Focus on: Berberine

What is berberine?

Berberine is a compound found in a variety of plants such as goldenseal, barberry and Oregon grape. While berberine has been a mainstay of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, research has validated its biochemical benefits more recently. 

What is berberine used for?

While there are other conditions that may benefit from therapeutic use of berberine, today we will focus on my three favorite conditions for using berberine:

  • High cholesterol
  • Weight loss
  • Insulin resistance


  • Knowing *your* numbers (ie completing lab work) is an important step to ensuring you are using berberine safely and effectively for your body’s needs. 
  • Berberine is most effective when coupled with targeted nutritional and lifestyle shifts. It is not intended to be a standalone intervention.

Hyperlipidemia/high cholesterol:

Berberine’s heart health benefits are many – and measurable. When I use berberine for heart-health benefits, we take a “test, retest + don’t guess” approach. 


We test to confirm berberine is the appropriate solution for the individual. 

We integrate berberine along with targeted nutritional and lifestyle shifts. 

We repeat labs to check the effectiveness of our work – ie to confirm labs are moving in the desired direction.

How does berberine help heart health?

Berberine has been shown to lower LDL production, also known as “bad” cholesterol. Berberine also lowers triglycerides. Elevated LDL and triglycerides increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Berberine partially works its magic by decreasing the production of LDL cholesterol and promoting clearance of LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.

Elevated inflammation – something I routinely measure with labs such as hsCRP and LpPLA2 – also increases one’s risk of a cardiovascular disease by increasing plaque build up within arteries. 

Berberine’s anti-inflammatory properties commonly lead to lower inflammatory markers as well. (I often pair berberine with a well-absorbed form of curcumin and a quality omega-3 supplement for maximum anti-inflammatory benefits.)

Weight loss

Many people who I work with have been struggling with weight loss for years or even decades, convinced there must be a root cause but unable to find answers.

 Berberine supports weight loss in three ways, through:

    1. Stabilizing blood sugar
    2. Promoting use of fat as fuel 
    3. Increasing GLP-1 production, acting as a “natural Ozempic”

Berberine works to stabilize blood sugar in a few different ways, primarily by increasing the activity of an enzyme known as AMPK and improving insulin sensitivity. 

A stable blood sugar means you experience less cravings, you produce less cortisol (which promotes “fat storage”) and the same amount of calories will last longer. 

Activation of the enzyme AMPK also enhances fat burning and energy expenditure thereby “raising” your metabolism and contributing to weight loss. Berberine interferes with the proliferation and formation of fat cells (aka “adipose cells”). 

Berberine also increases our natural production of GLP-1, a peptide hormone, acting as a “natural Ozempic”. 

GLP-1 supports weight loss through increasing your satiety hormones, decreasing your hunger hormones and slowing the emptying of your stomach. When your stomach has food in it, the stretch receptors in your stomach communicate to your brain, further promoting a feeling of fullness.

Insulin sensitivity/resistance

Decreased insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance plays an important role in weight gain, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, infertility and PCOS. 

Taking berberine can help combat insulin resistance by activating AMPK, the enzyme mentioned above. In addition to enhancing fat burning, AMPK helps increase glucose uptake in cells, reducing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity. AMPK also increases the activity of GLUT4, a transporter that moves glucose from the bloodstream into cells, reducing and stabilizing your blood sugar. 

Furthermore, berberine has been found to have controlling properties in how certain genes work, especially those that help the body use insulin, take in glucose, and manage insulin signals. 

Berberine’s anti-inflammatory properties can help lower chronic inflammation levels, which are often associated with insulin resistance.

*This blog is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical care. 

Wondering if berberine would help resolve your health conundrums? Consider scheduling a Health Audit and taking a “test, don’t guess” approach to your health!