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Best Berberine Supplement

Some say berberine is better than some prescription medications for type 2 diabetes. But are these claims realistic? Find out here.

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2022
Best Berberine Supplement

Nine of the top ten causes of death in the United States in 2020 were diseases. Even outside of the COVID-19 pandemic (where COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in 2020), preventable diseases kill hundreds of thousands of people annually and cause years of pain and suffering for hundreds of thousands more. About 9% of all Americans have type 2 diabetes, and nearly half of all American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, according to a 2019 report.

Berberine might play a role in preventing or slowing the progression of both heart disease and diabetes. It’s a relatively new golden yellow supplement with big promises, but with such vital parts of your health on the line, it’s critical to find one that follows through. In this guide, we’ll investigate the pros and cons of adding berberine to your daily diet, explore the safety and quality measures of different supplements, and provide our top seven picks for the best berberine supplement in 2022.

If you’re in a hurry, check out our top recommendations below.

Summary of recommendations

Our Top Picks

Double Wood Berberine

Double Wood offers a simple, quality Berberine supplement that contains 500mg of pure berberine HCl.

Double Wood includes a streamlined formula that’s soy-, gluten-, and GMO-free. Their products are third-party tested and made in a GMP-certified facility. Take 20% off your first order when you sign up for the newsletter.

Berberine: our top considerations

Cost

Winner: Puritan’s Pride

Determining the cost of a supplement requires more than looking at the listed price. Whether or not a company offers subscription or bulk deals, shipping costs, the number of servings, and the price per serving of a supplement all determine how much you’ll pay. We also consider a supplement’s customer service policies for things like returns when evaluating a supplement’s cost, so you can rest assured knowing you can get your money back in case it doesn’t agree with you.

Puritan’s Pride has centered their brand on their unique way of getting you extremely low prices, and their berberine supplement is no exception. For every bottle you purchase, you’ll get two of the same size for free. While it looks like they charge roughly as much as competitors, slicing this price into thirds reveals fantastic savings. Plus, each bottle contains six times the servings. When you can join their subscription program for an additional 5% off, and they have the longest return window on our list at 90 days while still getting high-quality ingredients, we see no reason not to try.

Safety

Winner: Double Wood

Because it has so many powerful benefits, berberine also has some powerful drawbacks. It can be rough on the GI system, and there haven’t been many studies on its long-term safety. A berberine supplement that’s been through extensive independent third-party testing is a supplement that will be safer than most. Likewise, we look to ensure it was manufactured in a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP or cGMP) compliant facility registered with the FDA. A company will earn an extra nod from us when they make their testing results easy for you to access, too.

Double Wood makes their GMP-compliant facility status known right off the bat, and they include links to both a certificate of analysis and third-party testing results near the top of their berberine supplement’s webpage. They clearly and simply explain how often you should take it to avoid the worst side effects, and they provide allergen notices, contraindications with other medications, and other safety tips. Your safety is always front-and-center, giving you ample opportunity to decide for yourself if it’ll be the right fit for you.

Ingredients

Winner: Renue By Science

Most berberine supplements are made from pure berberine hydrochloride (HCl). Others generally use plants like Oregon grape, barberry, and goldenseal to supply you with adequate amounts of berberine. However, depending on what your goal is, there are other ingredients that supplement manufacturers can include to help you rocket toward better health. We look at the quality of all ingredients and their sources, as well as additives, dosing information, and whether or not ingredient amounts are labeled when determining which supplement has the best ingredients.

Renue By Science wins this category because it adds sunflower lecithin to create a liposome around the berberine, effectively increasing how much berberine makes it into your bloodstream. It also stays in your blood for up to 46% longer, meaning you’ll have more time to absorb berberine’s benefits. Renue By Science also provides LIPO Berberine’s certificate of analysis directly on their website, which shows that (as of August 2022) they actually provide slightly more berberine per capsule than is listed on the supplement facts. They don’t compromise when it comes to ingredient quality and sourcing, ensuring there are never any preservatives, additives, or unnecessary artificial ingredients.

Efficacy

Winner: Renue By Science

Clinical research has reliably shown that berberine is extremely difficult for the body to digest. Less than 1% of all berberine that we take orally ends up circulating in our bloodstream. However, some studies suggest there are techniques or additional ingredients that might improve how much berberine we can take in at a given time. We consider the method of administration, dosing, and other ingredients that could improve efficacy in our research.

