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Berberine promotes weight loss, meta-analysis shows


  • Meta-analysis of 12 clinical trials
  • Berberine significantly reduces body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and CRP levels
  • Typical dosage is 1,000-1,500 mg/day for 3 months
  • No adverse effect on liver function
  • Low-dose dihydroberberine may be a more tolerable alternative


    Study Design

    This meta-analysis of 12 randomized, controlled clinical trials investigated the impact of berberine on obesity parameters, inflammation, and liver function in a total of 1,040 participants with type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, or related cardiometabolic conditions.

    Inclusion criteria included original trials published in English-language, peer-reviewed literature up to July 30, 2019, that reported changes in anthropometric parameters, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, and liver enzymes.

    Most of the studies administered berberine at doses between 1,000 to 1,500 mg/day for approximately 3 months. Notably, anthropometric data was provided in 67% (8/12) of the included trials, indicating a focus on assessing physical measurements.

    Outcome Measures

    The primary outcome measures included changes in anthropometric parameters, CRP levels, and liver enzyme levels. These outcomes were measured using weighted mean differences (WMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for data pooling to evaluate the effect sizes.

    Study Results

    Results indicate berberine supplementation moderately, but significantly, reduced body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and CRP plasma levels. Compared to controls, berberine supplementation resulted in the following changes:

    • Decrease in body weight by about 4.5 lbs
      (WMD = −2.07 kg, 95% CI -3.09, −1.05, P<.001), 
    • Decrease in BMI by about 0.5 kg/m2
      (WMD = −0.47 kg/m2, 95% CI -0.70, −0.23, P<.001),
    • Decrease in waist circumference by about 2.7 in.
      (WMD = −1.08 cm, 95% CI -1.97, −0.19, P=.018)
    • Decrease in CRP plasma levels
      (WMD = −0.42 mg/L, 95% CI -0.82, −0.03, P=.034).


    Berberine intake had no significant effect on liver function as measured by the following liver enzymes: 

    • Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
      (WMD = −1.66 I/U, 95% CI -3.98, 0.65, P=.160)
    • Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
      (WMD = −0.87 I/U, 95% CI -2.56, 0.82, P=.311).

    Clinical Relevance

    These results indicate berberine supplementation with a typical dosage of 1,000-1,500 mg/day for 3 months may offer therapeutic value for patients with obesity as part of a diet and lifestyle program to promote weight loss and reduce inflammation.

    Note: A separate pharmacokinetic study in healthy men (Moon et al., 2021) indicates low-dose (100 or 200 mg) dihydroberberine (a highly bioavailable form of berberine) raises blood berberine levels more effectively than the high-dose berberine (500 mg) typically used for therapeutic effects. This suggests dihydroberberine may be a more tolerable and easier-to-follow treatment choice than berberine. A summary of this study is here.


    Asbaghi O, Ghanbari N, Shekari M, et al. The effect of berberine supplementation on obesity parameters, inflammation and liver function enzymes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2020;38:43-49.

    Moon JM, Ratliff KM, Hagele AM, Stecker RA, Mumford PW, Kerksick CM. Absorption kinetics of berberine and dihydroberberine and their impact on glycemia: a randomized, controlled, crossover pilot trial. Nutrients. 2021;14(1):124. Full study available free at:

    Related Products

    • Dihydroberberine SR 150mg Sustained Release

    This information is for licensed healthcare professionals only to inform patient treatment. It is not intended for consumer use.