For losing weight, you may think that you have to turn to pills and pharmaceuticals. But, there are natural supplements you can use, and Berberine for weight loss is very popular.
There are three big ways Berberine helps with weight loss, and we believe it's important you understand how it works. Each reason comes backed by scientific studies. However, we're going to define Berberine first and what exactly makes it powerful below.
Contents:What is Berberine? Berberine Nutrition 3 Reasons to Try Berberine for Weight LossWhat is Berberine?
- Berberine Significantly Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
- Berberine Sheds Weight in Obese Adults
- Berberine Inhibits the Growth of Fat Cells at a Molecular Level
Simply put, Berberine is a bioactive compound. You get it by extracting it from plants, and it's in several plants. However, the most prominent plants are a group of shrubs called Berberis. (1) Berberine is technically classified as an alkaloid. The bright yellow colour makes it a popular dye, and it has a long history of medicinal use. This continues today for a lot of different ailments. (2)
There are hundreds of studies involving Berberine, and it has positive impacts on several different systems in your body. (3) Once you ingest this compound, it travels through your bloodstream. From here, Berberine goes into your cells. There are several "molecular targets" located inside your cells, and Berberine alters their main function. This mimics what traditional medicines do to your cells. (4) This is very diverse and complicated, so we're going to narrow it down to the main actions. First, Berberine is directly responsible for activating the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This enzyme occurs inside of your cells. (5)(6) AMPK has the nickname of the master switch for your metabolism. You can find it in your organs and cells, including your kidneys, brain, liver, heart and muscles. It plays a very large role in helping your body regulate your metabolism. (7)(8)(9) Berberine also has an impact on several other molecules inside of your cells. Research suggests that this compound could even play a role in deciding which genes in your body get turned on or turned off. (10)
3 Reasons to Try Berberine for Weight Loss
Now that you know what Berberine is and what it can do for you, we'll outline three big reasons why you should consider taking Berberine for weight loss. Each reason comes with science-backed evidence. They include:
1. Berberine Significantly Reduces Blood Sugar LevelsMillions of people have Type 2 diabetes, and it's a serious health issue that can lead to death. A hallmark of the disease is having an elevated blood sugar level. Studies have shown that people with Type I and II diabetes are typically more overweight than people with no diabetes. This is especially true if you have unmanaged diabetes or if you're just starting to take steps to control it. You crave sugary foods to replace the sugar you lose in your urine, and tend to eat more until you stabilise your blood sugar. If you eat more than you need per day, this results in excess calorie storage and weight gain. (11)(12) Berberine works to lower your blood sugar levels in several ways including: (13)
- Decreases your liver's sugar production.
- Increases your gut's number of good bacteria.
- Increases your natural amount of glycolysis to help you break down sugar better.
- Slows down the rate your body breaks down carbohydrates.
One study took 116 diabetic patients and split them into two groups. Group A got one gram of Berberine every day for three months. Group B got a placebo. At the end of the trial, group A's fasting blood sugar levels dropped by 20%, and this put them into normal levels. Additionally, group A's hemoglobin A1C levels dropped 12%. They had improved blood lipid levels like cholesterol as well. (14)(15) One large review of 14 different studies showed that Berberine could actually be just as effective as oral diabetes drugs for controlling blood sugar levels. This includes glipizide, metformin and rosiglitazone. (16)
2. Berberine Sheds Weight in Obese Adults
Berberine is proving to be a very effective weight loss supplement. There have been a few newer studies examining how Berberine effects your body weight. (17) The first was a 12-week study that involved obese individuals. The participants took 500 mg of Berberine three times a day for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, researchers found that the average amount of weight loss was five pounds. Additionally, the participants reported losing around 3.6% of their body fat. (18) A larger study took 37 men and women who had metabolic syndrome and gave them 300 mg of Berberine three times a day for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the participants had reduced their body mass indexes from 31.5 down to 24.4. This took them from the obese category and put them in the overweight category in just 12 weeks. (19)
3. Berberine Inhibits the Growth of Fat Cells at a Molecular Level
Fat cells around your abdominal area are notoriously difficult to rid yourself of. However, Berberine can help to improve your fat-regulating hormone functions and reduce inflammation. Berberine helps decreasing the amount of lipids in the cells. In turn, this helps to regulate fat cell hormones. (20)(21)
Other Reasons To Try Berberine For Weight LossThere are several other ways Berberine works to help you lose weight. They include but are not limited to:
- Berberine Increases Good Gut Bacteria Levels - Studies show that a Berberine supplement can help to increase your gut's levels of good bacteria. This can help regulate your metabolism and reduce your inflammation. (22)
- Berberine Reduces Inflammation - When you have inflammation, it can cause your hormones to fluctuate, including the ones that regulate weight loss. Berberine calms inflammation, and it has antioxidant properties to repair cells. (23)(24)
- Berberine Can Lower Cholesterol Levels - Berberine inhibits the production of an enzyme called PCSK9. Since this enzyme is responsible for keeping LDL in your bloodstream, it'll drop your cholesterol levels. This takes the stress off your cardiovascular system, and it can kickstart your weight loss. (25)(26)