Planning to take berberine or inositol?

These supplements have gained popularity for their potential health benefits. Berberine is often recognized for its role in supporting metabolic health, while inositol is lauded for aiding hormonal balance. 

Their combined use has piqued interest due to the possibility of enhanced, complementary effects.

Read on to learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of berberine vs inositol.

What is Berberine?

berberine supplement capsules

Berberine is an isoquinoline alkaloid found in plants like Coptis chinensis and Berberis species [1]. 

This bright yellow, bitter compound has been a key component in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda for centuries. 

Modern research validates its therapeutic potential, indicating its effectiveness in treating various ailments such as diabetes, oral ulcers, and high cholesterol [2].

What is Inositol?

Inositol is a sugar-like substance vital for creating cell membranes and helping cells react to external signals. It also aids insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels [3]. 

Found in many foods, inositol can also be consumed as a supplement. 

It’s thought to potentially ease symptoms of conditions like type 2 diabetes, infertility, bipolar disorder, and polycystic ovary syndrome, although research is limited [4,5,6].

Combined Benefits of Berberine and Inositol

Berberine and inositol are known for their potential health benefits, especially in treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, and high cholesterol [2,4,5,6].

When used together, berberine and inositol exhibit promising benefits, particularly in managing PCOS, diabetes, and cholesterol levels.Let’s go over each of their combined benefits.

  1. Diabetes Management: Berberine, particularly when combined with metformin, shows remarkable efficacy in type 2 diabetes control. A study involving 80 individuals highlighted its ability to improve blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity [7]. Concurrently, inositol demonstrates potential in reducing fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C over a three-month period, suggesting its utility as an adjunct treatment for diabetes [8,9].
blood sugar management and diabetes management with berberine and inositol
  1. Cardiovascular Health: Berberine is acknowledged for its cholesterol-lowering capabilities and heart health improvement [10,11]. A study from 2017 pointed out its potential in heart rate regulation among atrial fibrillation patients [12]. Inositol, targeting metabolic syndrome–a key cardiovascular disease risk factor–shows promise, although its direct impact on heart health merits further exploration [13,14].
  1. PCOS Symptom Alleviation: A 2022 investigation revealed that berberine outperforms metformin in enhancing body composition and hormone levels in PCOS patients [15]. Inositol, particularly effective in reducing insulin resistance, has shown significant benefits in mitigating PCOS symptoms, supported by a comprehensive meta-analysis [16,17].
berberine vs inositol for pcos, pcos representation with womb
  1. Cognitive Health Enhancement: Berberine may contribute to dementia prevention and cognitive function improvement [18]. A 2023 trial indicated its positive impact on cognitive function in schizophrenia patients [19]. Myo-inositol, a variant of inositol, shows potential in easing mental health disorder symptoms, positioning itself as a viable alternative treatment with reduced side effects [20,21].

Specific Benefits of Berberine vs Inositol

Berberine’s potential extends to weight management, with some studies indicating minor improvements in body weight and waist-to-hip ratio [22]. It also shows promise in treating canker sores and supporting cancer treatment, alongside its notable gut health benefits due to its antimicrobial properties [23,24,25].

Inositol shines in boosting fertility, particularly for individuals with low sperm counts, by improving sperm motility and function [26,27].

How to Take Berberine vs Inositol

Berberine is available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, liquids, powders, and topical gels. There are no definitive dosage guidelines, but it’s typically recommended to divide the daily dose into three smaller portions before meals.

Inositol supplements, available as D-chiro-inositol (DCI) and myo-inositol (MI), vary in dosage based on medical conditions and medications. Consultation with a healthcare provider is advisable before supplementing with inositol, especially concerning MI-DCI ratios for fertility [28,29].

Proper Dosage of Berberine vs Inositol

taking berberine and inositol correct dosages

The optimal dosage for berberine ranges from 0.4 to 2 grams daily, while inositol lacks standardized dosage recommendations [30]. Side effects for both supplements are generally minimal, with berberine potentially causing mild gastrointestinal issues like gas, constipation, and nausea, which typically subside within the first four weeks of use [31]. Inositol at high doses, exceeding 12 grams daily, can lead to gastrointestinal distress [32].

Safety Concerns of Berberine vs Inositol

While berberine and inositol are generally safe, berberine should be used cautiously during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Inositol lacks extensive safety data for these groups. Both supplements may interact with certain medications, underscoring the importance of consulting healthcare professionals for personalized advice [30].

