What Women Should Know about PCOS and Berberine

Updated on October 22nd, 2020
Berberine for PCOS

Berberine is an ancient compound that has been used in China for hundreds of years as a treatment for diarrhea, diabetes, and infertility. Now studies are starting to investigate its use in women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), and the results have so far been very encouraging.

What Is Berberine?

Berberine is an alkaloid derived from Chinese herbs such as goldenseal (Hydrastis cacadensis), Oregon grape (berberis aquifolium), barberry (berberis vulgaris), tree turmeric (berberis aristata), and huanglian (coptidis rhizome). It can be taken in liquid form or as a capsule.

[Read: Benefits of Berberine]

PCOS, and Berberine

Taking berberine has been known to help improve a range of conditions. Benefits associated with berberine may include:

  • Lowered testosterone
  • Improved insulin resistance
  • Lowered cholesterol levels
  • Reduced acne
  • Improved pregnancy and fertility
  • Improved non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Anti-microbial benefits
  • Immune support
  • Weight loss and body fat loss
  • Prevention against cancer
  • Lowered high blood pressure

Berberine for PCOS

1. May benefit people with PCOS

Early studies suggest berberine may be complementary therapy or an effective alternative for certain physiological factors that affect many individuals with PCOS. [1]

2. May boost insulin sensitivity.

It’s believed that up to 75% of PCOS individuals are insulin resistant.

Insulin is a hormone produced by our pancreas that helps keep our blood sugar levels within an optimal range.

Insulin resistance is a condition in which our body cannot properly use the insulin our pancreas produces. This can result in requiring progressively higher levels of insulin to maintain our blood sugar levels.

If left unattended, insulin resistance can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.

3. Improves Fatty Liver Disease

Berberine is an effective choice to reduce fatty liver. A review of six randomized clinical trials involving 500 individuals found that berberine remarkably reduced fatty liver in those with NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).

Berberine lowered Triglyceride (TG) and liver function enzymes and overall enhanced liver condition. It has been found that berberine enhances NAFLD by preventing liver fat build-up and promoting fatty acid oxidation in skeletal muscle. 

[Read: Natural Remedies to Treat Fatty Liver]

4. Fights Cancer

Berberine has been considered as an anti-cancer remedy. Berberine has shown promise to avert cancer cells from invading other cells and replicating them.

Berberine has also been believed to target free radicals and preserve RNA and DNA binding. Berberine has been regarded as a potential agent for enhancing adipose breast tissue and decreasing breast cancer threat. 

[Read: How to Cure Cancer Naturally]

5. Lowers Cholesterol

Berberine is showing encouraging results in its ability to lower cholesterol levels. Berberine is known to slow down the release of free fatty acids and boost fat burning in the mitochondria while lowering cholesterol levels.

Berberine also inhibits the lipoprotein lipase enzyme, which is responsible for developing triglycerides and cholesterol. Berberine has also been known to promote cholesterol excretion from the liver to bile. 

6. Can support weight management

Most people with PCOS have an increased tendency to accumulate excess body fat, especially surrounding the mid-section. This characteristic is believed to be caused by a combination of insulin resistance and increased male hormone levels.

Early studies suggest that berberine can promote healthy weight management due to its ability to reduce the body’s tendency to store additional fat and stimulate the redistribution of fatty tissue.

[Read: Healthy Weight Loss Methods]

7. Improving Fertility

While berberine does show effectiveness in enhancing metabolic complications of PCOS, it may also enhance fertility. In a case study, 98 anovulatory women with PCOS were administered berberine. Ovulation improved by an average of twenty-five percent after four months of taking berberine.

A research paper published in Clinical Endocrinology showed that women with PCOS who were randomly selected to take berberine had more excellent pregnancy rates than placebo or metformin with fewer side effects when taken 12 weeks before IVF treatment.

[Also Read: Natural Remedies to Treat PCOS]

Recommended Dosage 

Check with your physician to know about the proper dosage for you. Typically, physicians prescribe 500 mg. One or two times daily for 8-12 weeks, followed by a 30-day break.

Many suggest that patients take berberine only six days per week. Because of berberine’s anti-microbial properties, take berberine with a probiotic, but with enough spacing. If you take berberine in the mornings, take probiotics in the evenings. 

A Word of Caution 

Berberine is usually considered to be safe and well-tolerated, but there are some cautions to consider. Large doses of berberine may cause poor intestinal uptake resulting in diarrhea and cramping. To prevent uneasiness, take the prescribed daily dosage throughout the day, not all at one go.

Berberine may interact with antibiotics such as clarithromycin and azithromycin. Berberine may limit the uptake of metformin

Berberine isn’t safe to use during pregnancy. It possibly crosses the placental barrier and may hurt the baby. Berberine isn’t safe to take when nursing because it can be transferred to the baby in the breast. Be particular that you choose a high-quality supplement verified by a third-party laboratory for contents and quality.

PCOS Diva Berberine Plus supplies high potency berberine combined with alpha-lipoic acid to help support optimal blood sugar and insulin levels, cardiovascular health, and liver health.

Be extra cautious if you take other prescription medications such as beta-blockers, antidepressants, or immunosuppressants because berberine can alter those medications’ levels in your bloodstream

Bottom Line

Berberine is a compound found in a range of plants. It has been used in ancient Chinese medicine for centuries. Modern investigations indicate that it may help treat symptoms associated with PCOS, including weight gain, high blood sugar levels, and high cholesterol.

Several studies have found that berberine improved fat metabolism and increased insulin sensitivity in people with PCOS. Berberine is usually considered safe, and adverse effects are rare. However, some individuals report experiencing mild digestive problems, such as diarrhea or nausea, after taking berberine.

If you’re interested in trying berberine for your PCOS symptoms, consult your medical practitioner to make sure it’s suitable for you.

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