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 somewhat 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. Higher quality studies are needed to confirm these effects of berberine.
Due to its reported effects, berberine has been called "Nature's Ozempic," referring to the type 2 diabetes drug semaglutide that mimics the action of a peptide that increases insulin secretion, lowering blood sugar levels and aiding in weight loss. However, the effects of semaglutide are much greater and better supported by evidence than those of berberine. Berberine has not been shown to cause weight loss.
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).
Best choice for berberine and goldenseal supplements?Be careful! While 5 of the 6 berberine supplements passed testing (one was a bit short on berberine), all three of the goldenseal supplements selected for testing failed to pass testing: One contained almost none of the expected berberine and two others were contaminated with lead (see What CL Found). Among products that were Approved, see our Top Picks based on quality, dosage, and value.