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  • Help to Support a Healthy Circulatory System
  • Helps to Maintain a Strong Metabolism
  • Powerful Anti-Inflammatory


Berberine HCL is a compound that can be extracted from a number of herbs and plants. Other names include umbellatine and 5,6-dihydro-9,10-dimethoxybenzo[g]-1,3-benzodioxolo[5,6-a]quinolizinium and it is found in the following plants:
- Berberis vulgaris (barberry)
- Argemone mexicana (prickly poppy)
- Berberis aristata (turmeric tree)
- Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon grape)
- Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal)
- Eschscholzia californica (Californian poppy)
- Xanthorhiza simplicissima (yellowroot)
- Phellodendron amurense (Amur cork tree)
- Coptis chinensis (Chinese goldthread)
- Tinospora cordifolia.


This compound has a history of use in traditional Chinese medicine and was once used as a treatment for diarrhea in diabetics. It is a highly effective dietary supplement with a number of remarkable health benefits. In the past, people with diabetes and high cholesterol tried using berberine because of the various studies which showed its apparent benefits. Nowadays, people use this compound as a dietary supplement with many potential health benefits. The recommended serving size is 500 mg, taken two to three times daily.


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  • Used in traditional Chinese medicine and was once used as a treatment for diarrhea for people with diabetes

  • Has a host of benefits and people once used it for high cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels – today it is used as an effective health supplement for supporting a healthy circulatory system and metabolism

  • The recommended serving size is 500 mg, taken two to three times daily

  • This supplement interacts with a number of medicines and can cause constipation and stomach cramps


Berberine reviews


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Background: History and Importance of Berberine


This compound was first used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for helping to reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal diseases. It is found in a large variety of plants and herbs. Chinese medicine used the herbs phellodendron and coptis to extract berberine. Interestingly, it is also a natural dye. It is called “natural yellow 18”, and is one of around 35 natural dyes.[1] It is sometimes sold as Berberine HCl or simply as a 'Berberine extract supplement.'


Today, this supplement is gaining fame because of its remarkable potential ability to help maintain a healthy circulatory system. There is a large body of research into the effects of this supplement on the human circulatory system. The results have pointed towards its efficacy in helping the body to maintain healthy blood glucose levels, cholesterol, triglycerides, HbA1c, BMI, and to work as an anti-inflammatory.

 Berberine Bark

Berberine Benefits and Effects


1. Helps to maintain a healthy circulatory system


One of the most important benefits of this supplement is its remarkable ability help maintain a healthy circulatory system. In the past, this was especially beneficial for people who suffered from irregular blood sugar levels. Interestingly, the key benefits were first discovered when this herbal extract was used as a treatment for diarrhea in diabetic patients.


In a human study on over 110 volunteers, all with type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar, researchers found some interesting data. Volunteers were given a Berberine serving of 1 gram daily, for 3 months. At the end of the study, all the participants had benefitted greatly from the treatment. Glucose levels were reduced by an average of around 1.4 mmol/liter. The HbAc1 levels, triglyceride levels, and cholesterol levels were significantly lowered as well. The study found that a serving size of 1 gram per day was highly effective and safe in helping to maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.[2]  

2. May help to promote healthy HbA1c levels


HbA1c is a term used to describe “glycated hemoglobin”. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells, and it is responsible for carrying both oxygen and sugar to cells around your body. When hemoglobin “collides with” sugar in your blood, there is a chemical reaction and the protein binds to the sugar molecule. The result is glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c).


The concentration of HbA1c in blood is used as a marker for high blood sugar. An HbA1c concentration of over 6.5% indicates diabetes. HbA1c tests can also be used to give an average of your blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. A simple blood glucose test only tells you the level of sugar in your blood at that time, but an HbA1c gives you a better understanding of your average blood glucose levels.[3]


A growing number of studies indicate that this supplement may be able to help maintain healthy HbA1c levels. A recent review of over 14 studies on the effects of this supplement on blood sugar levels indicated that it may be effective at helping your body to maintain healthy a healthy and effective circulatory system.[4] 

3. Helps your body maintain healthy arteries 

In the past, people used this herbal extract to help promote good cholesterol levels. There have been a number of studies which have indicated its apparent ability to help your body regulate cholesterol. Today, however, you can use Berberine as a powerful dietary supplement which is all the more effective when taken in addition to a healthy diet.


One important study looked into the effects of this supplement on a number of key diabetic markers. These included liver fat content, blood glucose and blood lipid profiles (cholesterol). The study, which was conducted on 184 patients in five medical facilities, compared this compound to a commonly prescribed anti-diabetic substance.


Once again, the fascinating supplement showed outstanding results. The study concluded that the benefits included significantly reduced liver fat content, blood glucose, and cholesterol. In fact, in this study, the dietary supplement was found to be more effective than the substance it was tested against for the variables of body weight reduction and cholesterol support.[5] This study does not indicate that this compound should be used for any medical reasons. It does, however, indicate some potential key benefits, when taken as a dietary supplement.


