, obesity, and inflammation, among other conditions. However, side effects can include stomach upset and nausea.

Berberine has been a part of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It works in multiple ways in the body and is able to make changes within the body’s cells.

Studies suggest that berberine has a “harmonious distribution” into several targets in the body, which allows it to fight certain conditions while causing minimal side effects.

Many studies of berberine have indicated that it can treat several metabolic health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and heart problems.

Although berberine appears to be safe and to cause few side effects, a person should speak with a doctor before taking it.

In empirical medicine, what is the effect of using berberine? Are there any side effects of berberine? See the article report for details


What is berberine?

Berberis is an isoquinoline alkaloid extracted from the roots and stems of plants (yellow in appearance and bitter taste). It exists in the roots, stems, bark, and fruits of many medicinal plants, such as Berberis/Berberis. Vulgaris (Berberaceae), Coptis chinensis (Ranunculaceae), Phellodendron amurens (Rutaceae), and Tinospora cordifolia (Meninaceae)

So far, berberine has been used as an over-the-counter drug for the clinical treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, stomatitis and hepatitis.

In addition, berberine has a wide range of pharmacological effects, and is considered to be effective in treating central nervous system diseases, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, depression, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, etc.


What are the empirical effects (benefits) of berberine?

  1. Berberine reduces recurrence of colorectal adenoma

Colorectal adenomas are benign precursor lesions of colorectal cancer that arise from normal epithelium.

Based on the prevalence of focal carcinoma in endoscopically resected adenomas, an estimated 5% of adenomas will eventually develop into colorectal cancer. Currently, adenomas larger than 1 cm, villous, with high-grade atypical hyperplasia are termed “advanced adenomas” and are considered clinically relevant precursors to colorectal cancer.

Early polypectomy can reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer by 76%-90% (Note 1). But the weakness of this method is its invasive nature, as it is an unpleasant procedure requiring dietary restrictions and bowel preparation, which presents a barrier for many people.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (Meta-Analysis, including 3 randomized controlled trials, a total of 1076 adults with a history of colorectal adenoma) pointed out that berberine supplementation can help reduce the recurrence rate of rectal adenoma. Note 2

*Conclusion: Supplementing berberine may be helpful in reducing the recurrence of rectal adenoma, and it may be an option for chemoprevention after polypectomy, but limited by the small number of samples, more studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness and safety.

  1. Berberine assists weight loss

Obesity is due to the imbalance of energy intake and consumption, resulting in fat cell hypertrophy and excessive weight gain

Obesity is caused by a variety of factors, which may be genetic, cultural and social common factors. Other causes include reduced exercise, insomnia, eating habits, endocrine disorders, drug, food advertising and abnormal energy metabolism.

As we all know, obesity is related to cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, which in turn increases the incidence of type 2 diabetes, stroke, gallstones, fatty liver, sleep apnea and cancer.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (Meta-Analysis, including 9 randomized controlled trials) pointed out that berberine supplementation has the effect of reducing body mass index (Body Mass Index) and waist circumference (waist circumference), but body weight (body weight) No significant change. Note 1

In addition, subgroup analysis (subgroup analysis) found that the relevant improvement effects were most significant in subjects with a baseline BMI >30, females, intervention time over 12 weeks, and a daily dose of more than 1 g.

*Conclusion: Supplementing berberine may bring positive help to weight loss, but limited by the small sample size, more studies are needed to support it

  1. Berberine is good for type 2 diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by persistent hyperglycemia, which may be due to impaired insulin secretion or resistance to the peripheral action of insulin, or both.

The most common symptoms include: thirst, increased urination, fatigue, bacterial and fungal infections, delayed wound healing, numbness and tingling of hands and feet, and blurred vision.

Long-term hyperglycemia may increase: the incidence of hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, hypertonic state, coma, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, and cerebrovascular disease

*Conclusion: Berberine has the effect of regulating blood sugar, but it is limited by the heterogeneity of the included studies, and more large-scale experiments with precise design are still needed to prove it

  1. Berberine benefits hyperlipidemia

Hyperlipidemia (Dyslipidemia) can be roughly divided into simple elevated cholesterol, simple elevated triglycerides, and both. In addition to primary factors, risk factors include diets high in saturated fat or trans fat , Lack of exercise, smoking, obesity and genetic inheritance

Secondary factors include biliary obstruction, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and hypothyroidism, and drugs such as diuretics, cyclosporine and glucocorticoids may also cause elevated cholesterol levels.

Oral berberine (daily dose ranging from 600 mg to 1500 mg, treatment time ranging from 2 months to 24 months) can significantly reduce total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triacids Glycerides (TG) also increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Note 2

In addition, there was no significant difference in the incidence of adverse events between the berberine group and the control group.

*Conclusion: Whether it is used alone or in combination with drugs, berberine can bring positive help to dyslipidemia, but it is limited by the high heterogeneity and high risk of bias in the included trials, and more rigorous studies are still needed to support it

  1. Berberine is beneficial to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the liver manifestation of metabolic syndrome. It is characterized by deposits of fat in the cytoplasm of liver cells in the absence of significant alcohol consumption or other important liver damage factors, accompanied by insulin resistance, Lipid metabolism disorder and other characteristics are the main cause of chronic liver disease.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver affects about 30% of ordinary adults and up to 60% to 70% of patients with diabetes and obesity. It is one of the causes of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Improving lifestyle and exercise control are still the focus of the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, patients are often difficult to maintain because the effect requires long-term observation.

