Berberine is a natural compound found in a variety of plants, including goldenseal, barberry, and Oregon grape.[1] It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of health conditions. Berberine can be classified into compounds called alkaloids. 

It has been shown to possess incredible health benefits and has an essential impact on your body at the molecular level. In this article, we discuss how berberine may benefit your health.

Blood Sugar

Berberine has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. This may be due to its ability to activate an enzyme called AMPK, which helps regulate glucose metabolism.[2,3]

Moreover, it may promote the production of useful bacteria to slow the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut. It may also help glycolysis and encourage the breakdown of sugars in the blood, thus lowering blood sugar [4]. 

According to a research study of 116 diabetic patients, 1 gram of berberine per day reduced fasting blood sugar by 20%. Additionally, berberine may effectively lower hemoglobin A1c, which measures long-term high blood sugar levels. It may also improve blood cholesterols and triglycerides [5]. 

Weight Loss

Berberine may increase the activity of enzymes involved in fat metabolism and decrease the production of new fat cells. This is because it helps your body to control hormones like adiponectin and leptin that regulate fat cells. Additionally, Berberine has been suggested to help reduce inflammation which is often linked with obesity and metabolic disorders. A 12-week study of obese people found that taking 500 mg of berberine 3 times a day led to an average 5-pound weight loss [7]. 

Heart Health

Berberine may significantly improve heart health by helping to lower bad cholesterol in the blood and reducing high blood pressure. High blood pressure and cholesterol make the walls of the arteries weak and result in strokes and numerous other cardiovascular diseases [8]. 

Other Health Benefits

Berberine boasts a myriad of other potential health benefits. Berberine may also balance macrophages in the GI system. Macrophages are a pivotal part of the immune system which respond to invaders and can become detrimental to the host if they become chronically activated.

The Bottom Line

Berberine is a natural compound that has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. Recent scientific research has found that berberine may have a number of health benefits, including lowering blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, improving heart health, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, anti-inflammatory effects and promoting weight loss. Moreover, it may also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and which may prove beneficial in improving heart, gut, and ovarian health.


  1. Schor, J. (2012). Clinical Applications for Berberine. Natural Medicine Journal, 4(12).
  2. Yao, J., Kong, W., & Jiang, J. (2015). Learning from berberine: Treating chronic diseases through multiple targets. Science China. Life sciences, 58(9), 854–859. 
  3. Lee, Y. S., Kim, W. S., Kim, K. H., Yoon, M. J., Cho, H. J., Shen, Y., ... & Kim, J. B. (2006). Berberine, a natural plant product, activates AMP-activated protein kinase with beneficial metabolic effects in diabetic and insulin-resistant states. Diabetes, 55(8), 2256-2264. 
  4. Pang, B., Zhao, L. H., Zhou, Q., Zhao, T. Y., Wang, H., Gu, C. J., & Tong, X. L. (2015). Application of berberine on treating type 2 diabetes mellitus. International journal of endocrinology, 2015, 905749. 
  5. Zhang, Y., Li, X., Zou, D., Liu, W., Yang, J., Zhu, N., Huo, L., Wang, M., Hong, J., Wu, P., Ren, G., & Ning, G. (2008). Treatment of type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia with the natural plant alkaloid berberine. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 93(7), 2559–2565. 
  6. Zhou, L. B., Chen, M. D., Wang, X., Song, H. D., Yang, Y., Tang, J. F., Li, F. Y., Xu, M. Y., & Chen, J. L. (2003). Zhonghua yi xue za zhi, 83(4), 338–340.
  7. Hu, Y., Ehli, E. A., Kittelsrud, J., Ronan, P. J., Munger, K., Downey, T., ... & Davies, G. E. (2012). Lipid-lowering effect of berberine in human subjects and rats. Phytomedicine, 19(10), 861-867.
  8. Dong, H., Zhao, Y., Zhao, L., & Lu, F. (2013). The effects of berberine on blood lipids: a systemic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Planta medica, 79(6), 437–446. 
January 18, 2023 — MD Logic Health