Renue By Science appears to have cracked the code to berberine absorption. Adding a liposome — a sphere-shaped vesicle made of a lipid bilayer — to fat-soluble supplements allows our bodies to recognize and process them considerably faster, meaning that more nutrients make it through. This is the case in their LIPO Berberine. A 2017 study showed that liposomal berberine is stored, absorbed, and used sixteen times more than berberine on its own, meaning that there’s more of it to help you for longer. And while Renue By Science has a considerably lower dose than our other top picks at 150mg per capsule, the fact that you’re taking in sixteen times more levels the playing field.

Convenience

Winner: Puritan’s Pride

Berberine can be tricky to take without affecting your daily routine. If you eat it on an empty stomach or take too high of a dose, you’ll likely have stomach cramps, diarrhea, or nausea. Most recommend taking a smaller amount multiple times a day to side-step these side effects, but it’s easy to forget a dose (and then struggle to remember if you took it or not) when you have to take a pill multiple times a day. A convenient berberine supplement is easy to take, has no set requirements around when or how you need to take it, and provides everything you need in one go.

Puritan’s Pride is our most convenient berberine supplement. You’ll still need to take three pills daily if you want 1,500mg worth, but the fact that they are in 500mg capsules means that you can adjust your dose as needed. This flexibility is essential when you’re trying to find the right dose of berberine for you. Of course, multiple of our top picks come in 500mg capsules. The fact that you can get three bottles for the price of one (or six for the price of two) is Puritan’s Pride’s biggest strength, as it means you’ll never have to worry about running out and re-ordering every month.

How our top recommendations compare

To help you break down the differences between our top products, we’ve put together a chart mapping all of their most important features. Check it out below.

  Double Wood Puritan’s Pride PureBulk Renue By Science Nutricost Oregon’s Wild Harvest Thorne
Cost $20 $35 $18 $50 $25 $21 $37
Number of servings 60 180 60 90 60 30 30
Cost per serving $0.33 $0.19 $0.30 $0.56 $0.42 $0.70 $1.23
Dose 500mg 500mg 500mg 150mg 600mg 1,140mg 1,000mg
Active form Berberine HCl Berberine HCl Berberine HCl Berberine HCl Berberine HCl Organic Oregon Grape root Berberine HCl
Vegan?
Yes
 
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
 
Subscription program?
Yes
Yes
     
Yes
Yes
Return policy 30 days 90 days 30 days 30 days 90 days 60 days 60 days

What is berberine?

Berberine is an alkaloid found in many plants, including goldenseal, Oregon grapes, and European barberry. It has a long history in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine and an equally long list of processes it might support within the framework of contemporary medicine.

Berberine has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It may play a role in defending the body against harmful bacterial overgrowth. Researchers know it impacts some medical conditions, such as:

One study even showed that berberine has an antitumor effect against a few types of cancer. However, that’s just one study, and medical experts must do more research before making a finite claim. At this time, most research has revolved around berberine’s impacts on diabetes and cholesterol management.

How do berberine supplements work?

Most of berberine’s physiological effects are still under investigation. However, there is exciting potential in how berberine works.

Berberine activates AMPK, the primary enzyme that monitors and regulates our cellular energy levels. Increasing the amount of AMPK in our bodies gets nutrients where they need to be, effectively controlling our metabolism. And AMPK is thought to be a tumor suppressor, essentially starving cells while they attempt to form cancerous tumors (though after cancer has developed, AMPK can sometimes promote tumor growth instead).

A 2022 study investigating how berberine works as an antimicrobial agent found that it slows bacteria’s metabolisms, stops them from creating new cell walls and amino acids, and lowers their antioxidant levels. Essentially, it looks like it uses many of the things that keep you healthy against unhealthy bacteria. Interestingly, berberine appears to have an anti-apoptotic effect on heart cells, which can keep the cells from dying prematurely.

Berberine can also decrease inflammation, particularly in the liver. Most studies look at berberine’s effects on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, but inflammation is also a critical part of conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

One of the few things we can almost conclusively say berberine supports is diabetic care. Specifically, it improves insulin resistance (meaning your cells can use insulin more effectively, leading to less glucose storage and lower blood glucose levels). According to a 2021 study, it can slow the progression from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes. The study also found that supplemental berberine improved the biodiversity and structure of rat’s gut microbiomes and strengthened cells in the intestines. This is just one animal study, but it points to how berberine might play a considerable role in creating a healthy digestive system.