Takeaway

Berberine and inositol offer a range of potential health benefits, particularly for managing cardiovascular health, regulating blood sugar, and improving mental well-being. However, individual factors can influence their effectiveness, making it crucial to seek personalized advice from healthcare professionals before starting a new supplement routine.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  1. Song, D., Hao, J., & Fan, D. (2020). Biological properties and clinical applications of berberine. Frontiers of medicine, 14(5), 564–582. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32335802/
  2. Ye, Y., Liu, X., Wu, N., Han, Y., Wang, J., Yu, Y., & Chen, Q. (2021). Efficacy and Safety of Berberine Alone for Several Metabolic Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Frontiers in pharmacology, 12, 653887. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33981233/
  3. López-Gambero, A. J., Sanjuan, C., Serrano-Castro, P. J., Suárez, J., & Rodríguez de Fonseca, F. (2020). The Biomedical Uses of Inositols: A Nutraceutical Approach to Metabolic Dysfunction in Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Biomedicines, 8(9), 295. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32825356/
  4. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. (n.d.). National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/inositol
  5. Chhetri D. R. (2019). Myo-Inositol and Its Derivatives: Their Emerging Role in the Treatment of Human Diseases. Frontiers in pharmacology, 10, 1172. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31680956/
  6. Unfer, V., Facchinetti, F., Orrù, B., Giordani, B., & Nestler, J. (2017). Myo-inositol effects in women with PCOS: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Endocrine connections, 6(8), 647–658. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29042448/
  7. Sanjari, M., Shamsinejad, B., Khazaeli, P., Safi, Z., Mirrashidi, F., & Naghibzadeh-Tahami, A. (2020). Safety and efficacy of Berberis integerrima root extract in patients with type 2 diabetes. A parallel intervention based triple blind clinical trial. Journal of diabetes and metabolic disorders, 19(1), 71–80. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32550158/
  8. DiNicolantonio, J. J., & H O’Keefe, J. (2022). Myo-inositol for insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome and gestational diabetes. Open heart, 9(1), e001989. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35236761/
  9. Pintaudi, B., Di Vieste, G., & Bonomo, M. (2016). The Effectiveness of Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol Treatment in Type 2 Diabetes. International journal of endocrinology, 2016, 9132052. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27807448/
  10. Cai, Y., Xin, Q., Lu, J., Miao, Y., Lin, Q., Cong, W., & Chen, K. (2021). A New Therapeutic Candidate for Cardiovascular Diseases: Berberine. Frontiers in pharmacology, 12, 631100. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33815112/
  11. Atherosclerosis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000171.htm
  12. Zheng, H., Zhu, F., Miao, P., Mao, Z., Redfearn, D. P., & Cao, R. Y. (2017). Antimicrobial Natural Product Berberine Is Efficacious for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation. BioMed research international, 2017, 3146791. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29392132/
  13. Kalra, B., Kalra, S., & Sharma, J. B. (2016). The inositols and polycystic ovary syndrome. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 20(5), 720–724. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27730087/
  14. Caputo, M., Bona, E., Leone, I., Samà, M. T., Nuzzo, A., Ferrero, A., Aimaretti, G., Marzullo, P., & Prodam, F. (2020). Inositols and metabolic disorders: From farm to bedside. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 10(3), 252–259. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32670820/
  15. Mishra, N., Verma, R., & Jadaun, P. (2022). Study on the Effect of Berberine, Myoinositol, and Metformin in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Prospective Randomised Study. Cureus, 14(1), e21781. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35251851/
  16. Greff, D., Juhász, A. E., Váncsa, S., Váradi, A., Sipos, Z., Szinte, J., Park, S., Hegyi, P., Nyirády, P., Ács, N., Várbíró, S., & Horváth, E. M. (2023). Inositol is an effective and safe treatment in polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E, 21(1), 10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36703143/
  17. Shinjyo, N., Parkinson, J., Bell, J., Katsuno, T., & Bligh, A. (2020). Berberine for prevention of dementia associated with diabetes and its comorbidities: A systematic review. Journal of integrative medicine, 18(2), 125–151. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32005442/
  18. Pu, Z., Wen, H., Jiang, H., Hou, Q., & Yan, H. (2023). Berberine improves negative symptoms and cognitive function in patients with chronic schizophrenia via anti-inflammatory effect: a randomized clinical trial. Chinese medicine, 18(1), 41. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37069570/
