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'nature's Ozempic' to weight management

Berberine's weight management benefits | Biohacking your body
8 November 2023 | James Kearslake
Table of Contents
Fun Fact

Berberine is not just found in plants. Insects, such as the Indian fritillary butterfly, eat plants containing berberine so they can accumulate it in their bodies, giving them a bitter taste and they become unpalatable to predators. This fascinating adaptation serves as a natural defence mechanism, helping these butterflies avoid becoming a tasty treat.

What Is Berberine

While celebrities and the wealthy elite deplete stocks of Ozempic, the biohacking community is taking to Berberine for similar effects for appetite control and weight management.

Providing several benefits to supporting a healthy metabolic system, it regulates blood sugars, promotes the oxidation of fatty acids, and promotes healthy gut microbiota which is key to a healthy digestive tract, nutrition absorption, and a regulated metabolic system.

Healthy gut microbiota is also essential for maintaining a healthy vagus nerve, the nerve that connects the digestive tract and the brain and, when dysregulated, directly impacts our mental health, cognitive function, and cognitive clarity.

Berberine is a natural compound found in several plants and has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic practices.

Picture of a yoga instructor smiling in a field_benefits of berberine for weight

Benefits of Berberine Supplements

Berberine has various uses in the human body, making it a versatile and valuable natural compound.

It offers several benefits for physical and cognitive performance, and is widely taken for its ability to support weight management, appetite control, and regulate insulin sensitivity.

Benefits of berberine supplements include:

  1. Blood Sugar Regulation – Berberine regulates blood sugar levels, improves insulin sensitivity, and reduces glucose production in the liver, making it beneficial for those looking to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. More on this below
  2. Weight Management – It also aids weight loss by enhancing metabolism and reducing fat storage, while also controlling appetite and reducing cravings. More on this below
  3. Cardiovascular Health – Berberine has shown promise in lowering the risk of heart disease by reducing LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while also increasing HDL cholesterol levels.
  4. Gastrointestinal Health – Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties make it useful in managing gastrointestinal conditions. It can help with diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and bacterial infections in the gut. More on this below.
  5. Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects – It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which helps reduce inflammation in the body and protect against oxidative stress in the body and brain.
  6. Liver Health – It is also considered that berberine can aid in the management of liver conditions, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
a picture of an athletic man receiving red light therapy treatment at a red light aesthetics clinic_What are the benefits of red light

Berberine and Blood Sugar Regulation

One of the most well-studied and celebrated benefits of berberine is its ability to help regulate blood sugar levels. This effect is particularly valuable for individuals with type 2 diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition. Here’s how berberine exerts its influence on blood sugar:

  1. Enhanced Insulin Sensitivity – Berberine has been shown to enhance the body’s sensitivity to insulin, a hormone responsible for transporting glucose from the bloodstream into cells. In insulin resistance, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, cells become less responsive to insulin’s signals. Berberine helps counteract this resistance by improving insulin sensitivity, allowing glucose to enter cells more efficiently.
  2. Reduced Glucose Production – The liver plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels by producing and releasing glucose when needed. In people with diabetes, the liver often produces excessive glucose, contributing to elevated blood sugar. Berberine has been found to reduce this excessive glucose production in the liver, helping to maintain more stable blood sugar levels.
  3. Improved Glycaemic Control – Berberine not only helps lower fasting blood sugar levels but also improves overall glycaemic control. This means that it can help reduce the spikes in blood sugar that occur after meals, which is a critical aspect of managing diabetes.
  4. Altered Gut Microbiota – Emerging research suggests that berberine may positively influence the composition of the gut microbiota. A balanced gut microbiome is increasingly recognised as a factor in blood sugar regulation. Berberine’s effects on the gut may contribute to its ability to support glucose control.
  5. AMPK Activation – Berberine’s mechanisms of action also involve the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an enzyme that plays a pivotal role in cellular energy regulation. Activating AMPK encourages glucose uptake in cells and helps maintain energy balance in the body, which, in turn, benefits blood sugar control. More on this below

It’s important to note that while berberine shows promise in blood sugar management, it should not replace prescribed medications or treatment plans for individuals with diabetes. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation or making significant changes to your diabetes management regimen. Berberine can be a valuable addition to a comprehensive approach to blood sugar control, alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise.

