Dihydroberberine - Health benefits, side effects, and how to use and more!

Medically reviewed by — Written by Erik Abramowitz, FNTP
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Dihydroberberine

Dihydroberberine Benefits

Dihydroberberine is a powerful dietary supplement that hacks your metabolism and enhances your body’s ability to get blood glucose into a healthy range.

In fact, this “super berberine” may actually deliver better quality results than regular berberine.

As it has comparative pharmacokinetics to regular berberine, you find many of the same benefits including enhanced insulin sensitivity, healthy blood sugar support, and enhanced fatty acid uptake.

For those interested in longevity, dihydroberberine dhb can even be considered a potent anti aging ingredient.

If you’re currently taking, or are interested in taking berberine, read on to find out more about this innovative dietary supplement as you may be pleasantly surprised with some of my findings.

What Is Dihydroberberine

Dihydroberberine is a specific form of berberine that delivers similar benefits.

To truly elucidate this compound, we must first review how berberine works.

Berberine

Dry berberis heap on the desk

Berberine is a naturally occurring isoquinoline derivative alkaloid.

It is found in various plants such as the species of the Coptis, Hydrastis, and Berberis genus.

Berberine is widely known to lower blood sugar levels and blood lipid levels.

Its action to lower blood sugar levels is by increasing insulin sensitivity, largely driven by reducing circulating blood lipids in the body.

Berberine’s ability to lower circulating blood lipids is through its effect on the liver by increasing cellular uptake of fatty acids through the hepatic low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors and action on hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 alpha (HNF-1 alpha).

This increase in fat absorption by liver cells will allow the liver to metabolize the fatty acids.

All of this suggests that berberine can be a supplement to conventional antidiabetic therapy.1Zheng Li, Ya-Na Geng, Jian-Dong Jiang, and Wei-Jia Kong, Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Berberine in the Treatment of Diabetes MellitusEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014

AMPK activation

In addition, berberine helps in reducing blood lipid levels by AMP activated protein kinase or AMPK activation, which can help in fatty acid oxidation or the breaking down of fatty acids, and to alter cellular activity to reduce fat production.

Lastly, berberine exerts its anti-inflammatory effect as an antioxidant, and has been suggested to be beneficial in weight loss, maintaining cardiovascular health, certain neurological disorders, and mood disorders.2Zheng Li, Ya-Na Geng, Jian-Dong Jiang, and Wei-Jia Kong, Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Berberine in the Treatment of Diabetes MellitusEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 20143Feng‐Hao Geng et al, Berberine improves mesenteric artery insulin sensitivity through up‐regulating insulin receptor‐mediated signalling in diabetic ratsBr J Pharmacol. 20164Jie Fan et al, Pharmacological effects of berberine on mood disordersJ Cell Mol Med. 20195Jia-Wen Shou et al, Therapeutic Efficacies of Berberine against Neurological Disorders: An Update of Pharmacological Effects and MechanismsCells. 2022

Despite these advantages, this regular berberine is known to be poorly absorbed by the intestines and eliminated by the liver and kidneys, making it poorly bioavailable.

This major problem in ordinary berberine leads to the discovery and production of its highly bioavailable form, dihydroberberine (DHB).

Dihydroberberine vs Berberine

Although dihydroberberine and ordinary berberine have comparative pharmacokinetics, dihydroberberine (DHB) is a more bioavailable form of berberine as it has a better intestinal absorption rate.

Therefore, it is more effective in lowering blood sugar and blood lipids than standard berberine.

Below are some examples of DHBs benefits.

Dihydroberberine Benefits

Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin sensitivity is essential in maintaining optimum metabolic health as it can help the body respond better to the different metabolic processes.

Insulin is a hormone responsible for altering blood sugar and is essential in promoting fatty acid absorption by fat cells.

Insulin and metabolic syndrome

When there is an abnormally prolonged increase in blood sugar and fatty acids, it will result in persistently increased insulin levels leading to metabolic syndrome, a condition wherein there is insulin resistance.

Clinical studies have shown that dihydroberberine can help increase insulin sensitivity by lowering blood glucose by increased lipid oxidation, leading to increased insulin sensitivity.

