DiHydroBerberine vs Berberine for Blood Sugar & Insulin Levels - Which is Better?
DiHydroBerberine is a supplement that is rapidly gaining popularity within the health and high performance world.
It is quickly becoming known as one of the best Glucose Disposal Agents (GDA), a compound that improves our body’s ability to metabolise glucose and enhance overall metabolic health.
But how does DiHydroBerberine stack up compared to its parent compound Berberine, that’s been around for quite some time?
By the end of this article, you’ll have an insight into both Berberine and DiHydroBerberine and how they regulate blood sugar, as well as a comparison of the two.
For those who want to get straight to the results.
- DiHydroBerberine is one of the 17 metabolites of Berberine
- DiHydroBerberine has an enhanced bioavailability and half life when compared to Berberine
- Both Berberine and DiHydroBerberine support Metabolic Health, though DiHydroBerberine does it better
- The dosage of DiHydroberberine is much less than Berberine
What is Berberine?
Berberine is an alkaloid found in Barberry, Goldenseal, Berberis and many more plants. These plants have been used medicinally in Traditional Chinese Medicine and other forms of herbalism for quite some time.
What are Berberine’s benefits?
Currently Berberine is a well known compound within the natural health, bodybuilding and functional medicine world. It has 2 main uses within these realms, promoting both gut health and metabolic health.
On the gut side, it is used to promote the proliferation of beneficial microbes such as Akkermansia, and kill off microbes we don’t want (anti-microbial). It also improves tight junction integrity which can improve intestinal hyperpermeability (aka leaky gut).
I could go on and on about the gut effects of Berberine, however, the main thing we want to speak about is its effect on blood sugar, after all that’s what this article is about.
Berberine for blood sugar
Will Berberine lower blood sugar? How about HbA1c? Cholesterol? Triglycerides?
Will it improve insulin sensitivity?
Yes to all of the above.
There are numerous studies showing that Berberine lowers blood sugar, HbA1c, insulin, triglycerides and cholesterol.
A 2018 meta-analysis showed that, compared to placebo, Berberine lowered fasting blood glucose, fasting postprandial blood glucose and HbA1c better than placebo in patients with type 2 diabetes [R].
Berberine for Insulin Resistance
A 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis also showed improvements in metabolic markers. Berberine reduced Triglycerides, Total Cholesterol and LDL while improving HDL. It was also shown to reduce insulin resistance amongst type II diabetics and work to prevent diabetic encephalopathy, brain damage associated with diabetes [R].
How does Berberine lower blood sugar?
There are many mechanisms by which Berberine can improve our blood glucose levels and overall metabolic health.
One of the most important is its effect on raising AMP-K levels, a cellular switch that can improve our ability to metabolise carbs/fats/improve metabolic health [R]. Beyond that, Berberine increases Adiponectin [R], supports Autophagy [R], enhances liver health [R] and restores pancreatic beta cell function (meaning it can support the body in producing a healthy amount of insulin) [R].
DiHydroBerberine vs Berberine
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When we take in Berberine, it is broken down into 17 different metabolites, DiHydroBerberine is one of these. Assuming we have the necessary gut microbes, Berberine undergoes a chemical reaction known as reduction, where 2 hydrogens are added to it, making DiHydroBerberine.
Taking DiHydroBerberine by itself will eventually lead to an increase in Berberine in both the bloodstream and cell.
Is DiHydroBerberine better than Berberine?
For Blood Glucose control and overall metabolic health, the short answer is yes.
For a number of reasons.
DiHydroBerberine bioavailability and half life
DiHydroBerberine passes through the intestinal wall 5 times better than Berberine [R]. Additionally, for those with compromised microbiomes, they may lack the necessary bacteria to convert Berberine to DiHydroBerberine. Thankfully supplementing with DiHydroBerberine is able to overcome this, as it does not rely on bacteria to get Berberine into our bloodstream and cells [R].
Human and mice studies have corroborated these findings. In a mice study (2015) comparing DiHydroBerberine and Berberine, DiHydroBerberine had the better intestinal absorption, especially in the mice that had a poor microbiome [R].
A recent human study (2022) comparing DiHydroBerberine to Berberine backed up these results. It showed that lower doses of DiHydroBerberine (40 and 80% of the Berberine dose) were able to raise blood levels of Berberine more effectively than taking Berberine [R].
Additionally, DiHydroBerberine has a longer half life than Berberine, meaning its effects last longer in the body. DiHydroBerberine has a half life of 8 hours, while Berberine is only 4 hours [R].
DiHydroBerberine gives us more Berberine for a longer time in our bloodstream compared to supplementing with standard Berberine.
DiHydroBerberine vs Berberine for insulin and blood sugar
A mice study (2008) looking at the effects of DiHydroBerberine vs Berberine for metabolic health found (unsurprisingly) that DiHydroBerberine was the most effective. At the same dose of 100mg/kg/day Berberine showed no significant effect on glucose, body fat and triglycerides, while DiHydroBerberine led to a 44% improvement in insulin sensitivity as well as more favourable triglycerides and body fat levels. When the dose of Berberine was increased to 560mg/kg/day it then began to show comparable effects to DHB [R].
Side effects of Berberine and DiHydroBerberine
It is well known that Berberine can lead to some uncomfortable sensations in the gut. This is due to what we mentioned above, Berberine displays anti-microbial properties and can kill off certain microbes. Supplements or drugs (such as antibiotics) that have anti-microbial properties often have a number of gut side-effects, this is to be expected.
This is not to say Berberine is ‘bad,’ in fact one of its main uses is altering the microbiome.
However, not everybody is wanting or needing to alter their microbiome with a strong anti-microbial such as Berberine. That’s where DiHydroBerberine comes in. At a much lower dose than Berberine, DiHydroBerberine doesn’t display as many gut side-effects [R, R].
NNB Nutrition are the patent holders of a form of DiHydroBerberine known as GlucoVantage (the form of DiHydroBerberine used in our supplement).
Based on extrapolations from rodent and human studies, NNB Nutrition have given a suggested dose of 100-200mg of DiHydroBerberine, 1-2 times per day. Equating to 1-2 capsules 1-2 times per day.
Compared to Berberine’s standard dose for blood sugar of 500mg 3 times per day, we can see the dose is substantially lower for DiHydroBerberine.
Which Berberine is best?
On the metabolic side of things, it appears that DiHydroBerberine outperforms Berberine.
It is absorbed more easily, lasts longer in the bloodstream, requires a much lower dose, has less side effects and controls blood glucose and other metabolic parameters much more effectively than standard Berberine.
So, now the next question arises.
Where do we get DiHydroBerberine supplements?
As you would expect (or rather hope), we have DiHydroBerberine for sale at Revivify Health.
DihydroBerberine is produced by the company, Novel Nutrients, a company which Jordan and I (Stefan) from Revivify are part owners of, alongside our colleague Lucas of Ergogenic Health.
Our product is 100% DihydroBerberine without the use of any fillers or flow agents.
DiHydroBerberine Supplement Australia
Novel Nutrients is proudly Australian owned.
If you’re not from Australia, no need to worry, we ship worldwide.