Another significant benefit of berberine is its protection against heart disease. While we don’t know for sure if it can stop heart failure, we do know that it can decrease the likelihood of:

  • Arrhythmias
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms
  • Cardiac hypertrophy (a step toward heart failure)
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Strokes

It also plays a role in decreasing high cholesterol and high blood pressure, supporting good heart health from every angle.

Historically, berberine has been used to treat diarrhea from bacterial infections and noninfectious conditions. (Ironically, diarrhea and stomach pain are sometimes side effects when you start taking berberine.) Much of the research on berberine’s GI effects is still in progress. Still, most studies have shown that berberine may be a potent anti-diarrheal agent, playing into current research on its impact on intestinal and gut microbiome health.

Clinical studies use a dose range between 900mg and 2,000mg daily, but one study found that high cholesterol levels start to improve at 300mg daily. In everyday life, most people report seeing success with three 500mg capsules daily (1,500mg total).

Are berberine supplements safe?

Generally speaking, berberine is a safe supplement for healthy adults. There aren’t a lot of side effects associated with berberine, but you might experience some stomach upset when getting started. Specifically, berberine can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Headache
  • Constipation (particularly when you stop taking it)
  • Rashes (though this is relatively rare)

The more berberine you take, the more likely you are to experience these side effects. Higher doses also mean you might feel stronger side effects for a longer time. If you know you have a sensitive stomach, starting on a low dose of berberine and slowly increasing how much you take over time might make sense. As with any supplement, talk to your doctor before adding berberine to your daily regimen.

There aren’t many studies looking at how well berberine works long-term, nor are there many investigating any potential safety hazards associated with taking berberine for years. The longest-running studies looked at berberine as a dietary supplement for colorectal cancer over two years and found only a few adverse reactions, but pay attention to your body. Because we don’t know what could happen, taking berberine long-term is not typically recommended.

Berberine is an herbal supplement that the FDA doesn’t regulate the same way as food and prescription medication. It can’t be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, and everything else that research explores but hasn’t confirmed. Always talk to your doctor before trying a new supplement, and don’t stop taking prescription medication to try berberine without their approval.

Who shouldn’t take berberine

Berberine interacts with several liver enzymes called cytochromes (specifically CYP2D6, CYP2C9, and CYP3A4, all of which come from cytochrome P450). These enzymes break down medications and help our bodies build cholesterol and certain steroids. While berberine isn’t the only supplement that interacts with cytochrome P450, it’s important to note because it can influence how much of your prescription medication gets absorbed. If your medicine has a warning not to eat grapefruit while taking it, you shouldn’t take berberine with it either. (This is why it’s essential to check with your doctor before starting berberine, as the list of potential cytochrome P450 interactions is quite long.)

Several other medications interact poorly with berberine.

Immunosuppressive medication

Tacrolimus, cyclosporin, and other oral chemotherapy drugs like bosutinib. Some studies have found that berberine has a slight immunosuppressive effect, particularly on T cells, a kind of white blood cell central to immune system functioning.

Macrolide antibiotics

Azithromycin, clarithromycin, erythromycin, and roxithromycin. Several studies show that berberine can enhance the effects of antibiotics, making it useful for treatment-resistant infections. But with its potential to slow T cell development, berberine could also restrict your body’s ability to heal itself.

Phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors

Sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), and avanafil (Stendra). These medications are vasodilators, which increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. Berberine also lowers your blood pressure, so combining the two can dangerously lower your blood pressure levels. You might take them for hypertension, erectile dysfunction, or an enlarged prostate.

If you have diabetes and take insulin, be careful while taking berberine. Since it can lower your insulin resistance, you might need to use less insulin than before to stabilize your blood sugar. Keep an eye out for low or dropping blood sugar levels, as hypoglycemia can be extremely dangerous. It’s best to check in with your endocrinologist beforehand if you want to try berberine supplements.

Berberine is particularly unsafe for pregnant and lactating individuals. Babies and fetuses that ingest berberine are significantly more likely to have jaundice — a condition in which the liver doesn’t function as expected, leading to a buildup of bilirubin and jaundice’s hallmark yellow skin — and jaundice-induced brain damage. Having too much bilirubin build up for too long can induce a condition called kernicterus, a rare disorder in which bilirubin is deposited in the brain, leading to vision and hearing loss and cerebral palsy, which may be permanent. Likewise, children under 18 should not take berberine supplements.