Once treated, it will improve insulin sensitivity which allows for increased glucose uptake by insulin in the cells, allowing for better glucose metabolism.6Zheng Li et al, Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Berberine in the Treatment of Diabetes MellitusEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014

Healthy Blood Sugar

healthy blood glucose uptake

Dihydroberberine’s ability to increase insulin sensitivity means better glucose uptake by your cells which leads to healthy blood sugar levels.

This ultimately helps in treating and preventing diabetes mellitus.

Diabetes mellitus and dihydroberberine

Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common chronic diseases in western cultures.

Type 2 diabetes can be directly attributed to poor blood sugar regulation.

Dihydriberberine dhb seems to deliver the healthy blood sugar support you need for staving off diabetes.

Clinical studies on dihydroberberine as a dietary supplement show that it can help maintain a normal range of blood sugar better than regular berberine because it achieves more levels of berberine in the blood than just regular berberine.7Jessica M Moon et al, Absorption Kinetics of Berberine and Dihydroberberine and Their Impact on Glycemia: A Randomized, Controlled, Crossover Pilot TrialNutrients. 20218Yinshan Wang et al, Efficacy and safety of berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes with insulin resistanceMedicine (Baltimore). 2019

Anti-inflammatory

Too much intake of glucose and fats make the body prone to oxidative stress, a widely known contributor to developing a medical condition called diabetes mellitus.

Due to oxidative stress, there is an increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can damage our body’s cells, leading to cell death, which can include the insulin-producing beta islet cells in the pancreas.

Dihydroberberine acts to decrease the levels of malondialdehyde and increase the levels of glutathione and superoxide dismutase, which are markers of oxidative stress.

Alterations in the levels of the markers would allow researchers in clinical studies to conclude that it possesses antioxidant and, in connection, antiinflammatory activity like many other natural antioxidants.9Zheng Li et al, Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Berberine in the Treatment of Diabetes MellitusEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014

Power Antioxidant

Not only is dihydroberberine more effective in maintaining normal levels of blood glucose and blood lipids, but this form of berberine also delivers antioxidant support.

As an antioxidant, dihydroberberine helps in maintaining cellular homeostasis.

Cardiovascular Health

Aside from just maintaining healthy blood sugar support and reducing circulating free fatty acids, dihydroberberine has the potential to aid in improving cardiovascular health.

In maintaining good cardiovascular health, dihydroberberine has several mechanisms directed at the blood vessels and the heart.

Based on clinical studies, it aids in treating and preventing atherosclerosis by its anti-inflammatory action, inhibition of platelet activation, and inhibition of thickening of the blood vessel walls.

Furthermore, dihydroberberine also exerts its effects on the heart, treating heart failure and improving blood flow from the heart into circulation.10Xiaojun Feng et al, Berberine in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases: From Mechanisms to TherapeuticsTheranostics. 2019

Weight loss

It is widely known that dihydroberberine exerts its action on AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), leading to increased fatty acid oxidation.

Therefore, it is suggested that it can be used as a natural weight loss support for obese patients who are trying to lose weight.

In a systemic review, dihydroberberine helps in treating obesity through its actions on gut microbiota in the intestines, decreased fat production by fat cells, increased intestinal absorption rate through gluconeogenesis, and increased fat breakdown by AMPK.

These mechanisms are a powerful combination that ultimately leads to fat loss.

Dihydroberberine in conjunction with a proper diet and exercise is a potent way to treat obesity, promote fat loss, and obtain the healthiest results.11ZahraIlyas et al, The effect of Berberine on weight loss in order to prevent obesity: A systematic reviewBiomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. July 2020

Diyhdroberberine’s Cognitive Benefits

Due to the fact that blood sugar metabolism plays a major role in cognition, dihydroberberine dhb exerts some potent bioactive benefits on the brain.

Mood Enhancer – Anxiety and depression

Dihydroberberine shows promise as a mood-enhancing nootropic.

It exerts a myriad of effects in the central nervous system such as alteration of levels of norepinephrine, activation of receptors for serotonin, increased number of receptors for oxytocin, and regulating gut microbiota.

These changes in the balance of neurotransmitters and their promoted effects on their receptors leads to anxiolytic effects and enhanced mood in anxiety and depression, respectively.12Jia-Wen Shou et al, Therapeutic Efficacies of Berberine against Neurological Disorders: An Update of Pharmacological Effects and MechanismsCells. 2022

Memory and Learning

Cognitive impairment can result from various causes, including trauma, medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

In these cases, it boils down to one thing – neuroinflammation or inflammation in the cells of the central nervous system including neurons and supporting cells in the nervous system.

