In a society full of ‘body positivity’ and ‘loving the skin you’re in,’ the need to lose weight has become increasingly prevalent. ‘Thin is in’ and the latest supplement Berberine, dubbed as ‘nature’s ozempic’, is once again reinforcing the idea that in order to be happy with our bodies – taking a supplement will help us achieve that. So, what is Berberine? How safe is it? And is it just another fad diet reinforcing the ‘thin’ ideology?
We’ve seen Ozempic. We’ve seen the results of Ozempic, with many celebrities taking it. It’s expensive and hard to find. Because of this, consumers have turned to Berberine. Berberine is a supplement. It is a natural compound found in plants – hence the ‘natures ozempic.’ The supplement allegedly suppresses appetite, lowers cholesterol, and helps gut health and blood pressure. It is also a natural antibiotic and natural metformin.
The supplement can help with high cholesterol, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. It can also decrease insulin resistance.
The trend has garnered 91.4 million views on TikTok. According to the Guardian, physicians have said that the long-term effects of it are unclear, and the supplement has little comparison to Ozempic.
What TikTok Users Say About Berberine
TikTok user @beingsavv takes Berberine and documents her Berberine journey on the social media app. In her TikTok, where she documents her 30-day results from taking the supplement, she says that “she’s lost 6.5 pounds”.
@beingsavv #greenscreen 30 days on Berberine with before and after pictures! #weightlossjouney #berberinesupplement #berberine #berberinepcosandweightloss #insulinresistance #pcos #weightloss #holistichealth #metformin #semaglutide #ozempic #update ♬ original sound – savannah?
After doing some research as to why her weight previously wasn’t budging, Savannah found that Berberine was helpful for her insulin resistance and her PCOS.
TikTok user and registered dietitian @li.makee.rd recommends how to take the supplement for long-term use in a safe manner. She advises starting with a small dose unless you want “explosive diarrhea.”
@li.makee.rd 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER DOING WITH LONG TERM BERBERINE USE From a registered dietitian #berberine #insulinresistance #guthealth #berberinepcosandweightloss #berberinesupplement #berberinesideeffects @Li Makee @Li Makee ♬ MELANCHOLY – White Cherry
Berberine Side Effects
Supplements are not as heavily regulated as prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Therefore, a consultation with your GP before taking the supplements is advised if the supplement is right for you.
Berberine’s side effects are diarrhea, nausea, and constipation. The fact that it causes diarrhea could be a reason why the supplement is causing weight loss. Laxative-based dieting is dangerous and can be very taxing on the body. Dr. Idrees Mughal, a British physician, spoke to Time regarding Berberine and the supplement used as a weight loss hack.
Mughal likens taking Berberine to taking shots of apple cider vinegar, another popular weight loss hack causing nausea to suppress appetite.
Interestingly, the studies regarding Berberine as a weight loss supplement are that people within the studies are taking the supplement coinciding with attempts to lose weight by exercising and changing their food habits. The physician says: “Just taking Berberine by itself, without addressing anything else, is likely not going to do anything.”
Exercising and making healthier choices with food will lead to healthy weight loss.
Addressing a Larger Conversation
Berberine, Ozempic, and any other fad weight loss hacks are part of a more extensive conversation that we need to have. Dieting and weight loss hacks have ingrained their way into society for many years, with Ozempic and Berberine being the latest additions to the mix. Diet culture can lead to unhealthy habits and can be very dangerous, leading to eating disorders. This dieting culture is not going to go away – however, the way in which we respond to it can.
With body image being at the forefront of trends, namely heroin chic and the Y2K resurgence, making healthy decisions and choices with our bodies regarding what we are putting into our bodies is becoming more imperative than ever, rather than conforming to beauty standards.