In summary, berberine’s multifaceted approach to blood sugar regulation includes improving insulin sensitivity, reducing liver glucose production, enhancing glycaemic control, influencing the gut microbiota, and activating key enzymes like AMPK. These mechanisms collectively contribute to berberine’s reputation as a natural ally in the fight against blood sugar imbalances.

What Is AMPK Activation?

AMP-activated protein kinase, or AMPK, is an enzyme found in various tissues throughout the body, including the liver, muscles, and brain. It plays a pivotal role in cellular energy regulation and acts as a metabolic master switch. AMPK is sensitive to changes in the energy status of the cell, making it a critical component in maintaining energy balance.

Significance of Healthy AMPK Activation

AMPK activation offers numerous health benefits:

  1. Energy Homeostasis – AMPK helps maintain energy balance by regulating energy expenditure and storage. It promotes the breakdown of stored fats and the production of ATP, the body’s primary energy currency.
  2. Blood Sugar Regulation – AMPK activation enhances insulin sensitivity, facilitating the uptake of glucose by cells and supporting healthy blood sugar levels.
  3. Lipid Metabolism – It promotes the oxidation of fatty acids and inhibits the synthesis of lipids, helping to control cholesterol levels and maintain cardiovascular health.
  4. Cellular Survival – AMPK activation is crucial for cell survival during times of stress or energy depletion, contributing to longevity and the prevention of cell damage.
  5. Mitochondrial Biogenesis – It stimulates the creation of new mitochondria, the cellular powerhouses, enhancing overall cellular energy production.

Maintaining Healthy AMPK Activation

Several lifestyle and dietary factors can support healthy AMPK activation:

  1. Regular Exercise – Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to activate AMPK. Both aerobic and resistance exercises stimulate AMPK, contributing to improved metabolism and energy balance.
  2. Caloric Restriction – Reducing calorie intake or practicing intermittent fasting can activate AMPK as the body senses a lower energy supply.
  3. Dietary Choices – Certain foods like resveratrol (found in grapes and red wine), green tea, and turmeric have been associated with AMPK activation. A diet rich in whole foods, low in processed carbohydrates, and high in fibre can also support healthy AMPK function.
  4. Metformin – This medication, commonly used to manage type 2 diabetes, activates AMPK, which contributes to its blood sugar-regulating effects.

Consequences of Impaired AMPK Activation

Impaired AMPK function can lead to several health issues:

  1. Weight Gain – Inadequate AMPK activation can result in reduced fat burning, making it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Insulin Resistance – Insufficient AMPK activation can lead to insulin resistance, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
  3. Cardiovascular Problems – Dysfunctional AMPK can contribute to high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are risk factors for heart disease.
  4. Fatigue – Impaired AMPK function may lead to reduced cellular energy production, causing fatigue and decreased physical endurance.
  5. Cellular Stress – Without proper AMPK activation, cells may become more vulnerable to oxidative stress and damage, increasing the risk of chronic diseases and accelerating the aging process.

Maintaining healthy AMPK activation is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. A balanced lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a nutrient-rich diet, and mindful caloric intake can support AMPK function. 

To the contrary, impaired AMPK activation can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, cardiovascular problems, fatigue, and increased cellular stress. 

It’s important to adopt habits that promote healthy AMPK activation to optimise metabolic and cellular health.

Weight Management and Appetite Control

Berberine can help control appetite and reduce food cravings, being a helpful aid with weight management and eating habits.