Double Wood Supplements Berberine

Best overall

Pros

  • Vegan formula
  • Soy-, gluten-, and GMO-free
  • Provides third-party test results and certificate of analysis
  • Manufactured in a GMP-certified facility
  • Free shipping on all orders
  • Subscribe & save up to 15%
  • Save 20% on your first order when you sign up for their newsletter

Cons

  • Dosage recommendations can get complex
  • Contains microcrystalline cellulose

Double Wood creates a straightforward, simple, and extremely high-quality berberine supplement. There isn’t much to it, but there doesn’t have to be. Double Wood combines the best traits of a successful supplement — a relatively low cost, extremely transparent testing and safety measures, and a dose high enough to make a difference in small enough capsules to provide flexibility — with almost no downsides.

Each capsule contains 500mg of pure berberine HCl, and Double Wood encourages you to take anywhere from 2-4 capsules daily, each three hours apart with food. There are 60 capsules in every bottle, so depending on how many you take daily, you might find that a bottle lasts anywhere from two weeks to one month. If you think you’ll need closer to 2,000mg of berberine daily, we’d recommend purchasing the Double Pack, which ships two bottles of berberine at a slightly reduced price.

One of the biggest reasons that Double Wood stands out as our top pick for berberine supplements is because of their commitment to transparency. Each capsule contains only berberine and microcrystalline cellulose, a plant-based filler. You won’t have to look far to find out that they were made in GMP-compliant facilities in the U.S., and their allergen notice is prominently displayed. They also link directly to a certificate of analysis and independent third-party testing results on their webpage.

Pricing

Double Wood sells their berberine capsules at several different price points depending on the number of bottles you’re ordering and whether or not you’re joining their subscription program. Double and triple packs have a bigger discount up front, but you’ll save less per order when joining a subscription program (10% as opposed to 15% for a single bottle). Ultimately, you do still save a significant amount by bundling or subscribing — or both. We’ve put together a quick chart to help you figure out how much you’ll pay.

  Cost (one time) Cost (subscription)
One bottle $19.95 $16.96
Double pack $34.95 $31.46
Triple pack $49.95 $44.96

Subscriptions are all processed through the third-party service Recharge. You can choose how frequently you’d like to have a new bottle delivered:

  • 15 days
  • 30 days
  • 60 days
  • 90 days
  • 120 days

All orders ship for free from Double Wood and generally arrive within five business days. If you aren’t happy with your berberine supplement, you can get a refund even if you’ve already opened the bottle. After placing the order, you’ll have 30 days to initiate a refund, and you’ll need to ship the bottle back whether or not you’ve opened it. Despite their free shipping policy, you will need to pay for return shipping yourself. Double Wood will still accept refunds after the 30 days are up, but they won’t guarantee it; after 30 days, they’ll provide refunds only at their discretion.

Puritan’s Pride Berberine

Best budget pick

Pros

  • All supplements are buy one, get two free
  • 500mg dose per capsule
  • Berberine made from Indian barberry
  • Flexible dosing to meet your needs
  • Made in GMP-certified facilities
  • Subscribe and save 5%
  • Free shipping on orders over $49

Cons

  • No way to order just one bottle
  • Small amounts of additives (magnesium stearate and silica)

Puritan’s Pride’s combination of high-quality products and consistent bargain pricing makes them stand out from the competition, and their berberine supplements are no exception to this rule.

Each bottle of Puritan’s Pride’s Berberine contains 60 capsules of 500mg berberine. However, because you get bottles in sets of three for every order, Puritan’s Pride’s berberine capsules allow for much more flexibility in your dosing schedule. You can take anywhere from 500mg to 2,000mg daily without worrying about whether or not you’ll run out in less than a month.

Puritan’s Pride also offers berberine mixed with several other ingredients (such as turmeric and black pepper, cinnamon, and silymarin), so you can pick a combination that’ll support your specific health goals if you’re focused on decreasing inflammation, increasing metabolism, or supporting liver health. However, we think that their pure berberine capsules are best for most people.

These supplements include a small amount of magnesium stearate and silica, which are common fillers. They won’t hurt your health, but if you’re looking for a completely clean supplement, this one might not quite fit the bill.

