The effect of Berberine on weight loss in order to prevent obesity: A systematic review

Biomed Pharmacother. 2020 Jul:127:110137. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2020.110137. Epub 2020 Apr 27.


This study provides a critical overview of experimental studies in vitro, in humans, and in animals that evaluated the efficacy of Berberine and its effect on management of obesity and the related metabolic consequences. As a result of this review, we summarized the effects of Berberine in different models and the related mechanism of actions. In preclinical models, Berberine demonstrates that it affects gut microbiota by reducing diversity of microbes starting at a dosage of 100 mg/kg/day. Moreover, in animal models, Berberine explicates an action on glucose through the inhibition of α-glycosidase at a dose of 200 mh/kg/day. Berberine is also known to be effective against differentiation of adipocytes through a decrease in LXRs, PPARs, and SREBPs expression at 150 mg/kg/day. Other mechanism ascribed to Berberine are related to its inhibition of hepatic gluconeogenesis through the Phospheoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), Glucose-6-phosphate (G6Pase) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Furthermore, Berberine (associated to Red Yeast Rice) is effective in decreasing lipid levels in rats, which consequently lowers the change of weight gain at dosage of 40 mg/kg to 380 mg/kg/day. All the above preclinical data are confirmed in human studies where Berberine can modulate the diversity of gut microbes at the dose of 500 mg/day. In addition, Berberine is found to have a beneficial impact on gene regulation for the absorption of cholesterol at a daily dose of 300 mg in humans, an amelioration on glucose accumulation at 1.0 g daily dose was also observed. For all these reasons, this review gives an important good account of the impact of Berberine in obesity treatment and prevention.

Keywords: Berberine; Cardiovascular risk; Gut microbiome; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Berberine / pharmacology*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Gluconeogenesis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Weight Loss / drug effects*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Berberine
  • Cholesterol