It supports appetite control and food cravings in several ways:

  1. Impact on Hormones – Berberine has been shown to influence several hormones that regulate appetite. It can increase the release of hormones that promote feelings of fullness (satiety), such as leptin. By enhancing leptin’s signalling, berberine can help you feel satisfied with smaller portions of food, ultimately leading to reduced calorie consumption.
  2. Gut Microbiota Modulation – Emerging research suggests that berberine may positively affect the composition of the gut microbiota. A balanced gut microbiome is increasingly linked to appetite regulation. A healthier gut environment can lead to fewer cravings for sugary or high-calorie foods, as it can alter the gut-brain communication that drives these cravings.
  3. Stabilising Blood Sugar Levels – Berberine’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels plays a role in appetite control. When blood sugar levels spike and crash rapidly, it can trigger hunger and cravings for sugary or high-carbohydrate foods. Berberine’s impact on blood sugar stability can help mitigate these fluctuations and reduce the desire for unhealthy snacks.
  4. Reducing Stress-Induced Eating – Berberine has been investigated for its potential to lower stress and anxiety levels. Stress can trigger emotional eating and cravings for comfort foods. By helping to manage stress, berberine may indirectly reduce stress-induced eating, supporting better appetite control.
  5. Improving Insulin Sensitivity – Enhanced insulin sensitivity, as mentioned earlier, is another way berberine can impact appetite. When insulin functions optimally, it can better regulate blood sugar, leading to reduced hunger pangs and cravings.

It’s essential to remember that berberine alone is not a magic solution for appetite control or weight loss. It works best when integrated into a comprehensive approach that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some practical tips to harness berberine’s appetite-controlling potential:

  • Start with the Right Dosage – Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage of berberine for your specific goals and needs.
  • Maintain a Balanced Diet – Continue to focus on a nutritious diet rich in whole foods, fibre, and lean proteins. Berberine can enhance the effects of a healthy eating plan.
  • Regular Physical Activity – Combine berberine supplementation with regular exercise to optimise its weight management benefits.
  • Stress Management – Incorporate stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to further support appetite control.

In conclusion, berberine’s impact on appetite control and food cravings is multifaceted. It influences hormones, the gut microbiota, blood sugar levels, and stress, all of which play a role in the desire for food. While berberine can be a helpful component of a weight management strategy, a holistic approach that includes lifestyle and dietary choices is the most effective way to achieve lasting results in appetite control and overall health.

What Is Gut Microbiota?

Gut microbiota, often referred to as the gut microbiome, is a vast community of microorganisms living in your digestive tract, primarily the colon. These microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms, with bacteria being the most abundant and well-studied group. In fact, the gut is home to trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the gut microbiota, and they play a pivotal role in maintaining your overall health.

Importance of Gut Microbiota

The gut microbiota is crucial for various aspects of health and wellbeing –

  1. Digestion – Some gut bacteria help break down complex carbohydrates and fibers that the human body cannot digest on its own. This process not only aids in digestion but also provides nutrients for both the bacteria and the host.
  2. Nutrient Absorption – Gut microbiota contributes to the absorption of essential nutrients, such as certain vitamins and short-chain fatty acids.
  3. Immune Function – A significant portion of the body’s immune system is located in the gut. Gut microbiota helps maintain the balance of the immune system, protecting against harmful pathogens while preventing unnecessary inflammation.
  4. Metabolism – Gut bacteria play a role in regulating metabolism, influencing how the body stores and uses energy. Imbalances in the gut microbiota can contribute to metabolic disorders, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  5. Mood and Brain Health – There is a growing body of research suggesting a connection between the gut and the brain, known as the gut-brain axis. Gut microbiota can influence mood and cognitive function, and imbalances have been associated with conditions like anxiety, depression, and even neurodegenerative diseases.

