Berberine has been in the news a lot lately. We connected with Karen Jensen, ND, to get her thoughts on this popular natural health ingredient.
Q: So, Dr. Jensen, what is berberine and why is it so popular?
A: Berberine is the sunshiny yellow pigment found in plants such as barberry, goldenseal, and Oregon grape. It’s quickly gaining attention as one of our most powerful and beneficial dietary supplements on the market today. There have been approximately 2,800 studies published on berberine, one-third of them in the last five years!
Berberine is remarkable in that it provides so many health benefits. It’s one of nature’s best kept secrets for healthy weight loss, blood sugar support, and heart health.* Recent studies even suggest benefits for neurological and mood support, as well as gut health!*
Q: How does berberine work?
A: Berberine activates adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) – your metabolic master switch. AMPK acts as a central energy-control switch regulating how energy is produced and used in your body.*
AMPK is expressed in various tissues, including the brain, liver, skeletal muscle, and fat cells.*
Q: Is there a difference between berberine sourced from barberry vs goldenseal or Oregon grape root?
A: All of these botanicals are sources of berberine. Natural Factors chooses to source from barberry (Berberis vulgaris). Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is listed as endangered by CITES (a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals). Oregon grape root is also listed as endangered by United Plant Savers.
Q: Why do you recommend Natural Factors’ Berberine?
A: The first is Natural Factors sources their berberine from sustainable barberry.
Secondly, they guarantee potency. The testing of finished products is not a cGMP requirement. Because Natural Factors controls every step of the manufacturing process and because they do test finished goods, you can be assured that what’s on the label is inside the bottle. Earlier, a group of researchers tested 15 different berberine supplements. The paper was published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements. On average products contained 75% the amount of berberine listed on the label with some as low as 35%. Natural Factors was one of only six companies that met label claim.
Also, all Natural Factors products have the ISURA seal of approval, a third-party organization that guarantees the product is safe, uncontaminated, high quality, of guaranteed potency, non-GMO, and properly labeled.
Funk, R.S., Singh, R.K., Winefield, R.D., et al. (2018). Variability in potency among commercial preparations of berberine. J Diet Suppl. 15(3), 343-351.