All Puritan’s Pride supplements are manufactured in GMP-certified facilities and tested multiple times throughout their creation. However, they don’t specify whether the supplements are tested in-house or by independent third parties, and they don’t provide any test results.

Pricing

Puritan’s Pride uses one of the most unusual pricing strategies in the field. Every single order — no matter what it is you’re getting — comes in sets of three bottles. These supplements already have reasonable prices, but you don’t have to do anything extra to take advantage of a bulk deal. The chart below lays out exactly how much you’ll pay in different circumstances.

  Cost (one-time) Cost per bottle (one-time) Cost with subscription
Buy 1, get 2 free $34.49 $11.49 $32.77
Buy 2, get 4 free $68.98 $11.49 $65.53

Joining their subscription program only saves you 5%, but it does unlock free shipping for orders of $30 or more. Otherwise, you can get free shipping when purchasing $49 or more of Puritan’s Pride products. If you don’t quite meet that $49 requirement, you’ll be charged $4.95 or $4.99, depending on your state or U.S. territory.

You can try Puritan’s Pride’s berberine supplement risk-free. Puritan’s Pride offers a 90-day money-back guarantee, meaning that you can try it and return it as long as it’s within three months of purchase. That said, you can’t have tried all three (or six) bottles; if you opt for a return, Puritan’s Pride will only offer a full refund on the first opened bottle. You’ll need to include them all in a return package when you send it back.

If you’re curious about what the rest of Puritan’s Pride catalog holds, check out our full review.

PureBulk Berberine HCl Powder

Best powder

Pros

  • Strong scientific evidence directly on the webpage
  • Tested by independent third parties
  • Certificate of analysis available upon request
  • Made in GMP-certified facilities
  • Multiple sizes and forms
  • Extremely personalizable dosage
  • Vegan options available
  • Military, teacher, and first responder discounts
  • Free shipping on orders over $49
  • Save 10% at checkout with code INNERBODY

Cons

  • Number of servings per size inaccessible
  • Difficult to dose without extra equipment
  • No subscription program

Sometimes, 30 servings aren’t the right amount. You might know that you love berberine and want to buy it in bulk without paying hand over fist; you might want to try it without worrying about scheduling a return if it doesn’t agree with you. This is where PureBulk excels: you can buy their Berberine HCl powder (made exclusively from Phellodendron amurense bark) in seven different sizes, from 25g all the way up to 15kg.

You’ll have to do the math to figure out how many servings are in each bag of powder, but PureBulk recommends you take 500mg daily. You’ll need to have a kitchen scale or an extremely accurate scoop at the ready to ensure you’re taking a consistent amount every time. However, because it’s a powder, you can personalize your dose to exactly the right amount that works for you.

Not only does PureBulk have a wide range of sizes available, but they also take several paragraphs to explain what berberine does, what you might expect, and when to avoid the supplement. They cite 15 different scientific studies and reliable sources, so you can click through and read the studies for yourself.

All PureBulk products are made in GMP-certified facilities and are independently tested by a qualified third-party laboratory. If you want to read the test results, PureBulk provides a link for you to request a copy of the certificate of analysis.

Pricing

PureBulk offers their berberine supplement in ten sizes and three forms so you can get as much — or as little — as you need. These include:

  • 25g powder: $12
  • 50g powder: $21
  • 100g powder: $38
  • 250g powder: $83
  • 500g powder: $150
  • 1kg powder: $270
  • 120 capsules: $18.25
  • 300 capsules: $39
  • 120 vegan capsules: $19.50
  • 300 vegan capsules: $42

PureBulk also offers a true bulk option of 15kg for $2,040.50. This berberine powder comes in a large drum and is best suited for situations where you’re sharing your berberine with many other people. (15kg will likely start to lose its efficacy before you can finish it yourself.)

Because they sell their berberine powder in such large quantities, PureBulk doesn’t offer any subscription programs. And while PureBulk can accept PayPal as a payment method for many of their items, if you’re buying berberine, you’ll have to use a debit or credit card.

If you’re in the military, a teacher, or a first responder, PureBulk offers a small discount. You’ll need to verify your identity through VerifyPass, a third-party platform, and upon approval, you’ll get a one-time discount code valid for 24 hours. To use another discount, you’ll need to repeat this process to get another code.

