6 things to know about supplement dubbed 'nature's Ozempic'

Berberine, a supplement made from plants, is gaining popularity across social media and online searches as a possible alternative to the expensive, prescription-only drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro, NBC News reports.

The two prescription drugs made by pharmaceutical giants Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly were originally developed as Type 2 diabetes treatments, but their weight loss properties have fueled a rise in demand. Both are expected to soon receive approval as weight loss specific treatments in coming months, The Wall Street Journal reported April 3.

In the meantime, individuals who don't have a prescription for one of the above are turning to alternatives including Berberine for its alleged weight loss properties, affordability and Amazon Prime-level accessibility. But, experts warn the supplement has not been studied in large, peer-reviewed cases to examine its properties or side effects related to weight and while it may have some benefits, to proceed with caution. 

Here are six other notes about Berberine: 

  1. The compound is found in plants like goldenseal, goldthread, European barberry and tree turmeric.

  2. As a natural supplement, it is not required by the FDA to undergo a full-scale, clinical trial.
  3. Some studies have found that it helps lower blood glucose levels.
  4. It has been historically used in other countries for treating gastrointestinal issues.

  5. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians notes that the supplement has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and that a past study with a very small sample size showed it may help with weight loss.

  6. A 2008 study said that the supplement was found to have only a modest effect on lipid metabolism.

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