Dihydroberberine, being a powerful antioxidant and known to reduce blood glucose levels, combats oxidative stress resulting in reduced inflammation.

In effect, it improves memory and cognitive impairment in clinical studies by controlling blood sugar, improved response to neurotransmitters by the brain, and ultimately improved learning and memory enhancement.13PravinkumarBhutada et al, Protection of cholinergic and antioxidant system contributes to the effect of berberine ameliorating memory dysfunction in rat model of streptozotocin-induced diabetesBehavioural Brain Research. 201114Kaifu Wang et al Berberine Ameliorates Spatial Learning Memory Impairment and Modulates Cholinergic Anti-Inflammatory Pathway in Diabetic RatsFront Pharmacol. 2019

Neuroprotection

Stroke

Stroke is caused either by a large blood clot in the brain or by severe bleeding from the blood vessels in the brain, which is a medical emergency and should be attended by a healthcare professional.

The resulting damage in the brain from stroke can cause long-lasting disability in cognition or in motor movement, therefore a need for protecting the brain cells from further damage by lack of oxygen supply or by exposure to reactive oxygen species.

Dihydroberberine, a powerful antiinflammatory agent, exerts to prevent further damage in the brain by hunting down reactive oxygen species.

Aside from its anti-inflammatory action, it can also cause the production of new blood vessels, also known as angiogenesis, which can help in creating a new blood supply to the brain, further proving its neuroprotective effect.15Jia-Wen Shou et al, Therapeutic Efficacies of Berberine against Neurological Disorders: An Update of Pharmacological Effects and MechanismsCells. 2022

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by neurofibrillary tangles and beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, leading to impaired memory recall.

One of the effects of such abnormalities is the resulting damage from free radicals and reactive oxygen species.

Dihydroberberine acts by targeting these oxidizers by promoting the production of glutathione to combat oxidative damage, and by activating enzymes that specifically break down these abnormal proteins.

In addition to the standard medications for Alzheimer’s disease, dietary supplementation with dihydroberberine is also useful.16Jia-Wen Shou et al, Therapeutic Efficacies of Berberine against Neurological Disorders: An Update of Pharmacological Effects and MechanismsCells. 2022

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is caused by the degeneration of neurons that produce dopamine, leading to tremors, rigidity, and problems in gait.

Current medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease are only useful in preventing the progression of the disease, but not in curing it.

The action of dihydroberberine on AMPK and on inflammasomes prevented further damage to remaining neurons by preventing phagocytosis of the neurons and by preventing inflammatory cascades from occurring.17Jia-Wen Shou et al, Therapeutic Efficacies of Berberine against Neurological Disorders: An Update of Pharmacological Effects and MechanismsCells. 2022

Huntington’s disease

Huntington’s disease or Huntington’s chorea is a genetically inherited disorder that results in unpredictable, irregular, and involuntary movements of the arms and legs.

The cause of Huntington’s disease is abnormal genetic coding, causing to produce the abnormal huntingtin protein, disrupting neuronal transmission.

Dihydroberberine helps to promote phagocytosis of abnormal cells to decrease the amount and accumulation of the huntingtin protein.18Jia-Wen Shou et al, Therapeutic Efficacies of Berberine against Neurological Disorders: An Update of Pharmacological Effects and MechanismsCells. 2022

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

When there is head trauma, chances are there will be a traumatic brain injury which can cause a variety of symptoms for the patients such as headache, dizziness, and projectile vomiting.

Much like a stroke, the bleed from the trauma will result in oxidative damage to the neurons.

Studies show that dihydroberberine prevents further damage due to its anti-inflammatory effect by preventing the activation of glial cells which are the cause of the inflammation.19Jianping Wang , Yamin Zhang, Neuroprotective effect of berberine agonist against impairment of learning and memory skills in severe traumatic brain injury via Sirt1/p38 MAPK expressionMol Med Rep. 201820Xiang-Hua Zhang et al, Berberine Ameliorates Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Injury via Induction of Sirtuin 1 and Inhibiting HMGB1/Nf-κB PathwayFront. Pharmacol. 202021Chien-Cheng Chen , Tai-Ho Hung, Chao Yu Lee, Liang-Fei Wang, Chun-Hu Wu, , Chia-Hua Ke, and Szu-Fu Chen, Berberine Protects against Neuronal Damage via Suppression of Glia-Mediated Inflammation in Traumatic Brain InjuryPLoS One. 2014

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is the result of neuronal overactivity caused by abnormal signaling.