PureBulk offers free shipping on orders over $49 going to the United States unless your order contains a bulk tub (20kg or 25kg) or if a heavy parcel (3kg or more per individual item or 10kg total) is going to Alaska or Hawaii. Otherwise, shipping costs vary depending on where you live and how much you’re purchasing.

If you decide berberine isn’t right for you (or find out you don’t have a kitchen scale like you thought), you have 90 days from when it first shipped to return your powder or capsules to PureBulk. However, be aware that the berberine must be returned unopened, and you’ll need to pay for return shipping.

Renue By Science LIPO Berberine

Most bioavailable

Pros

  • Liposomal form means the body absorbs significantly more
  • Allergen-free
  • Triple-tested with certificates of analysis posted on webpage
  • Made in cGMP- and ISO-certified facilities
  • Free shipping to the U.S. on orders over $50

Cons

  • Low dose
  • Expensive
  • No subscription program

Known mostly for their excellent NAD+ supplements, Renue By Science steps out of their usual arena with LIPO Berberine. This supplement adds a liposomal barrier — two phospholipid layers arranged in a sphere — to a traditional berberine supplement. Because our bodies use phospholipid bilayers to create our cells, it notices, bonds to, and processes the liposomal supplement much faster and more effectively than if it just went through your digestive system.

This liposomal technology is particularly important for a berberine supplement. Less than 1% of any given oral berberine supplement gets put to use in the body, but one study found that berberine is distributed through more tissues and circulates better in the blood in a liposomal form. Your body will get more use out of this berberine supplement than alternatives.

However, the dose you’ll find in each serving of LIPO Berberine is considerably less than competitors. Each capsule (equivalent to one serving) only contains 150mg of berberine. You can triple the dose (to 450mg) and still only need to order one bottle a month since there are 90 capsules per bottle. Still, the increased absorption from its liposomal format means it’s harder to pin down exactly how much of it you’re getting and using.

Renue By Science has a fantastic track record with testing and quality assurance. Not only do they have high standards for the products they release, but they also include a copy of the certificate of analysis directly on the webpage. Without having to ask, you can see exactly how an independent third party scored LIPO Berberine — and, interestingly, the batch at time of writing contained 167mg per capsule, 17mg more than is listed on the label. Be sure to check out the certificate of analysis to see if LIPO Berberine has as much — or more — berberine than is listed.

Pricing

Renue By Science only sells LIPO Berberine in one size and form: a bottle of 90 capsules for $49.95. They don’t offer any bundle deals or a subscription program, so you’ll have to remember to order a new bottle once every three months or so before you run out.

If you order more than $50 — by adding literally anything else from their catalog alongside one bottle of LIPO Berberine — you’ll unlock free USPS First Class shipping to the United States. Renue also offers free shipping to the United Kingdom and Australia (orders over $100), as well as most other countries (orders over $250). If you don’t want to add anything else to your purchase, there’s a flat shipping charge:

  • United States: $4.95
  • United Kingdom: $11
  • Australia: $22
  • Most other countries: $29

Renue By Science will not ship to Mexico, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, or Dubai, but they will send their products to any other country.

There’s a 30-day return window from the day of purchase in which you can send your unopened, unused LIPO Berberine in its original packaging. You’ll get a refund minus the initial cost of shipping, and you will have to pay for return shipping.

Nutricost Berberine Capsules

Most potent

Pros

  • Highest dose per capsule
  • Inexpensive
  • Berberine made from Indian barberry bark
  • Made in GMP-certified facility
  • Third-party tested
  • Free shipping on orders over $59 to the U.S.

Cons

  • No subscription program
  • Contains additives (magnesium stearate and microcrystalline cellulose)

Like many of our other top picks, Nutricost has an extensive catalog and a history of well-performing supplements. Their Berberine Capsules continue this trend, offering 600mg of berberine in every capsule.

While its recommended dose is a little low (one capsule), there are 60 capsules per bottle. Theoretically, this means you can double up your serving size and use one bottle monthly instead of every other month. These berberine capsules remain inexpensive even if you double your dose. Plus, only needing to take one capsule daily is significantly more convenient.

This berberine supplement also includes magnesium stearate and microcrystalline cellulose, so if you’re looking for a completely clean supplement, you may want to look elsewhere. However, these two ingredients are relatively common in supplements, so it’s not anything alarming; instead, it just means there’s a little more than just berberine inside.