4. Helps your heart stay strong  


Triglycerides are a specific type of fat that are found in your blood. Sadly, a high a concentration of triglycerides in the blood has been shown to contribute towards heart disease and stroke.[6] Scientists maintain that reducing triglycerides is very beneficial to your health. This is easily achieved through dietary and lifestyle changes.


In 2013, an important study demonstrated the potential strength of this supplement in assisting the body to maintain healthy triglyceride levels. The study was conducted on 144 healthy patients taking a Berberine supplement. The long-term study required a 6-month ‘run-in’ period of physical training and dieting before patients started their 3 months of supplementation.


The authors of this landmark study found that this supplement had the potential to help the body maintain healthy cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels. At the end of the study, volunteers had increased the levels of HDL cholesterol levels (the ‘good’ cholesterol), while decreasing the levels of LDL-Cholesterol.[7] More studies are required to confirm the potential future benefits of this supplement for maintaining healthy lipid levels.


5. Helps the body maintain a healthy Metabolism


Another important benefit is this supplement's ability to help your body maintain a healthy metabolism. Studies have found that, secondary to its circulatory-support benefits, this amazing plant-based supplement has been helping participants in the studies to maintain a healthy metabolism and promote a good BMI. In fact, all the studies we’ve referenced so far have found significant data indicating that Berberine was effective at helping to maintain a healthy BMI, on top of the other indicated effects.


In one study, conducted on 24 partipants with metabolic syndrome, researchers indicated that use of this supplement alone may help to maintain a healthy waist circumference. This effect was found to be in combination with potentially maintaining healthy cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels.[8] However, we definitely don’t recommend trying to use this supplement as some kind of ‘magic-bullet’ Unfortunately, these things just don’t exist. That being said, the evidence certainly suggests that this compound is a great addition to a healthy lifestyle and diet or a move in that direction.

6. Anti-inflammatory Supplement


Animal studies have shown that this supplement may have the potential benefit of helping to reduce inflammation.[9] Inflammation is often a sign of an underlying disease or infection. However, chronic stress, bad dietary habits, smoking, obesity, and alcohol abuse are also risk factors for developing inflammation. Reducing inflammation has a host of health benefits and is recommended by all doctors.[10]


The natural state of the human body is one of homeostasis, where all its parts and systems work together in harmony, bringing health, happiness, and vibrant well-being. Unfortunately, many people have got to a point where it feels normal to feel inflammation, discomfort, or even pain, at any given time in the day. This shouldn’t be normal. If you often feel discomfort or inflammation, speak to a dietician, a holistic healthcare worker, or a doctor about how changes in your lifestyle can improve your wellbeing.

 Berberine for heart health concept

Is Berberine an Antibiotic Supplement?


Lately, there is considerable talk about this compound's potential antibiotic applications. We’ll review a couple of studies below, but it’s important to remember that, for the time-being at least, it is available only as a dietary supplement and is not intended to be used in any medical or veterinary application.


Once scientists learned of the potential antiviral and antibiotic effects of Berberine, they couldn’t get enough of it! Recently, in vitro (cell culture) studies have suggested that this supplement may be effective against numerous strains of bacteria, including cholera, giardia, shigella, and salmonella; and potentially also against staphylococcus, streptococcus, and Clostridium.[11] It also appears to have surprisingly effective action against protozoans like Giardia lamblia, Trichomonas vaginalis, Leishmania donovani, and even Malaria. [12] [13]


One important thing to remember is that, although this compound has the potential for future antibiotic development, its mechanisms in this regard are not yet fully understood. There are some important interactions to keep in mind. These include interactions with antibiotics, especially microlide antibiotics, which may prove to be very dangerous. Do not use Berberine supplements if you are taking any antibiotics.


Recommended Usage


This supplement is best taken in three separate servings of 500 mg.[14] Taking three servings throughout the day, rather than one large serving, reduces the gastro side effects. It has suggested that the absorption and efficacy of this supplement may be improved when taken with a P-glycoprotein inhibitor. Some natural P-glycoprotein inhibitors include milk thistle, chrysin, and coconut oil.[15]


Do not exceed the recommended serving size. Increasing the serving size of this supplement may not improve its efficiency. Do not use this supplement if you are taking any medication. If you have any medical conditions, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, please speak to your doctor before taking this supplement.


Side Effects & Warnings


This supplement considered a very safe supplement to help maintain a healthy circulatory system, healthy arteries, and to promote general well-being. However, there are some potential hazards to consider:


Firstly, Berberine supplements interact with a lot of different prescribed and OTC substances. Importantly, any medication that lowers blood sugar levels may have a dangerous interaction and should not be to taken in combination. Interactions could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). For a list of possible Berberine interactions, read through the ‘Interactions’ section on the page for this compound.[16]

If you are taking any medication, speak to your doctor BEFORE using this supplement.

