Is Berberine Dangerous?


Berberine’s health benefits are undeniable, but is it dangerous? Is it better than medications people take for weight loss, diabetes, heart disease, and various other health conditions? 

History of Berberine

Berberine gained significant attention over the last decade; however, it’s been used for its medicinal properties for over two thousand years.  

This unique compound, derived from various plants, carries a fascinating history of traditional use in Ancient Chinese medicine, dating back to the Han Dynasty from 206 BCE. Ayurvedic medicine and Native American Healing revered this plant for its medicinal benefits.

Is Taking Berberine Dangerous?

You need to be aware of a few things when taking berberine. Although gastrointestinal upset is rare with berberine, cases showed instances of nausea and diarrhea when taking berberine at high doses of 2000 mg for over 16 weeks.

While berberine is not dangerous, there are a few aspects of your health that you should consider before taking berberine. 

Diabetic Medication

If you are on a diabetic medication, oral pill or injectable, Dr. Coppola and Dr. Monteiro recommend closely monitoring your glucose levels. Berberine lowers glucose levels. If you’re already on a diabetic drug, your glucose may drop too quickly.  

As you watch your glucose levels consistently drop, we recommend taking your glucose log to your doctor to have them reduce your medication accordingly. Do not attempt to reduce your medication. Reducing medication should only be done under your doctor’s supervision.

Antihypertensive Medication

If you are on an antihypertensive medication for blood pressure, you must monitor it once or twice daily and record it.  

If your blood pressure drops lower than normal, take this log into your doctor’s office to reduce your blood pressure medication.

Anticoagulant or Antiplatelet Medication

If you’re taking an anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication like warfarin, coumadin, Plavix, or others, have your doctor do a simple blood test called the PT-INR test. PT-INR tests measure the clotting time of your blood. 

Berberine is antithrombotic, meaning it can reduce clotting. If you’re on other medications that do the same thing, it may result in you bleeding too easily and could be dangerous. 

If you’re taking berberine and your PT-INR values increase, meaning your blood is getting too thin, your doctor can reduce your medication. Anticoagulants and antiplatelet meds carry a long list of side effects.

Many doctors love prescribing their drugs and may not want to lower your dose, so they’ll tell you to stop taking the berberine. However, berberine is not dangerous, especially compared to medication side effects. If you encounter this type of doctor, it’s time to shop for another doctor. 

Is Berberine Dangerous for Peripheral Neuropathy?

Berberine is effective in helping patients with peripheral neuropathy. Through advancements in research, scientists praise berberine for helping neurodegenerative diseases in the central and peripheral nervous systems. 

In addition to assisting in treating neurodegenerative diseases, berberine reverses mitochondrial damage, improving the oxygenation of the cells. The reversal also improves ATP production or cellular energy.

What Form of Berberine Should I Take?

There are a couple of different forms of berberine on the Market. The most common form is Berberine HCl; the other forms include Dihidroberberine and berberine phytosome.

Some people believe Dihidroberberine is a better form of berberine than Berberine HCl, with the premise that the body better absorbs Dihidroberberine than berberine HCL. There is truth to this, but the physiology is more complicated.

Both Dihydroberine and berberine HCl are equally effective. It doesn’t matter which one you take as long as you take a good quality berberine supplement. While berberine is poorly absorbed, studies show numerous benefits for the body.

When taking berberine, specific gut microbiota produce a bacterial enzyme called Nitroreductases or NRs. These enzymes convert berberine HCL to Dihydroberberine, which then gets easily absorbed.  

Although Dihidroberberine is more easily absorbed, berberine HCL moves in and out of cells more efficiently. Research further reveals that Dihydroberberine can revert to berberine as it permeates the wall of the intestine. 

Although certain research studies focus on the amount of berberine HCL found in the bloodstream after oral supplements, the studies fail to paint an accurate picture.

Berberine evokes its physiological effects by working hand in hand with the gut microbiota in the intestinal tract. The amount of berberine in the bloodstream doesn’t dictate its effectiveness. It’s how much Dihidroberberine is in the intestinal tract.  

How Much Berberine Should I Take?

Research has shown that taking 500 to 1500 mg of berberine daily can evoke these numerous benefits.  

Depending on the severity of our patient’s conditions, we’ll start them off with 500 mg daily and slowly work them up to 1500 mg daily. They would take 500 mg three times per day. Typically, for less severe cases of peripheral neuropathy or diabetes, we’ll keep these patients on 1000 mg daily.

Struggling with Neuropathy?

Book a consultation with one of America’s leading experts in peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Coppola and Dr. Monteiro have worked with neuropathy patients for almost 20 years and conduct seminars to help patients and doctors improve and reverse neuropathy.

To schedule an appointment, visit or call our customer service representatives at (844)400-0101. They are available Mondays through Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

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