Berberine is a compound found in many plants that reduces blood sugar. It’s been studied as an intervention for diabetes1, for reducing high blood pressure, and as a result, for living a longer, healthier life.
That’s right, if you’re on top of the science of longevity as I am, you may be interested in berberine to help you live a longer, healthier life.
Berberine acts on the AMPK mechanism.
AMPK stands for adenosine monophosphate-activated protein-kinase, and it’s a major regulator of our blood glucose. The more AMPK is activated, the lower our blood sugar.
Berberine activates AMPK. Human studies show that 1.5-2 grams per day or more are most effective.
This is why metformin is used for the same reasons. It’s a drug that turns on AMPK, which lowers blood sugar, and that’s why metformin has been used as a prescription drug for diabetics for decades.
Taking berberine, through this same mechanism, led both fruit flies and mice to live longer. Now of course these aren’t human studies, because that would take about 90 years to complete, but because it’s the same mechanism we have strong reason to believe it would hold up in humans.
But, not all berberine products are created equal, so here are our top picks for the best berberine supplements of 2022.
*Note: We do have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you purchase from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.
Highest Quality: Renue by Science LIPO Berberine
Best Value + Quality Combo: Double Wood Supplements Berberine
Best Value: Pure Bulk Berberine HCl Powder
Renue by Science has a unique and high-quality berberine product that you won’t find elsewhere. One of the problems with berberine, which is clear based on its chemical structure, is that it’s not super bioavailable.
This is one of the possible reasons why studies show people need to take a higher dose. Higher doses have a downside because many users report an upset stomach and even diarrhea when taking the doses that have shown to be effective in human studies.
Renue uses liposomal delivery systems, which means each of their capsules is protected by lipids so it increases its bioavailability and absorption.
The downside of LIPO Berberine is it only has 150mg per capsule. Even with the improved bioavailability, you’re probably not getting as much berberine overall. Each $50 bottle comes with 90 capsules. But, we love Renue’s products, so we’ve worked out a deal with them to get 10% off for RFS readers.
If you have a sensitive stomach, LIPO Berberine is the best product for you.
Renue also has among the strictest quality standards in the industry. They’re transparent with the lab results of every batch of their products, and they’re manufactured in an FDA-approved facility.
Double Wood Supplements is one of the most trusted brands in the longevity space. They’re GMP (good manufacturing practices) approved, and third-party tested. They even share a certificate of analysis of their lab results.
Their berberine product comes with a great combination of quality and value.
Each bottle has 60, 500mg capsules for just $20, making it one of the best values on the market.
You can also buy a double pack, 120 capsules, for just $35.
If you’re looking for the best bang-for-your-buck, Pure Bulk is a GMP-certified company where you can get a whopping 25 grams of powder for just $12. Yeah… $12. And you can buy up to an entire kilogram. That’s 1000 grams for $270.
From a strict cost per gram perspective, this is far and away the best deal.
Here’s the problem: Berberine tastes like shit. Like… it’s really bad. You’d have to be an absolute warrior to take this straight.
Realistically, you have to put it in a smoothie or something. Luckily 1.5-2 grams is not a big scoop, so even though it tastes super bitter, it won’t affect the taste of a smoothie.
Paradise Herbs Berberine comes with 180, 500mg tablets capsules for $32, making it one of the best values out there, especially for capsules. They’re GMP-certified and made in an FDA facility. Their product is also vegan and gluten-free, so it could be the best option for our vegan friends out there.
Thorne is a company known for their high-quality products, and their berberine is no exception. Each capsule comes with 500mg of berberine and each bottle comes with 60 capsules for $36. Competitively priced and of high quality, Thorne’s berberine is another product to consider.
Natural Sources WellBetX Berberine contains 120 capsules with 500mg for just $36, which is twice the value of many similar products. They’re a third-party tested company, but don’t go above and beyond like many of the other products on our list.
ProHealth specializes in longevity products, like berberine. They’re a third-party tested company and display the results of each batch front and center on their website. Each capsule contains 600mg of berberine, and you can get a competitively-priced 30 capsules for under $18. They also have 20mg of BioPerine to help absorption.
There’s nothing in particular we love about this product, but it’s a solid choice form a reputable company.
Nuzena has one of the most popular berberine products on the market, and for a good reason. They manufacture their products right here in the US in an FDA-approved facility.
Their capsules are slightly higher doses, at 600mg per capsule. Each bottle has 60 capsules and costs $40, so per gram it’s competitively priced with many other products.
While berberine is proven to be safe, it does have a few common, mild side effects.
Because it lowers our blood sugar, when we take berberine we’re probably going to have our energy zapped a little bit.
If you’re planning on having a big workout, you shouldn’t take berberine beforehand. As a general guideline, it makes a lot of sense to only take berberine on non-training days.
Many metformin users have adopted this routine for the same reasons, and it makes a lot of sense for berberine as well.
The other most common side effect is an upset stomach. If you’re trying it for the first time, start with one capsule. And if you know you have a sensitive stomach, then pick up Renue’s LIPO berberine. It has a much lower dose in a more bioavailable form to mitigate this downside.
And of course do not combine berberine with other drugs, especially ones targeting AMPK, without talking to your doctor. I’m not a doctor. Your doctor is a doctor. Talk to your doctor before adding anything to your routine.
Berberine acts on the same mechanism as metformin, however, the effect seems to be less potent. The upside it also seems to be safer. Metformin has a few concerns among researchers which don’t appear to show up in berberine use.
So if you’re choosing between the two, berberine is the safer choice to start. There’s a reason metformin is prescription-only and berberine isn’t.
Because it’s going to impact your blood sugar, you should take berberine with or just after meals. This will limit the blood sugar boost (one of its benefits), and make sure you still have energy.
When you’re 110 years old and still kicking. But if you want to know sooner, blood sugar measurements are the way to go. Set up a little self-experiment comparing blood sugar boosts with and without berberine. If you see lower measurements, you’ll know it’s doing its job.
This is also a great way to find out which dose is the best for you.
Berberine is by no means the only way to activate AMPK. I’m currently writing a series on how to live forever (or at least a lot longer). But here’s the short-list on AMPK activators…
One study found that berberine, if anything, may increase testosterone in men. While more research is needed, one of the critiques of life-extension supplements is that they decrease muscle and testosterone. With berberine, that appears not to be the case.
Yes. One of the most well-researched is called NMN. You can see our top 10 NMN recommendations.