- Berberine is a natural product that can improve different areas of your health when combined with other evidence-based practices.
- If you choose to supplement, you can expect to take one to three capsules daily with food to experience optimal health benefits.
- Berberine isn’t appropriate for everyone, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking certain prescription medications. Ask your doctor if berberine is safe for you to take.
Berberine is a plant alkaloid used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
Berberine supplements are becoming increasingly popular in the United States because of their positive effect on metabolic health.
This includes improved blood sugar control, greater insulin sensitivity, reduced symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome, and weight management.
We’ve made picking the best berberine supplement easy in this article.
Keep reading to learn which products are proven to support metabolic health and whether they are a good option for you.
What is Berberine?
When sold in supplement form, berberine extract is dehydrated and ground to a fine powder stored in capsules.
Most berberine supplements have a distinct golden hue similar to ground turmeric, another popular Eastern spice taken for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
The healthful properties of berberine include its ability to stimulate glycolysis, a metabolic process that pulls usable energy from cells instead of storing it.
Berberine may also improve insulin secretion and sensitivity, which is vital for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Taking berberine and following other evidence-based practices can help you improve your health.
Potential Benefits of Berberine
Health scientists continue to research berberine for its potential benefits in:
- Weight management.
- Cancer prevention.
- Improved cholesterol.
- Better blood sugar levels.
- Anti-inflammatory response.
- Helping to restore the gut microbiome.
- Neuroprotective activity.
So far, the outcomes look very promising.
However, no single supplement will resolve health conditions or improve symptoms overnight.
You should use berberine while following the directions of your healthcare team to maximize potential benefits.
How To Choose the Right Berberine Supplement
There are many different supplements on the market. Ideally, you should choose a product that can meet these criteria:
- It has excellent bioavailability, meaning your body will absorb as much of the supplement as possible.
- It comes from a reliable brand.
- Independent third-party labs have validated the formula.
- The dosage is supported by scientific research.
Being diligent about your supplement choices is essential.
They can be costly, and you want to ensure you get the best quality ingredients.
2023 research demonstrates that many berberine supplements on the market are less potent than marketed.
Only 56% of the 18 berberine supplements analyzed in the study contained the claimed amount of berberine.
Unfortunately, this happens frequently in the US because supplements aren’t regulated and don’t need to satisfy FDA protocols.
Taking The Correct Dosage
There’s no published guideline on the correct dosage to take.
2023 research has demonstrated positive health changes in people after taking 1000mg to 1500mg daily for a minimum of three months.
Many of the supplement brands suggest taking three 500mg capsules daily, which equates to 1500mg total.
In some people, berberine may affect their gastrointestinal system and lead to diarrhea or constipation, stomach pain, and flatulence.
If you have a sensitive stomach, you may need a lower dosage. Your dietitian can help you make adjustments.
5 Best Berberine Supplements for Metabolic Health
When taking a supplement, always follow the instructions on the package.
Even though all these products contain similar ingredients, the directions and dosage may vary.
1. Thorne Research Berberine 500
Thorne’s supplement contains berberine and berberine phytosome, another plant extract from berberine that helps absorption.
It's marketed to people who want to experience berberine's full health benefits, including better cholesterol, blood sugar values, and improved insulin sensitivity.
They also claim that women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, susceptible to acne and blemishes, may see clearer skin.
The recommended dosage of this product is one to two 200mg capsules daily, taken with food to further help with absorption.
One container contains sixty pills and should cover your needs for one to two months.
2. Integrative Therapeutics Berberine
Integrative Therapeutics offers an affordable berberine supplement that costs $36 for a 90-pill container.
It’s marketed to people who want gastrointestinal support and metabolic improvements.
Barberry root is known to have laxative properties.
Try a different supplement if you are prone to loose stools or diarrhea.
3. Now Foods Berberine Glucose Support
Now Foods has an affordable option that touts glucose and cholesterol improvement.
This brand is reputable and well-known across the supplement industry.
A unique feature of this formula is the addition of capric acid, which can help increase berberine absorption.
Like other berberine products, the recommended dosage is one 400mg capsule, taken three times daily.
4. Solaray Berberine Capsules
Solaray stands out from other brands for its eco-friendly practices.
The Utah-based company only uses recycled material for packaging and works with community patterns as often as possible to formulate its products.
Their berberine supplement contains berberine hydrochloride (HCL) and Oregon grape.
The formula is similar to Thorne’s berberine supplement and is easily absorbed, but this option costs less per bottle.
You can take two 535mg capsules per day with or without food.
5. Swanson Berberine
The only listed ingredient in this product is berberine HCL, which is believed to have excellent bioavailability. You can take one to two 400mg capsules daily with food.
Safety and Side Effect Considerations
Although it is an all-natural product, the enzymes in berberine can interfere with several types of prescription medications.
You should not take berberine if you take blood thinners or medications to manage heart disease or blood sugars.
It could lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels, clinically referred to as hypoglycemia.
People who are immunocompromised should also avoid berberine, as well as women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Infants exposed to berberine are at risk of developing infant jaundice or more severe complications.
You can improve your metabolic health by making dietary and lifestyle changes.
These include increasing physical activity and enjoying a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein.
Adding berberine to your health care plan may provide further benefits if it’s safe for you (meaning you aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding and don’t take any prescription medications that react with berberine).
Many of these supplements contain similar ingredients, but the availability of these products may vary per state, which can influence your decision.
You can ask your dietitian questions about berberine supplements not mentioned on this list. Ultimately, they want to help you find a product that you love.
Book an online appointment with a Nourish registered dietitian now.
How a Dietitian Can Help
Your metabolic health is a snapshot of the bigger picture of your health.
You and your healthcare team can assess your metabolic health by measuring your blood pressure and waist circumference and evaluating fasting blood glucose levels and different types of cholesterol.
Making nutritious changes can improve your metabolic health. These include:
- Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.
- Satisfying your vitamin and mineral requirements, such as vitamin D and magnesium.
- Lowering your intake of ultra-processed foods.
- Following the Mediterranean eating pattern or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension if applicable.
- Choosing antioxidant-rich food and beverages (teas and coffees) daily.
Nutrition misinformation is abundant online, and working with a nutrition expert can provide clarity.
Book your first virtual appointment with a Nourish dietitian specializing in metabolic health.
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