Berberine for PCOS: Benefits, Side Effects, and Dosage (2023)

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder affecting approximately 3-10% of women of childbearing age worldwide.1).

PCOS also affects transgender people, although data on the exact prevalence of PCOS among people in the trans community are lacking.

However, very early research suggests that the prevalence of PCOS in transgender individuals may be even higher than in cisgender women (2).

The exact cause of PCOS is still unclear, but is likely related to a variety of genetic and environmental factors.

Certain features, such as excess insulin, elevated levels of male hormones, and chronic, low-grade inflammation, are hallmarks of PCOS and often important targets for symptom control.3).

(Video) Berberine for PCOS | Berberine Weight Loss and other Benefits of Berberine

PCOS can manifest in many ways, but common symptoms include irregular periods, infertility, abnormal growth of facial and body hair, and the development of small ovarian cysts.1).

Although there is currently no cure, a variety of conventional and holistic treatment options are available to manage PCOS symptoms.

Berberine is a popular herbal supplement that is commonly used to treat PCOS.

This article examines what berberine is and whether it is an effective treatment for PCOS.

Berberine is aherbal supplementMade from a chemical compound naturally found in the roots and bark of a wide variety of plants.

It is the main active ingredient in a plant known asRhizoma Copidis, which has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat inflammation and bacterial infections (4).

Berberine is also found in several plants belonging to theBarbierGender.B. vulgaris- commonly known as barberry - is commonly used in Chinese medicine to treat problems related to the heart, liver, and digestive tract (5).

It is extracted from many commercial berberine supplementsBarbier, but it can also be obtained from other plants such as Oregon grape, goldenseal, and tree saffron (6).

Today, berberine is widely used as an alternative to traditional medications to treat the symptoms associated with PCOS, as well as various symptoms that can increase a person's risk of heart disease and diabetes, such as:7,8):

  • high blood sugar
  • insulin resistance
  • high cholesterol
  • hypertension
  • obesity

It is also occasionally used to treat diarrhea, mouth ulcers, and burns, but there is little scientific evidence to support its effectiveness for these purposes.


Berberine is a herbal medicine derived from a variety of plants. It is most commonly used to treat symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome, such as high cholesterol and blood sugar.

May benefit people with PCOS

(Video) The Amazing Benefits of Berberine

Early research suggests that berberine may be an effective alternative or adjunctive therapy for certain physiological factors that affect many people with PCOS.

May increase insulin sensitivity

It is estimated that up to 75% of people with PCOS are affectedresistant to insulin(9).

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range.

Insulin resistance is a condition in which your body cannot effectively use the insulin produced by the pancreas. This can lead to gradually higher levels of insulin being required to maintain blood sugar levels.

If left untreated, insulin resistance can eventually develop into type 2 diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50% of women with PCOS will develop type 2 diabetes by age 40 (10).

Although no specific diabetes risk statistics are available for transgender people with PCOS, it stands to reason that they too may be at increased risk, particularly if they show signs of insulin resistance.

Research suggests that berberine may play a role in treating insulin resistance by increasing the production and activity of certain compounds in your body responsible for supporting carbohydrate metabolism and insulin sensitivity (6,8).

A recent review of 5 studies involving over 1,000 women found that berberine was significantly more effectiveimprove insulin sensitivityand lower blood sugar than a placebo (11).

Additionally, the effects of berberine were comparable to those of a popular mainstream drug called metformin.

May support weight management

Many people with PCOS are more prone to accumulating excess body fat, particularly in the abdominal area.

This trait is thought to be caused by a combination of elevated levels of male hormones and insulin resistance.

Early research suggests that berberine may promotehealthy weight controldue to its ability to stimulate the redistribution of adipose tissue and reduce the body's tendency to store extra fat (11).

A small study of 89 women with PCOS found that berberine was more effective than metformin at reducing waist-to-hip ratio and male hormone levels (12).

While the results are promising, more research is needed to determine how berberine might affect weight gain and fat distribution in larger PCOS populations.

May improve cholesterol profiles

People with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing heart disease, and berberine may play a role in reducing certain risk factors for heart disease (10).

(Video) Berberine For PCOS (The Best Supplement For PCOS?!)

A 2020 review of studies on berberine's ability to treat PCOS found that berberineniedrige Triglycerideand LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol (11).

Early research suggests that berberine may also help reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure (7).

Ultimately, better designed studies are needed to better understand how berberine can be used to support heart health in people with PCOS.


Berberine has been shown to treat many common symptoms associated with PCOS such as insulin resistance, obesity and high cholesterol.

Berberine is typically consumed in capsule form, but is also available in liquid and powder formulations.

Due to the lack of robust data, there is currently no consensus on the most appropriate dose ofBerberinefor PCOS.

However, several studies have safely used daily doses between 500 and 1,500 mg divided into 2 or 3 servings, ideally taken with a meal (11,13).

If you're interested in trying berberine to treat PCOS symptoms, talk to your doctor. They can advise you if it's the right option for you and suggest an appropriate dosage.


Berberine is typically taken in daily doses of up to 1,500 mg divided into 3 servings. Talk to your doctor before trying berberine to treat PCOS symptoms.

Berberine ranks very high in terms of safety, but it is not risk-free.

The most commonly reported side effects are nausea,Diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and headaches. However, these side effects are usually mild and transient (11).

(Video) Insulin Resistance TREATMENT! (Metformin vs Berberine vs Inositol... Which Is Best?!)

In certain countries, such as For example, in the United States, herbal supplements are not regulated in the same way as medicines.

Therefore, as an extra safety precaution, it's best to choose quality supplements that have been tested for purity and potency by an outside organization such as NSF International or US Pharmacopoeia.

Although women trying to conceive commonly take berberine, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it (14,15).

If you're considering adding berberine or any other dietary supplement to your wellness routine, ask your doctor if it's right for you. Berberine can interact with many medications, including antibiotics, immunosuppressants, and anticoagulants (sixteen,17,18).


Berberine is generally safe, but it can cause digestive side effects like gas, diarrhea, nausea, or upset stomach.

Berberine is a compound found in a variety of plants.

It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, but modern research suggests that it may help treat associated symptomsPOP, including high blood sugar, weight gain and high cholesterol.

Several studies have found that berberine increases insulin sensitivity and improves fat metabolism in people with PCOS.

Berberine is generally considered safe and side effects are rare. However, some people report experiencing mild digestive issues, such as nausea or diarrhea, after consuming berberine.

If you're interested in trying berberine for PCOS symptoms, check with your doctor to make sure it's right for you.

Buy Berberine Supplements Online.

Helpful advice on buying dietary supplements

Check out these two articles to make buying supplements easier:

  • How to choose quality vitamins and dietary supplements
  • How to read supplement labels like a pro
(Video) Berberine & Fasting: When to Take & How to Use?


1. Berberine vs Metformin: Anti-aging, PCOS, Insulin Resistance, Weight Loss, Side Effects and more!
(Dr. Shelley Meyer)
2. Berberine vs inositol for PCOS #shorts
(Health Coach Kait)
3. INOSITOL--Impact on Hormones and Blood Sugar
(Dr. Jin W. Sung)
4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome -Berberine...etc.
(Dr. Jin W. Sung)
5. The 5 Benefits of Inositol
(Dr. Eric Berg DC)
6. Should I Take Berberine Longterm?
(Gates Brain Health)
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