Secondly, this supplement can be transferred through breast milk and is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. [17]


Other potential side effects may include gastrointestinal discomfort and constipation. Remember, the benefits of this supplement were originally touted as a future treatment for diarrhea in diabetics! Don’t take it if you’re have stomach issues.


What is an AMPK supplement?


AMPK refers to a complicated enzyme called Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase. Studies have found that Berberine HCl effectively activates the AMPK enzyme while inhibiting Protein-Tyrosine Phosphatase 1B (PTP1B). The AMPK enzyme works as a ‘nutrient sensor’ and responds to changes in blood sugar levels. AMPK supplements either activate or inhibit the actions of AMPK, and this supplement is an AMPK activator.[18]


This compound is considered an AMPK supplement and animal studies have indicated that it significantly increases levels of the AMPK enzyme in the blood.[19] The effects of increased AMPK activity seem to include a number of positive health benefits like reduced cholesterol and triglyceride synthesis, even at fairly low dosages.[20]

 Berberine healthy eating blood sugar concept

Conclusion: Berberis vulgaris supplements for health


In summary, this supplement is a great addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Berberine HCl is extracted from a number of plant sources with traditional use in Chinese herbal medicine. Many people wonder about how to control blood sugar. While this supplement certainly doesn’t offer a magic bullet in this regard, it may be useful when taken in addition to healthy lifestyle changes.


Many people also wonder about weight loss benefits. Again, as with all things, there is no magic-bullet for weight loss and we definitely don’t consider this supplement to be an exception to this rule. However, there is considerable evidence that it is exceedingly useful as a supplement to help support a metabolism, especially when used in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise.


Berberine is an active AMPK supplement and helps to promote a healthy body, healthy circulatory system, and helps your body fight inflammation. In the past, this supplement was used by diabetics to lower blood sugar and reduce diarrhea. Today, it is available as a dietary health supplement to support vitality and well-being. The recommended serving size is three doses of 500 mg each, taken throughout the day.  


This supplement is generally considered safe but may have some potentially dangerous interactions with antibiotics and other medication. Speak to your doctor before using a this supplement if you are taking any medication or have any underlying medical conditions.


Medical Disclaimer: 

Not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease or ailment. Please read and fully understand potential adverse effects before using this product. These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA and are not written by a medical professional. Please consult your doctor before using any supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions.



[1] NEW USES OF BERBERINE, by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon, April 2005, available from

[2] Treatment of type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia with the natural plant alkaloid berberine, Zhang Y et al., J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jul;93(7):2559-65. doi: 10.1210/jc.2007-2404. Epub 2008 Apr 8, available from

[3] Guide to HbA1c,, available from, retrieved on August 5, 2016

[4] Berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systemic review and meta-analysis, Dong H, Wang N, Zhao L, Lu F, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:591654. doi: 10.1155/2012/591654. Epub 2012 Oct 15, available from

[5] Efficacy of Berberine in Patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Yan HM, Xia MF et al., PLoS One. 2015 Aug 7;10(8):e0134172. doi: 10.1371, available from

[6] Triglycerides and Cardiovascular Disease, Michael Miller et al., American Heart Association, May 2011, doi:, available from

[7] Effects of berberine on lipid profile in subjects with low cardiovascular risk, Derosa G et al., Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2013 Apr;13(4):475-82. doi: 10.1517, available from

[8] Effect of berberine administration on metabolic syndrome, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion, Pérez-Rubio KG et al., Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2013 Oct;11(5):366-9. doi: 10.1089, available from

[9] Berberine inhibits dyslipidemia in C57BL/6 mice with lipopolysaccharide induced inflammation, Xiao HB et al., Pharmacol Rep. 2012;64(4):889-95, available from

[10] Inflammation: Causes, Symptoms, and Anti-Inflammatory Diet, by Jessie Slazlay,, September 2015, available from

[11] Vuddanda PR, Chakraborty S, Singh S. Berberine: a potential phytochemical with multispectrum therapeutic activities. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. (2010)

[12] Sheng WD, et al. Treatment of chloroquine-resistant malaria using pyrimethamine in combination with berberine, tetracycline or cotrimoxazole. East Afr Med J. (1997)

[13] Kaneda Y, et al. In vitro effects of berberine sulphate on the growth and structure of Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia and Trichomonas vaginalis. Ann Trop Med Parasitol. (1991)

[14] Berberine Compared to Metformin in Women with PCOS, Beth Baldwin-lien, ND, Natural Medicine Journal, Dec 2012, Vol. 4, Issue 12, available from

[15] Berberine,, available from, retrieved on August 5, 2016

[16] Berberine, AARP Online, available online from, retrieved on August 6, 2016

[18] Han Y, et al. Redox regulation of the AMP-activated protein kinase. PLoS One. (2010)

[19] Kim WS, et al. Berberine improves lipid dysregulation in obesity by controlling central and peripheral AMPK activity. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. (2009)

[20] Brusq JM, et al. Inhibition of lipid synthesis through activation of AMP kinase: an additional mechanism for the hypolipidemic effects of berberine. J Lipid Res. (2006)