Effects of Unhealthy Gut Microbiota

When the balance of the gut microbiota is disrupted or when harmful bacteria dominate the beneficial ones, it can lead to an unhealthy gut microbiota, a condition known as dysbiosis. Unhealthy gut microbiota can have various adverse effects on the body, including –

  1. Digestive Problems – Dysbiosis can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, gas, diarrhoea, or constipation.
  2. Immune System Dysfunction – An unhealthy gut can impair the immune system’s ability to defend against infections and may lead to chronic inflammation.
  3. Metabolic Disorders – Dysbiosis has been linked to metabolic disorders, including obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
  4. Mental Health Issues – Emerging research suggests that imbalances in the gut microbiota may contribute to mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
  5. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases – Dysbiosis has been associated with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  6. Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases – An unhealthy gut microbiota may elevate the risk of various chronic diseases, including heart disease and certain cancers.

Promoting a Healthy Gut Microbiota

Maintaining a healthy gut microbiota is essential for overall wellbeing. Here are some strategies to promote a balanced gut microbiota –

  • Diet – Consume a diverse range of plant-based foods rich in fibre, as they support the growth of beneficial bacteria. Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut can also introduce healthy probiotics.
  • Prebiotics and Probiotics – Consider prebiotic foods (like garlic, onions, and bananas) and probiotic supplements to nourish and introduce beneficial bacteria.
  • Stress Management – Practice stress reduction techniques like meditation and yoga to support the gut-brain axis.
  • Avoid Antibiotics When Unnecessary – Antibiotics can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria. Use them only when prescribed by a healthcare professional.

Healthy gut microbiota is critical for the human body, it supports digestion, nutrient absorption, immune function, metabolism, and has a direct impact on our mental health. An imbalance in the gut microbiota can lead to a range of health issues.

Ensuring we make healthy dietary choices, managing stress, and being cautious with toxins consumed will maintain a balanced and healthy gut microbiota, promoting overall health and a sense of wellbeing.

Natural Sources of Berberine

Berberine is more commonly obtained from supplements, however it can also be incorporated into the diet through specific plant-based foods.

Natural sources of berberine include:

  1. Goldenseal – The root of the goldenseal plant is one of the most concentrated sources of berberine. It can be used to make teas or tinctures.
  2. Oregon Grape – The root of the Oregon grape plant contains berberine and can be used in a similar way to goldenseal, often made into teas or extracts.
  3. Barberry – Barberry is a sour-tasting fruit that contains berberine. It can be used in cooking and food preparation.
  4. Chinese Goldthread – The root of the Chinese goldthread plant is a significant source of berberine, and it is used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
  5. Turmeric – While not as rich in berberine as the previous sources, turmeric contains a small amount of berberine and is known for its various health benefits. It is often used as a spice in cooking.

Berberine content in these natural sources can vary, and it isn’t as concentrated as levels found in berberine supplements.

If you choose to consume these foods for their berberine content, it’s important to include berberine supplements to increase daily dosage.

Berberine Tea

Berberine is also commonly drank as a tea. 

Simple and easy to make, berberine tea can be enjoyed with a little extra honey and lemon:


    • 1 teaspoon of dried Oregon grape or goldenseal root (both are rich in berberine)
    • 1 cup of boiling water


    1. Place the dried root in a teacup.
    2. Pour boiling water over it.
    3. Let it steep for 10-15 minutes.
    4. Strain and enjoy your berberine-infused tea. You can add honey or lemon for flavour if desired.

Potential Risks of Berberine Supplements

While berberine is generally safe when consumed from natural sources like food, supplements may pose some risks, especially when used improperly or in excessive amounts. Here are a few potential risks associated with berberine supplementation –

  1. Gastrointestinal Discomfort – High doses of berberine can lead to stomach upset, diarrhoea, and cramps. It’s essential to start with a low dosage and gradually increase it to minimise these side effects.
  2. Drug Interactions – Berberine may interact with certain medications, including those for diabetes, hypertension, and blood-thinning agents. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before adding berberine supplements to your routine, especially if you are taking prescription medications.
  3. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding – Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should exercise caution with berberine supplementation, as its safety in these cases is not well-established.
  4. Liver Function – Some animal studies suggest that very high doses of berberine may affect liver function, so it’s crucial to use berberine supplements responsibly.

