Berberine Isn't “Nature's Ozempic:" Why Experts Warn It's Just Another Diet Culture Trap

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Tuesday, August 22, 2023


According to MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, berberine is a chemical found in various plants, like European barberry and goldenseal. It’s most often used to help control diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, but MedlinePlus notes that there’s no good evidence to support its efficacy. Still, berberine has gained popularity on social media over the last few months for its supposed weight loss qualities — hence its nickname as nature’s ozempic. Given the shortage, the high price of semaglutide injections, and the need for a prescription, some may be turning to readily available supplements to achieve the same effect.

According to Wajahat Mehal, MD, DPhil, professor of medicine (Digestive Diseases), director of the Yale Weight Loss Program, and director of the Yale Fatty Liver Disease Program, there is no such thing as “nature’s ozempic.”

“[Calling berberine nature’s ozempic is] suggesting that this item has the same qualities the other product has, or has some other similarity,” Mehal said. “There really aren’t any similarities.”

Besides the differences in their makeup, Mehal said that Ozempic is a drug that’s manufactured by one company, with heavy oversight from the federal Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of supplements isn’t regulated by the FDA, and there are insufficient regulations around their safety or the claims they can make about their impact. Largely, supplement companies are responsible for their own quality and safety testing. And, berberine hasn’t really been proven to provide the results many claim it will.

Read more at Teen Vogue >>