  19. Inositol. (n.d.). Mental Health America. https://www.mhanational.org/inositol
  20. Chhetri D. R. (2019). Myo-Inositol and Its Derivatives: Their Emerging Role in the Treatment of Human Diseases. Frontiers in pharmacology, 10, 1172. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31680956/
  21. Amini, M. R., Sheikhhossein, F., Naghshi, S., Djafari, F., Askari, M., Shahinfar, H., Safabakhsh, M., Jafari, A., & Shab-Bidar, S. (2020). Effects of berberine and barberry on anthropometric measures: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complementary therapies in medicine, 49, 102337. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32147051/
  22. Jiang, X. W., Zhang, Y., Zhu, Y. L., Zhang, H., Lu, K., Li, F. F., & Peng, H. Y. (2013). Effects of berberine gelatin on recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial in a Chinese cohort. Oral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology and oral radiology, 115(2), 212–217. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23246229/
  23. Rauf, A., Abu-Izneid, T., Khalil, A. A., Imran, M., Shah, Z. A., Emran, T. B., Mitra, S., Khan, Z., Alhumaydhi, F. A., Aljohani, A. S. M., Khan, I., Rahman, M. M., Jeandet, P., & Gondal, T. A. (2021). Berberine as a Potential Anticancer Agent: A Comprehensive Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 26(23), 7368. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34885950/
  24. Wang, H., Zhang, H., Gao, Z., Zhang, Q., & Gu, C. (2022). The mechanism of berberine alleviating metabolic disorder based on gut microbiome. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 12, 854885. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36093200/
  25. Gambioli, R., Forte, G., Buzzaccarini, G., Unfer, V., & Laganà, A. S. (2021). Myo-Inositol as a Key Supporter of Fertility and Physiological Gestation. Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland), 14(6), 504. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34070701/
  26. Roseff, S., & Montenegro, M. (2020). Inositol Treatment for PCOS Should Be Science-Based and Not Arbitrary. International journal of endocrinology, 2020, 6461254. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32308679/
  27. Monastra, G., Vucenik, I., Harrath, A. H., Alwasel, S. H., Kamenov, Z. A., Laganà, A. S., Monti, N., Fedeli, V., & Bizzarri, M. (2021). PCOS and Inositols: Controversial Results and Necessary Clarifications. Basic Differences Between D-Chiro and Myo-Inositol. Frontiers in endocrinology, 12, 660381. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33889133/
  28. Berberine: MedlinePlus Supplements. (n.d.). https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/1126.html#Dosage
  29. Xu, X., Yi, H., Wu, J., Kuang, T., Zhang, J., Li, Q., Du, H., Xu, T., Jiang, G., & Fan, G. (2021). Therapeutic effect of berberine on metabolic diseases: Both pharmacological data and clinical evidence. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie, 133, 110984. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33186794/
  30. Carlomagno, G., & Unfer, V. (2011). Inositol safety: clinical evidences. European review for medical and pharmacological sciences, 15(8), 931–936. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21845803/
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Dr Faisal Rasheed, M.D.

Dr Faisal is a certified Medical Doctor currently carrying the role of a Senior Medical Officer in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of his local hospital. With his vast experience and knowledge in the medical field, Dr Faisal is well-equipped to share educational content that helps readers improve their health and wellness. During his hospital shifts, he diligently cares for and treats patients under him. And during his spare time, he enjoys crafting health and wellness content that inspires readers to make positive changes. LinkedIn

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  • Dr Faisal is a certified Medical Doctor currently carrying the role of a Senior Medical Officer in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of his local hospital. With his vast experience and knowledge in the medical field, Dr Faisal is well-equipped to share educational content that helps readers improve their health and wellness. During his hospital shifts, he diligently cares for and treats patients under him. And during his spare time, he enjoys crafting health and wellness content that inspires readers to make positive changes. LinkedIn

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Dr Faisal is a certified Medical Doctor currently carrying the role of a Senior Medical Officer in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of his local hospital. With his vast experience and knowledge in the medical field, Dr Faisal is well-equipped to share educational content that helps readers improve their health and wellness. During his hospital shifts, he diligently cares for and treats patients under him. And during his spare time, he enjoys crafting health and wellness content that inspires readers to make positive changes. LinkedIn