Logo NHC

Berberine Side Effects

side effects

Berberine is a popular herbal remedy that may support your health and well-being. It is beneficial to digestion. It supports the reduced health risk of cardiovascular conditions and high blood pressure or high cholesterol issues. Some people also take berberine supplements to assist with obesity and weight loss, as well as other potential health benefits.

However, berberine can also cause unwanted side effects for people with certain health conditions. Here are a few to consider.

Low Blood Sugar Levels

Berberine is often used as a treatment for blood sugar (blood glucose) health challenges. It helps regulate blood sugar and improves insulin resistance.

However, it can be dangerous for people who are already on blood sugar medications. It can bring blood sugar down to dangerously low levels. It can cause hypoglycemia, a condition characterized by low blood sugar due to too little sugar or too much insulin.

Patients should talk to their doctors before adding berberine to their healthcare routines. They should never use the supplement instead of their medications without consulting a physician.

Digestive Effects

Berberine has been shown to balance good and bad bacteria in the gut. However, some people note that it has adverse effects on the digestive system. It may cause stomach ache, nausea, and constipation.

Some animal studies reveal it may have more serious side effects such as

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting diarrhea
  • Gastric ulcers

Allergic Reactions

People who tend to get allergic reactions when using an herbal supplement should not take berberine.

Bad for People Who are Pregnant or Breastfeeding

People who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take berberine products. It is known to cause kernicterus, a type of brain damage, in infants and newborns. It can be transmitted to a baby through the mother’s blood during pregnancy. It can also be absorbed through breast milk.

Berberine can also increase the risk of jaundice in babies.

Not Recommended for Children and Newborns

Berberine can cause kernicterus in newborn babies. Its effects on children are unclear. It should not be given to anyone under 12 years old.

Other Side Effects

Other side effects of berberine include:

  • Muscle tremors
  • A reduction in white blood cells
  • Liver and kidney enlargement

Drug Interactions

Berberine may interact with other medications. It can be dangerous when used with metformin, a diabetes drug used to lower blood sugar. Speak to your healthcare provider before taking berberine with other medications.

Other Unknowns

As a supplement, berberine is not subject to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulation. Users run a risk of taking a product that is not as pure or potent as advertised. They may take the wrong dose of the product or consume a toxic ingredient.

Use a brand you trust to ensure optimal purity and potency.

While berberine has been widely tested, most tests were limited in scope and location. Some clinical trials show the product is effective in providing benefits. Other tests show conflicting information.

Use berberine in small quantities to determine how it will affect your health, especially if you’re going through lifestyle changes.

Berberine has been shown to have several positive effects. But it also produces negative side effects. Start with low doses of the drug to see how it will affect you. Talk to a doctor before taking berberine with any medications and if you have medical conditions.

We wish you a safe and happy experience and optimal wellness ahead.

For more information, read our in-depth article about how to find the best berberine supplement for you. In addition, your healthcare professional can recommend more tips about using berberine dietary supplements.