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Can Berberine Help Prevent Blood Clots?

Blood clotting is a crucial process that helps prevent excessive bleeding and promotes wound healing. However, when blood clots form abnormally or obstruct blood flow, they can lead to serious health complications, such as heart attacks and strokes, which are leading causes of death worldwide. These disorders are driven by the progressive blocking of blood vessels that are relatively silent until the attack happens.

Key takeaways:

Berberine, a natural alkaloid compound found in the roots, leaves, stems, and barks of various plants, has recently emerged as a potential ally against blood clots, in addition to its numerous health benefits.

Here, we will define the role of berberine in combating blood clots. We will explore its mechanism, scientific research, and how to incorporate it into your routine to help maintain optimal cardiovascular health and prevent blood clot-related disorders.

Can berberine prevent blood clots?

Berberine has been shown to have blood-thinning properties, and it may help prevent blood clots. Studies show that berberine may inhibit the formation of clots, break up existing clots, and prevent the formation of new clots.

The evidence is mounting; however, clinical trials are needed to establish effectiveness in humans. It is recommended to talk to your doctor before taking berberine, as it may interact with some medications and cause undesirable effects.

How berberine works against blood clots

With berberine’s anticoagulant properties, it can inhibit the activity of clot-promoting enzymes and reduce the platelet aggregation that promotes clotting.

Berberine has been found to inhibit factors involved in the coagulation cascade, further supporting its antithrombotic effects. It can also influence blood viscosity and circulation, enhance blood flow, and reduce the risk of the development of clots. Berberine was able to block the activity of thrombin, another protein that is involved in blood clot formation.

New evidence also points out that berberine decreases thrombosis risk by reducing the generation of TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide). TMAO is a metabolic by-product of gut microbiota that can induce platelet hyperreactivity and clotting formation, which can lead to atherosclerotic vascular diseases and adverse cardiovascular events. Further experimental and animal studies also demonstrate that berberine has cardioprotective and neuroprotective properties after heart attack and stroke, respectively.

How long does berberine take to work against blood clots?

Based on current studies, berberine can start working against blood clots within a few hours of taking it. However, it may take several weeks or even months for berberine to reach its full potential in preventing blood clots. Berberine may be best as a preventive strategy rather than treating an active blood clot. For people with high risks of blood clot formation, including those who contracted COVID-19, taking berberine may help control the risk.

In active blood clots, seek medical attention to obtain immediate and appropriate treatment.

Blood clot symptoms

Blood clots can cause a heart attack, stroke, and death. Hence, if you are experiencing symptoms of blood clots, you should go to the nearest ER immediately.

Symptoms that may indicate potential blood clot include:

  • Redness, and warmth in a leg or arm and sudden breathlessness
  • Sharp chest pain (which may intensify during inhalation)
  • Presence of a cough or coughing up blood
  • Throbbing or cramping pain
  • Swelling

Blood clots can be life-threatening if not treated quickly. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

How to take berberine safely

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before considering berberine as a preventive measure or supplement for any specific health condition.

As of now, there is no established level of berberine dosage for supplementation. The recommended starting dose of berberine is 500 mg three times a day, as supported by clinical studies that tested dosages ranging from 500–1,500 mg daily. You can increase the dose as needed but do not exceed 1,500 mg per day.

Here are some tips on how to take berberine safely:

  • Call an expert. Consult your doctor before taking berberine, as it may interact with some medications.
  • Start slow. Start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed.
  • Do research. Choose a high-quality berberine supplement from a reputable manufacturer that has third-party testing to ensure that the supplement is free of contaminants.
  • Eat. Take berberine with food to reduce the risk of stomach upset.
  • Monitor. Keep an eye out for for side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Do not take berberine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a chronic disease, take medication, or are allergic. Children should also avoid berberine.

If you experience side effects, stop taking berberine and talk to your doctor.

Possible side effects of berberine

Many people take berberine due to its array of health benefits. In addition to preventing blood clots, berberine is also purported to lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, and it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. However, berberine can also cause side effects, some of which are serious in specific scenarios, especially when taking increased doses.

The most common side effects of berberine include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

In rare cases, berberine intake may lead to liver and kidney damage, heart problems, allergic reactions, stomach bleeding, pancreatitis, and hypoglycemia. Therefore, make sure to abide by the standard dosage and intake guidelines to prevent these adverse effects.

Taking berberine along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. High dosage berberine intake is more likely to cause digestive issues.

Since berberine can reduce blood sugar levels, it heightens the likelihood of hypoglycemia.

Who should not take berberine?

Certain groups of people have substantial risks of severe outcomes and should not take berberine without the direction of their healthcare providers.

The following should avoid berberine:

  • Children. Berberine may not be safe and is not recommended for children.
  • Pregnant/breastfeeding women. Berberine can cross the placenta and harm the fetus or baby.
  • People with liver or kidney disease. Berberine can worsen these conditions.
  • People taking certain medications. Berberine can interact with certain medications, such as antibiotics, blood thinners, and diabetes medications.
  • People with allergies. Berberine can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Berberine may prevent blood clots, and incorporating it into your routine can provide various health benefits in addition to combatting blood clots. However, more clinical studies are needed to establish its effectiveness in humans. If you are experiencing blood clot symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.


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