This would result in the patient having tics or uncontrollable, repetitive movements of the extremities with salivation and upward rolling of the eyeballs.

It is said that dihydroberberine can alleviate the symptoms by a variety of mechanisms such as combating oxidative damage and alleviating inflammatory damage.22Jia-Wen Shou et al, Therapeutic Efficacies of Berberine against Neurological Disorders: An Update of Pharmacological Effects and MechanismsCells. 2022

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a form of psychosis that results from the mind-altering effects of dopamine.

Symptoms such as persecutory delusions, abnormal thinking, and odd behavior are part of schizophrenia, often diagnosed by a healthcare professional.

Dihydroberberine can improve impairments in schizophrenics, with the mechanism by which it acts will still need further study.23Jia-Wen Shou et al, Therapeutic Efficacies of Berberine against Neurological Disorders: An Update of Pharmacological Effects and MechanismsCells. 2022

Anti-Aging/Longevity

Wrinkles and dark spots are a result of exposure to reactive oxygen species, causing DNA damage.

Dihydroberberine acts on to activate AMPK, resulting in healthier cells, promoting cellular longevity.

Cellular longevity is achieved by counteracting cellular senescense.

Cellular senescence is a process that leads to permanent arrest on cell proliferation.

AMPK and aging

AMPK is one of the main regulators in energy metabolism, stress resistance, and maintaining cellular protein homeostasis.

In a study, it was found out that aging causes a decline in AMPK signaling, and in turn, causes increased proteolysis, leading to decreased cellular proliferation.24Zhifang Xu, Rhizoma Coptidis and Berberine as a Natural Drug to Combat Aging and Aging-Related Diseases via Anti-Oxidation and AMPK ActivationAging Dis. 2017

Dihydroberberine and aging

In cell studies, the AMPK activation resulted in increased gene expression on protein synthesis and lipid synthesis.

Production of these basic building blocks lead to increased cellular proliferation and maintenance of cellular integrity.

Therefore counteracting the aging process and promoting longevity.

Recommended Dosage

Glucovantage dihydroberberine recommends 100mg 30 minutes before your biggest carbohydrate-dense meals up to 3 times per day.

It’s also been observed that four doses of a 100 or 200 mg dose of dihydroberberine safely produce significant concentrations of plasma berberine 25Jessica M Moon et al, Absorption Kinetics of Berberine and Dihydroberberine and Their Impact on Glycemia: A Randomized, Controlled, Crossover Pilot TrialNutrients. 2021

Side Effects/Safety

Dihydroberberine is a safe and effective nutritional supplement to complement conventional medication, lifestyle changes, and exercise.

Studies conducted on DHBs effectiveness and safety profile suggest the side effects of dihydroberberine are mainly GI distress and nausea.

As it is more bioavailable than berberine, a lower dose of it is required to maintain its effects.26Jessica M Moon wt al, Absorption Kinetics of Berberine and Dihydroberberine and Their Impact on Glycemia: A Randomized, Controlled, Crossover Pilot TrialNutrients. 2021

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CONCLUSION

As you can see dihydroberberine dhb is one of the most exciting dietary supplements on the market today.

For those in need of healthy blood sugar support, this powerful molecule may be the best available tool.

With its ability to lower blood sugar, the powerful dihydroberberine extract will help you achieve optimal metabolic health which is necessary to treat cure or prevent many chronic diseases.

Be sure to ask your healthcare professional about dihydroberberine to see if its right for you.

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Author

Erik Abramowitz is a health coach, certified nutritional therapist, and biohacker. He is an advocate for nootropics and believes in using science to improve people's lives. Erik is also a new dad and loves spending time with his son. Before becoming a health coach, Erik was a stand-up comedian. He toured the country and performed at some of the top comedy clubs. But, after getting married and having a child, Erik decided to pursue a more meaningful career path. Now, Erik helps others achieve their health goals through his coaching practice and online programs. He is passionate about helping people feel their best, both physically and mentally.

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