Nutricost’s supplements are all manufactured in a GMP-certified facility and are tested for purity, potency, and quality by a third party.

Pricing

Like their supplements, Nutricost keeps their purchasing options simple and streamlined. They only offer one size bottle containing 60 servings, and no subscription programs or bulk deals exist. One bottle costs $24.95 through Nutricost’s website.

You can get free shipping in the US if you order $59 or more worth of products with Nutricost products. Otherwise, standard shipping costs $7; prices vary for international orders. And if you aren’t happy with your berberine capsules, reach out to Nutricost, and they’ll get your refund started. They know that not every supplement works for every person, so you can get your money back (minus the cost of shipping and handling) within 60 days of purchase.

Oregon’s Wild Harvest Oregon Grape Capsules

Best from a natural source

Pros

  • Vegan, non-GMO formula
  • Made exclusively from Oregon grape root
  • Tested in-house for quality and purity
  • Bottled in-house according to USDA standards
  • Subscribe and save 15%
  • Free shipping on orders over $50

Cons

  • No berberine content listed (yet)
  • Three capsules per serving

Oregon grape root is one of the best plant sources of berberine. It’s widely used in oral and topical formulas, addressing everything from an upset stomach to irritation-related rashes. Oregon’s Wild Harvest bundled Oregon grape root into a capsule to capitalize on the plant’s berberine content, providing you with a supplement made exclusively from natural sources.

Each capsule contains 1,140mg of organic Oregon grape root and nothing else. You’ll need to take three capsules daily for one serving, and there are 30 servings (90 capsules) per container.

The biggest downside of this supplement is that there’s no listed berberine content. Similar plants like barberry and goldenseal have anywhere from 0.5% to 13% berberine, putting the estimated berberine range per serving between 5mg and 150mg. This is relatively low, but you may find that other antioxidants and phytochemicals in the Oregon grape root make up the difference. Oregon’s Wild Harvest is aware of this flaw and have said they’re actively working on testing and measuring the berberine content per serving.

Oregon’s Wild Harvest performs every step of their manufacturing process in-house, from growing the herbs and packaging to testing and shipping. They keep their scientists up-to-date on the latest testing and research standards, verify quality and potency on every batch, and process their herbs in facilities compliant with USDA standards.

Pricing

These Organic Oregon Grape Capsules are sold in one size, containing 90 capsules (30 servings). You can purchase it as a one-time order or join Oregon’s Wild Harvest’s subscription program, run through the third-party service Recharge. Joining the program will save you 15% on every order. For each bottle, you’ll pay the following prices:

  • One-time order: $20.95
  • Subscribe & save: $17.81

Recharge is a remarkably flexible service that allows you to choose exactly when you want your new bottle delivered and how often. You can also skip refills and cancel the subscription altogether with little hassle. All subscriptions automatically refill once a month, but it’s easy to space it out (or push deliveries closer together) depending on your needs.

Free shipping kicks in when you spend $50 or more. If you’re just looking for one (or two) bottles of Organic Oregon Grape Capsules, you’ll be charged depending on how much you order and where it’s shipping. On average, expect to pay about $6 in shipping (slightly less if you live on the West Coast and slightly more if you live on the East Coast).

If you aren’t happy with your order, you can return it for a refund or exchange within 60 days of purchase. The amount you’ll get back (or in credit) depends on the quality of what you return, so if you want a full refund, send your supplements back unopened in the original container.

Thorne Berberine

Pros

  • 1,000mg of berberine in every serving
  • Gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free
  • Manufactured in NSF and cGMP-certified facilities
  • Tested four times
  • Free shipping within the contiguous U.S.
  • Subscribe and save up to 20%

Cons

  • Higher dose capsules may cause GI distress
  • On the expensive side

Thorne’s Berberine (formerly known as Berberine-500) is a clinically refined, potent berberine supplement. If you know you’ll want to take a higher dose of berberine daily, this may be your best option.

One serving of Thorne’s berberine is two capsules, which contain 1,000mg of berberine made from Indian barberry extract. Each bottle holds 60 capsules (30 servings). This provides substantial flexibility while ensuring you’ll have enough berberine to get you through the month. That said, if you anticipate needing more than 1,000mg daily, you may want to order more than one bottle at a time or join Thorne’s subscription program.

