It seems every day a new TikTok weight-loss trend is hot off the press. Prescription drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy have become popular for their quick weight-loss abilities, but this time, TikTokers are keeping it more natural.
The dietary supplement berberine has become viral on social media as a new option for weight loss. Videos related to ‘berberine nature’s Ozempic’ have garnered 73.6 million views on TikTok.
Ozempic is a semaglutide injection developed by Novo Nordisk. The drug has gained social media attention for its ability to make consumers feel full to prevent them from meeting. Ozempic is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for improving blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes in combination with diet and exercise.
With Ozempic becoming a hit on TikTok, the drug’s demands have skyrocketed. The cost of Ozempic for patients without prescription coverage can reach $1,300. Due to some cases of low Ozempic availability, Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy designed for treating obesity, has become a popular substitute. However, neither is as accessible and affordable as berberine.
Berberine is a natural alkaloid that can be found in various parts of plants, including the roots, stems, and bark of multiple types of plants. Berberis species, Oregon Grape, Goldenseal, and Chinese goldthread are a few of the plants that contain berberine.
In centuries past, berberine was used as a traditional medicine in China and India. The dietary supplement available for less than $15 over the counter is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hypoglycemic properties. Other research has found berberine to be efficient at regulating blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Can berberine help with weight loss?
In mice studies, berberine has proved to be a successful antiobesity agent. It was capable of regulating lipid metabolism, the breakdown of fats in the body, and reducing levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in mice. Like Ozempic, berberine provides appetite suppression. However, much of berberine’s weight-loss effects on humans are unknown.
Nonetheless, TikTokers are praising berberine’s weight-loss abilities. TikTok user @beingsavv says she has lost 8 pounds and some inches on her waist during her eight-week berberine journey. Another user, @liv.ppurdon, notes she has not received any fat-cutting benefits from berberine.
With weight-loss options continuing to go viral, TikTok has issued a statement under the search bar for users eyeing #berberine content. The social media giant is advising users to be body positive and remain aware of eating disorders.
“If you or someone you know has questions about body image, food, or exercise — it is important to know that help is out there and you are not alone,” The TikTok community note states. “If you feel comfortable, you can confide in someone you trust or check out the resources below. Please remember to take care of yourselves and each other."
Risks of berberine
Berberine is not FDA-approved for prescription use with it being labeled as an herbal dietary supplement. It is available as a capsule or tablet in doses ranging from 500mg to 1000 mg. Doses under 1500mg have not led to any severe side effects thus far.
Some berberine side effects may include nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and gas. Berberine users taking other medications may be susceptible to neurotoxicity, severe jaundice, and phototoxicity. Pregnant women are advised to refrain from consuming berberine. It is important to consult a medical professional before partaking in ‘nature’s Ozempic.’
It is important to remember that quick-weight loss fads do not equal results. Establishing a healthy diet, increasing levels of physical activity, and remaining content within your body are three keys to begin a fruitful weight-loss journey.