A literature meta-analysis (Meta-Analysis, including 6 randomized controlled trials, a total of 501 patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) pointed out that. Note 3

Oral berberine (doses ranging from 0.3 g to 0.5 g for a duration of 12 to 16 weeks) lowered total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), alanine aminotransferase ( ALT), 2-hour postprandial blood glucose (2hPG), glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c).

In addition, subgroup analyzes found that berberine alone or combined drugs can effectively reduce triglycerides (TG).

*Conclusion: For non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the use of berberine has a positive effect on improving blood lipids, blood sugar, and liver function status. However, it is limited by the small number of samples, short duration, and quality factors. More rigorous research is needed to confirm Its clinical benefit

  1. Berberine is beneficial to polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is the most common endocrine disease in women of childbearing age. Its diagnosis is based on the following criteria, such as: excessive androgen (determined by excessive or hairy total testosterone or free testosterone); ovarian dysfunction ( It is characterized by sparse menstruation and chronic anovulation), and specific polycystic ovary morphology has been detected.

In addition to symptoms of infertility, acne and hirsutism, patients also have obvious metabolic abnormalities, which may increase diabetes and cardiovascular risk.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (Meta-Analysis, including 9 randomized controlled trials of polycystic ovary syndrome with insulin resistance) pointed out that. Note 4

Berberine and antidiabetic drugs: metformin has no significant difference in reducing insulin resistance, improving glucose and lipid metabolism, improving reproductive endocrine and so on.

In addition, hormone therapy drugs: Cyproterone acetate (CPA) combined with berberine is better than drugs alone in improving reproductive endocrine indicators.

*Conclusion: For polycystic ovary syndrome with insulin resistance, the use of berberine may be positively helpful, but limited by the small sample size, more well-designed large-scale studies are still needed to confirm its benefits and safety

  1. Berberine increases Helicobacter pylori eradication rate

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a gram-negative, microscopic airborne bacterium that is closely related to gastric mucosal cells and infects nearly 50% of the world’s population. It is classified as a clear category by the World Health Organization Carcinogen.

The clinical manifestations of Helicobacter pylori infection are as follows: (1) chronic gastritis, which occurs in almost all patients, and most are asymptomatic (2) duodenal ulcer, which accounts for 10% to 15% of the infected population, (3) gastric ulcer/adenocarcinoma, which occurs in 1 Gastric cancer develops in 3% to 3% of infected persons, (4) gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma (MALToma), accounting for 0.1% of infected persons.

A meta-analysis of the literature (Meta-Analysis, including 13 randomized controlled trials, a total of 2048 Helicobacter pylori patients) pointed out that berberine combined with triple therapy (triple therapy) can improve pylori Helicobacter eradication rate, and reduce the occurrence of total adverse reactions (especially nausea and diarrhea). Note 5

*Conclusion: The combination of berberine and triple therapy can increase the eradication rate of Helicobacter pylori and reduce the incidence of treatment-related adverse reactions. However, due to the low methodological quality of the included studies, more studies are still needed to support this.


Are there any side effects of berberine?

For most adults who are in good health and used in appropriate dosages, berberine has high safety.

However, side effects or adverse reactions that have been reported include: abdominal cramps, diarrhea, flatulence, constipation, stomach pain, low blood pressure, dyspnea, flu-like symptoms, and myocardial injury (especially under high doses)


Safety precautions

  1. Do not use for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants and young children. It may cause kernicterus in newborns. Kernicterus is a rare brain injury that often occurs in newborns with severe jaundice.
  1. Please be careful when taking blood sugar lowering drugs or diabetic patients. Because of the blood sugar lowering effect, it may cause hypoglycemia
  1. Please be careful when taking blood pressure lowering drugs or patients with hypertension, as it has the effect of lowering blood pressure, it may cause hypotension
  1. Do not use together with Cyclosporine, it may reduce the speed at which the body decomposes cyclosporine and increase the occurrence of side effects.
  1. Do not use with drugs that need to be metabolized by cytochromes P450, which may affect the efficacy of the drug or enhance the side effects of the drug. Common drugs include the following:

Macrocyclic antibiotics (clarithromycin, erythromycin)

Antiarrhythmic drugs (quinidine)

Benzodiazepines (alprazolam, clobazam, clonazepam)

Immunomodulators (cyclosporine, tacrolimus)

AIDS antiviral drugs (atazanavir, cobicistat, darunavir, fosamprenavir, indinavir)

Antihistamine (chlorpheniramine)

Calcium channel blockers (amlodipine, diltiazem, felodipine, nifedipine, verapamil)

HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin)

Estradiol (estradiol), testosterone (testosterone), progesterone (hydrocortisone)


How should berberine be eaten? What is the dose?

In the literature, the dose of berberine is about 900 to 1500 mg per day, which can be taken with meals or shortly after meals

Due to the short half-life, a stable blood level can be achieved by dispersing the dose several times a day (for example: 500 mg each time, 3 times a day).

Where can I buy the highest quality Berberine that is recommended by most people?

Natural Factors, WellBetX, Berberine, 500 mg, 120 Vegetarian Capsules

(Direct shipping from the United States / Worldwide delivery)

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Product Features:

Berberine is a naturally occurring plant alkaloid found in various plants, including barberry, goldenseal, and Oregon grape. Many herbalists credit this unique alkaloid for the beneficial effects of many traditional tonics made from these plants. Berberine plays an important role in blood sugar (glucose) metabolism and cardiovascular health. Berberine helps maintain healthy blood sugar and total cholesterol levels already within the normal range.

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