Thorne also offers a second berberine supplement for those who need less than 1,000mg per serving. Berbercap offers 60 capsules of a 200mg dose with the same high quality at a slightly lower price ($25). And while Berbercap sits at the lower end of our price range, we still think that their traditional berberine supplement is a better deal.

Though not labeled as such, this berberine supplement has no animal-based ingredients, making it vegan-friendly. It’s also gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free and contains no fillers or artificial additives. Thorne uses NSF and cGMP-certified facilities to manufacture their berberine supplement. They were the first supplement manufacturer from the United States to earn an A rating from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is well-known for having some of the highest standards in the world. All Thorne supplements are rigorously tested in-house four times.

Pricing

One bottle of Thorne’s Berberine Capsules costs $37 if you purchase it once. However, you can unlock savings by joining Thorne’s subscription program. You’ll save 10% on each item and 20% on subscription orders containing three or more products. However, those subscription savings only kick in after your first order. We’ve put together a chart below to clarify how much you’ll pay.

  First order Second order and beyond
One-time purchase $37 $37
Subscription (1-2 items, per bottle) $37 $33.30
Subscription (3+ items, per bottle) $37 $29.60

You can set up your subscription to send you a new bottle every:

  • Month
  • 45 days
  • Two months
  • Three months
  • Four months

Thorne offers free shipping to all orders within the contiguous United States. Orders shipping to Alaska or Hawaii and international orders can expect a steep variable shipping fee. And if you aren’t satisfied with your berberine capsules for any reason, you can return them within 60 days of purchase for a full refund.

Frequently asked questions about berberine

How effective is berberine for weight loss?

Berberine affects weight in roundabout ways. It improves insulin resistance, which leads to weight loss over time as your body lets go of its unnecessary energy stores. It might also improve the functioning of two hunger and fat-storage hormones, adiponectin and leptin, and stop fat cells from growing in the first place.

A small study found that people with metabolic syndrome who took 900mg of berberine for three months lost an average of two inches off their waist size. Another study found that 1,500mg of berberine daily caused obese individuals to lose five pounds and 3.6% of their body fat in three months. So while more research is needed, berberine appears to be quite effective for weight loss.

Can berberine reduce my belly fat?

No matter how you do it, weight loss can’t target individual body parts. However, excess abdominal fat is associated with insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. Suppose your body stores its extra fat in your abdomen because of insulin resistance (and not diet or exercise). In that case, berberine could effectively reduce your belly fat faster than eating healthy and exercising alone.

Is berberine as effective as metformin?

We don’t yet know enough about berberine to determine whether or not it’s more effective than prescription medications for diabetes management like metformin. One study from 2009 found that giving berberine to newly diagnosed diabetics lowered their blood sugar and regulated their insulin metabolism almost identically to metformin.

Can berberine increase estrogen levels?

There haven’t been many studies investigating berberine’s effects on sex hormones. Insulin resistance can raise women’s testosterone levels, so improving insulin resistance can naturally drop your testosterone levels into a healthier range. If you’re a woman looking to improve your estrogen levels, berberine may still do that. A recent study showed that berberine regulated estrogen, testosterone, and luteinizing hormone (LH) in rats with PCOS. While much more research is needed, these results on hormone regulation are promising.

Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking berberine?

While berberine interacts with some of the same liver enzymes as alcohol, berberine might actually make it slightly safer for you to have an occasional drink or two. Berberine (particularly in the HCl form used in most supplements) appears to have protective effects on the liver, regulating inflammation and minimizing harm. That said, this study was performed on rats, not humans. Check with your doctor about drinking alcohol while taking berberine, especially if you have liver disease or a history of it.

How is berberine best absorbed?

Berberine is notorious for its lack of absorption, and only a fraction of a percent of the berberine we ingest circulates through the bloodstream. Scientists and clinical researchers aren’t entirely sure why our bodies are so bad at absorbing berberine, but it’s thought that the way our intestines and liver break it down is at play.

However, some prebiotics and lipids (such as the sunflower lecithin in LIPO Berberine) can improve how much berberine we absorb. Always take berberine during the day with food — not only can it quash any potential gastrointestinal side effects, but it can also keep it moving through your digestive system, ensuring that as much gets absorbed as possible.

Why you should trust us

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

We extensively test each health service or product we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health options, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate products and services based on their adherence to quality and the latest medical evidence and health standards. We ask ourselves two simple questions: Would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job? Would we recommend it to family and friends?

Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

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