Is it safe to consume berberine supplements?

Berberine is a longstanding medicinal compound (around 3000 years ago) and can be found in several plants including European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and turmeric tree. Many take berberine for heart failure. Some people also apply berberine directly to the skin to treat burns and drip it into the eye to treat trachoma, a bacterial infection that often causes blindness.

According to the results of several studies, berberine is very effective for:
1. Diabetes.
There are several studies studying berberine that show that taking 500 mg of berberine 2-3 times a day for up to 3 months can control blood sugar as effectively as metformin or rosiglitazone. Causing berberine is believed to lower sugar levels in diabetics, albeit slightly.

2. High Cholesterol.
Apart from studies on diabetes, berberine has also been studied in people who have high cholesterol. Taking 500 mg of berberine twice daily for 3 months seems to reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (bad fats), and reduce triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol. Of course, for further effectiveness, further study is needed.

The effectiveness of berberine is also believed to help problems:
1. Burns.
2. Congestive heart failure (CHF).
3. Diarrhea.
4. Glaucoma.
5. Heartburn, but less effective in curing ulcers in people with stomach ulcers.
6. Hepatitis, more towards relieving hepatitis B or C.
7. Liver disease.
8. Symptoms of menopause.
9. Metabolic syndrome.
10. Overweight, reduce body weight in obese people about 5 pounds when taking berberine for 12 weeks.
11. Osteoporosis, berberine can reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
12. An ovarian disorder known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
13. Radiation injuries, some of the injuries caused by radiation to patients being treated for cancer.
14. Low blood platelet count (thrombocytopenia).
15. Trachoma, berberine may be useful in treating trachoma, a common cause of blindness in developing countries.
Other conditions.

The way berberine works according to study results is to cause a stronger heartbeat. And in some studies it might kill bacteria.

Is it safe to consume berberine supplements?
From several studies, Berberine is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults for short-term use when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. However, there are special cautions and warnings while using berberine:

1. Children: It is UNSAFE to give berberine to a newborn. Berberine can indeed prevent the liver from releasing bilirubin quite quickly, so it seems to be good for preventing jaundice in babies which is caused by the large amount of bilirubin in the blood. But on the one hand berberine can trigger a newborn with severe jaundice to develop kernicterus (a rare brain damage that can occur in some cases of infants with severe jaundice).


2. Pregnancy and breastfeeding: It is NOT SAFE to take berberine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Researchers believe that berberine can cross the placenta or be transferred to the baby via breast milk and could harm the fetus or infant by triggering kernicterus.

3. Diabetes: Berberine is believed to lower blood sugar, but theoretically, berberine could cause blood sugar to be too low if consumed by diabetics who also control their blood sugar by taking insulin or other drugs.

4. Low blood pressure sufferers: Berberine might be able to lower blood pressure. If you have low blood pressure, it’s a good idea to avoid taking berberine.