New snacks on sale now for a limited time! Use code NEW for 15% off.

Tagged as “Nature’s Ozempic”, Berberine Has Stirred a Weight-Loss Frenzy Online – Here’s Why We’re Not Convinced

You’ve probably heard all about Hollywood’s love affair with diabetes drug Ozempic, with a growing list of stars like Chelsea Handler admitting to using the prescription medication to lose weight, but there’s a new contender on the block – berberine. Here’s why it’s only furthering our complicated relationship with food, weight and health, not to mention the hefty side effects associated with the so-called “natural” weight loss drug.

Weight loss is a common goal for many people, and it often leads people to search for instant fixes and pills – the problem here is not only that we’ve disregarded health on the whole in favour of achieving an often unrealistic ideal of thinness, but also that we’re sending the wrong message to kids and teens. Plus, with celebrities sharing their restrictive diets and advocating meal-skipping, we’ve got another issue altogether as fans – particularly young fans – take in these damaging messages that affect self-esteem, mental health and physical health, too. Now, with this new frenzy around berberine, those same dangerous expectations around weight and appearance are dredged up again and, as usual, women and girls are in the firing line. But before we unpack the importance of a holistic approach to health and wellness, let’s find out what berberine actually is, and how it differs from Ozempic.

Berberine is a chemical found in a number of plants like the Oregon grape, European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread and tree turmeric. It’s known for its bitter taste and yellow colour, having been traditionally used short-term to treat infections and inflammation, wound healing and some digestive conditions – it’s even used to reduce Giardiasis symptoms, which you probably know as a parasitic disease caused by the Giardia microbe. But here's the catch with berberine – it comes with a stern warning against long-term use due to its potential consequences on the gut microbiome. There’s also a lack of research to suggest this stuff is safe for the purpose of weight loss, it’s not necessarily something to try out lightly. 

The key differences between berberine and Ozempic

While both of these have blown up on social media for their supposed weight-loss benefits, there are a number of stark differences between the two that should be noted  from the way they affect the body to their availability in stores. But they do have one thing in common; neither of them have enough quality research backing the safety of their use when it comes to weight loss.

  • Source: Berberine is a natural compound derived from plants, while Ozempic is a synthetic medication developed specifically for diabetes management.
  • Mechanisms: Berberine's mechanisms of aiding weight loss are still being researched but appear to involve metabolic regulation and potential gut microbiota modulation. Ozempic, on the other hand, primarily acts by reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness.
  • Prescription and availability: Ozempic is a prescription medication that requires medical supervision and approval. Berberine, on the other hand, is available as an over-the-counter supplement – note that fact doesn’t make it danger-free
  • Side effects: Both berberine and Ozempic can have potential side effects. Berberine may cause gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhoea, while Ozempic may lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Berberine's long-term safety profile is still being studied, while Ozempic has undergone extensive clinical trials for safety and efficacy – keep in mind that these studies are regarding its use for diabetes treatment, not for off-label use like weight-loss!

It is crucial to remember that relying solely on a single supplement or drug, such as berberine, to achieve health goals can be a misguided approach. Diet culture and the obsession with quick fixes have created a mindset that places excessive emphasis on weight loss rather than overall health. True health involves a holistic approach that considers multiple factors, including nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep, and mental wellbeing. That’s why we’re giving major side-eye to the frenzy around berberine – this stuff may have properties that promote weight loss, but ultimately, taking these drugs brings no guarantee of health, and considering the gut-turning side effects, it may even result in the opposite effect.

So, what’s the alternative? Well, rather than solely focusing on weight loss or relying on one "miracle" supplement, it is important to adopt a well-rounded approach to health. This includes following a balanced diet rich in whole foods, engaging in regular physical activity and avoiding excess alcohol and sugar.

Whether you’re looking to eat healthier or fight off a sugar addiction, we’re here to help. Join us for the 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. You might even consider gifting your mum with the program! With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:

  1. 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
  2. 90+ member-only recipes.
  3. Community forums to share your journey.
  4. Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
  5. Exclusive content from our panel of experts.

So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!

Leave a comment (all fields required)

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Search our shop