The Best Berberine Supplements UK

Supports healthy blood sugar levels, reduces LDL cholesterol, and maintains healthy blood pressure.

Buy Now | £24.99 | Charava

This well-tolerated extract works at the cellular level to support healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range, even after eating a meal or sugary treat.

The 500mg dosage in Charava Berberine aligns to the researched dosage shown to support a healthy blood glucose response with each meal, among other benefits.

Releaf is an exclusive combination supplement, with a rich source of Berberine which activates the AMPK longevity gene — a key component of metabolic regulation.

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Combined with silymarin and chromium picolinate as a complex blend supplement, berberine significantly enhances cardiometabolic health.

Supports metabolism regulation and balances blood sugar levels.

Berberine 1000mg High Strength Supplement

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Berberine 1000mg High Strength Supplement – Each serving of 2 capsule provides 1,000mg of berberine with an extract ratio of 20:1 Providing 20,000mg. 400mg of Turmeric, 30mg of ginger, 10mg of black pepper are also added into your capsule. We did not stop there, we have also added vitamin B6, B3 and D3 to hit your daily recommended daily intake of 3 essential vitamins.

High strength supplement for regulating the metabolism and stabilising blood sugars 

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PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE Manufactured using the highest quality, pharmaceutical grade ingredients.
INGREDIENT TRACIBILITY AND PROVENANCE Supplement manufactured in the UK under GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) under License in an ISO accredited facility
LETTERBOX FRIENDLY Environmentally friendly minimalist slimline packaging which slips directly through your letterbox. No waiting in or visits to the post office
HIGH BIOAVAILABILTY PURITY AND POTENCY. Premium ingredients ensure that we are able to guarantee you the highest bioavailability to ensure maximum absorption
High strength, high purity blood sugar supplement. Berberine supports the immune system, assist with glucose metabolism, aid in healthy weight management and promote heart and gastrointestinal health.

Ranked #1 by the peer review site

Buy Now | £31.49 | Better Vits

✔ HIGH QUALITY INGREDIENTS: Naturally sourced, high-strength Berberine which comes from the Berberis Aristata.

✔ SUPPORTS METABOLISM: Berberine can help regular your metabolism for better efficiency and improve functioning of fat-regulation hormones.

✔ MANAGES BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS: Berberine helps manage blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance.

✔ SUPPORTS HEART HEALTH: Helps boost overall heart health and manage cholesterol levels.

✔ WHY BETTERVITS: We are one of the UK’s fastest growing supplement brands and for good reason. We deliver contemporary formulas which are locally made in the UK from start to finish. So you can rely on nutrition made with high quality ingredients and passion

Final Thoughts

Living in an age where aesthetics matter, even when we try to pretend they don’t, many of us chase the forever goal of keeping weight off. Particularly, as we age, and our metabolism slows, we look for new solutions to retaining that slim physique.

Where Ozempic is the drug of the elites, berberine is the supplement of the many.

Widely available, far more cost effective, and not depleting a critical drug for diabetics from pharmacies around the world, berberine is a sensible choice for those looking for a regulated metabolic system, stable blood sugar levels, and overall benefits to weight management and control.

Berberine’s versatility makes it a valuable addition to your biohacking toolkit, and one we definitely recommend taking a few periods throughout the year to support weight management goals when life gets a little more trying.

Who is James Kearslake?

Having been biohacking my mind and body long before it became fashionable, I’ve always lived by the benefits of nature’s resources to improve cognitive and physiological performance. Using my years of experience, products, and wellness practices, I’m now helping others elevate their cognitive performance to help build the life they want. I save you the time I’ve spent learning, so you can focus your time on building.

Proudly AI Supported

I proudly use AI to support development of my articles. As a heavily dyslexic person, writing can be a time consuming process with words often jumbled up and sentences the wrong way round. AI has become my crutch; allowing me to share the immense interest in my mind, while making content creation quicker and more accurate. AI is my benefit.

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Buy Now | £34.99

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