- What is berberine? Berberine is a yellow-colored compound found in goldenseal root. As a supplement, it is typically sold in the form of berberine HCl (which is 90% berberine) in capsules or tablets containing hundreds of milligrams. Goldenseal root powder or extract supplements generally provide less than 30 mg of berberine per serving (See What It Is and ConsumerTips™). Use the Results table to compare the amounts of berberine we found in supplements.
- What do berberine and goldenseal do? Berberine appears to be effective in reducing blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, and improvements in cholesterol levels and even body composition have been noted, although higher quality studies are needed to confirm these effects. Preliminary evidence suggests that berberine may be of benefit with certain arrhythmias and congestive heart failure. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of goldenseal root powder or extract in treating or preventing any condition (See What It Does).
- How much berberine should I take? Berberine is typically taken as 500 mg of its hydrochloride or sulfate forms two to three times daily. There is no established dose for goldenseal (See Dosage).
- Best choice for berberine supplements? Be careful! Three-quarters of the goldenseal supplements selected for testing in this Review failed to pass testing — one contained no detectable berberine! Berberine supplements fared better, but one contained only 78% of the amount it listed and it was not properly labeled (See What CL Found). Among products that were Approved, see our Top Picks to find those that provide berberine at much lower cost than others.
- Safety and side effects of berberine and goldenseal: Berberine can increase bilirubin levels and should not be taken by women who are pregnant or nursing or by young children. It may affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It can interfere with the activity of many drugs. Because it contains berberine, goldenseal carries the same cautions. For more details, see Concerns and Cautions.
Berberine and Goldenseal Supplements Review
Choose the Best Berberine & Goldenseal Supplements. CL Tests Reveal Problems With 25% of Berberine and 67% of Goldenseal Supplements.
Alphabetical list of berberine and goldenseal supplements compared in this review
Amazing Formulas Berberine
Bluebonnet Goldenseal Root Extract
Dr. Whitaker Berberine 500 mg
Dr. Whitaker Berberine GlucoGold
Eclectic Institute Goldenseal Root
GNC Herbal Plus Goldenseal Root Extract
Herb Pharm Goldenseal
Only Natural Berberine
PipingRock.com Goldenseal Root
Spring Valley [Walmart] Goldenseal
Thorne Research Berberine-500
In addition the results of its expert testing, ConsumerLab uses only high-quality, evidence based, information sources. These sources include peer-reviewed studies and information from agencies such as the FDA and USDA, and the National Academy of Medicine. On evolving topics, studies from pre-print journals may be sourced. All of our content is reviewed by medical doctors and doctoral-level experts in pharmacology, toxicology, and chemistry. We continually update and medically review our information to keep our content trustworthy, accurate, and reliable. The following sources are referenced in this article:
- Chen, AAPS PharmSciTech 2011
- Chen, Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2020
- Dong, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2012
- Fogacci, Phytother Res 2019
- Funk, J Diet Suppl 2017
- Imenshahidi, Phytother Res 2019
- Jiang, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2018
- Mandal, Pharmacol Res 2020
- NPN 80004263
- Parra-Virto, Clin Investig Arterioscler 2018
- Perez-Rubio, Metab Syndr Relat Discord 2013
- Xia, Chronic Dis Transl Med 2015
- Yin, Metabolism 2008
- Zhang, Int J Biol Macromol 2013
- Zhang, J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2008
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- Which supplements passed or failed testing - and an easy way to tell which are fake!
- Which berberine and goldenseal supplements were Approved for their quality, offer the best value, and are CL's Top Picks
- What berberine and goldenseal can and cannot do for your health
- How goldenseal root powder differs from goldenseal root extract
- The dose of berberine for specific uses
- What to look for on product labels and how to take berberine and goldenseal supplements
- Cautions, side effects, and drug interactions with berberine and goldenseal
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