No, it actually helps with fatty liver because it increases thermogenesis (heat production) which decreases fat cells.
Is it an appetite suppressant?
No, it doesn’t affect appetite. As I mentioned before, it increases thermogenesis, which boosts how much fat you’re burning. But it does help with insulin so it may decrease sugar cravings.
If berberine increases insulin, can it cause hypoglycemia?
Yes, that’s why it’s been used to treat diabetes. When you increase insulin secretion in the pancreas, it can potentially cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). That’s one of the reasons we need to do more research; many of the studies didn’t look at the side effects.
What are some symptoms of hypoglycemia?
If it’s really low, you could pass out. But before that happens, you might feel shaky, clammy, and hungry. I don’t think it would cause a seizure, but if somebody is already taking a glucose-lowering medication, this could throw that into overdrive. It can also interfere with other herbal supplements (like glutathione) which can also help lower blood pressure or others (like glutamine) that regulate blood sugar. Also, if you are taking any herbs or supplements that slow down blood clotting, this could increase the risk of bleeding. Again, this is why it’s very important to consult your doctor before starting any kind of supplement.
How does berberine affect gut health? Does it interfere with probiotics?
Berberine is not an antibiotic, but it has some antibacterial effects. So if somebody’s taking probiotics and taking a high dose of berberine, then the supplement could kill a lot of the bacteria in their probiotics.
What is a safe dose of berberine and how often should you take it?
I recommend people take 500 milligrams three times a day for up to two years. You run into problems when you start overdosing. People think that because it’s an herbal supplement, they can take as much as they want and the more they take, the better. Again, this is why being supervised by a physician is very important. With all the research that’s been published, we still don’t really know enough about the supplements’ side effects and what happens if you take too much.
So, what’s the bottom line: is it “nature’s Ozempic” or just another weight loss snake oil pill?