First let’s briefly go over what berberine is. Berberine is an active compound extracted from herbal plants such as Goldenseal, Chinese goldenthread, Rhizoma coptidis, Phellodendron, and barberry The majority of Berberine is extracted into a salt form known as Berberine Hydrochloride.
Berberine is famously known for its hypoglycemic and cholesterol-lowering effects. It possesses significant support on lowering blood glucose, increasing insulin sensitivity, and decreasing overall Hb1Ac levels. One of its main mechanism of action is its activation of AMPK. This special activator metabolizes cellular energy throughout our body. It breaks down glucose for energy, prevents glucose storage and increases glucose uptake into the muscle. It also inhibits lipogenesis (fat production), lowers total cholesterol and oxidizes fatty acids. (1)
Although it presents wonderful benefits for glucose and cholesterol support it lacks intestinal absorption which makes it difficult for our body to utilize berberine’s functionality. With poor bioavailability, we would need to consume large amounts of berberine in order to receive the effects. Another issue with high doses of berberine is that it leads to gastrointestinal discomfort. (2)
When berberine is ingested into our body, it reduces it into its derivative form, dihydroberberine. As dihydroberberine goes through our system, the chemical process oxidizes dihydroberberine back into berberine and enters into our bloodstream. This multi-conversion causes poor absorption. This leads to less berberine in the body to begin with. By ingesting dihydroberberine first, it bypasses the reduction process and immediately converts it back to berberine thus increasing absorption rate by 5-fold. (3)
This eliminates the need to consume high doses of berberine and avoid any possible GI discomfort. Dihydroberberine can be dosed much lower than berberine while providing the same if not, better results than berberine. (4)