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When Is the Best Time to Take Berberine

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
A woman laying in bed.

Berberine is an alkaloid compound found in several plants, including goldenseal, barberry, and Oregon grape, with a rich history dating back hundreds of years. Initially discovered and isolated by German chemists in the 19th century, berberine has since garnered significant attention for its pharmacological properties. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurvedic medicine, and Native American medicine practitioners have used berberine to address gastrointestinal problems, infections, and inflammation responses.

Modern research shows that berberine supplements may offer even more comprehensive health benefits. In addition to its traditional uses, it has shown promise in helping to manage weight [1], regulate cholesterol levels [2], and improve insulin sensitivity [3].

When you start taking berberine (or any new supplement), it’s good to ask questions like “Can I take berberine on an empty stomach?” and “How long does berberine take to work?” – this curiosity will help you get the most benefits from berberine so that you can reach your health goals faster.

Let’s answer some common questions about implementing a berberine supplement into your routine.

When Is the Best Time of Day to Take Berberine?

Berberine has a half-life of about five hours [4], which means your body will metabolize and eliminate half of the dose in a short timeframe. Taking berberine throughout the day – after breakfast and dinner, for example, may be more beneficial than just in the morning or at night. Distributing your intake can help maintain a stable concentration of berberine in your system.

Can You Take Berberine on an Empty Stomach?

It’s recommended to take berberine with a glass of water about half an hour before a meal. Berberine isn't known to have serious side effects. However, it can cause some digestive discomfort when you start your new supplement routine – common symptoms include an upset stomach (nausea), bloating, diarrhea, or constipation [5]. If you have an adverse reaction to taking berberine on an empty stomach, consult your healthcare practitioner to develop a routine that works best for you.

Can You Take Berberine After a Meal?

Yes, you can take berberine after meals – you don’t only have to take it on an empty stomach. In fact, it may help reduce the risk of stomach or digestive discomfort associated with taking berberine before meals.

Can You Take Berberine Before Bed?

Berberine is safe to take before bed. There may even be additional benefits to taking it at night. A recent study found that including berberine in a nighttime supplement routine for one week may help you sleep better, manage weight, and improve your memory [6].

How Long Does Berberine Take to Work?

The time it takes for berberine to work can vary depending on several factors, including your health status, the dosage you take, and the desired outcome. Some people may experience benefits relatively quickly, particularly for conditions like blood sugar regulation or digestive issues. However, for other conditions, such as high cholesterol or cardiovascular health, it may take several weeks or even months to see noticeable changes [1].

Things to Consider When Taking Berberine

Whether you take berberine before or after meals, consistency in taking the supplement as directed is essential for optimal results. Keep in mind that berberine’s effectiveness may vary from person to person. As always, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance on using berberine or any other supplements.

References (6)
  1. Ilyas, Zahra, et al. "The Effect of Berberine on Weight Loss in Order to Prevent Obesity: A Systematic Review." Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, vol. 127, July 2020, p. 110137.
  2. Zhao, Jie V., et al. "Effect of Berberine on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Mechanistic Randomized Controlled Trial." Nutrients, vol. 13, no. 8, 26 July 2021, p. 2550.
  3. Yang, Jing, et al."Berberine Improves Insulin Sensitivity by Inhibiting Fat Store and Adjusting Adipokines Profile in Human Preadipocytes and Metabolic Syndrome Patients." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: ECAM, vol. 2012, 2012
  4. "What to Know about Berberine: Benefits, Uses and Side Effects." Cleveland Clinic, health.clevelandclinic.org/berberine-for-insulin-resistance-weight-loss.
  5. LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]
  6. Wang, Qingquan, et al. "Therapeutic Effect of Berberine on Insomnia Rats by ErbB Signaling Pathway." Medical Science Monitor, vol. 26, 5 July 2020.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


A bottle of Berberine