Berberine helps reverse insulin resistance, which is the underlying driver of PCOS. Correcting insulin resistance helps normalize hormone production by the ovaries; restoring a healthy menstrual cycle and relieving PCOS symptoms.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormone imbalances in young women. It affects approximately 1 in 10 women of reproductive age and is the most common cause of menstrual disturbances and impaired ovulation. This means it’s also a common cause of infertility.

Women with PCOS don’t ovulate regularly, and this means they can’t produce enough progesterone. Under the influence of insulin, the ovaries produce abnormally high levels of male hormones including testosterone. This can cause symptoms like greasy skin, acne, scalp hair loss and abdominal weight gain. The hormone imbalance that creates PCOS makes it extremely difficult to lose weight. Despite eating well and exercising regularly, women with PCOS can often not lose more than a few pounds. This is understandably very distressing, but also ironic when you realize that losing weight can often completely resolve the condition.

Enter berberine. Berberine is a herbal extract with a number of research-proven benefits to metabolism. It is especially beneficial for type 2 diabetics and people with insulin resistance (individuals carrying excess weight around their torso). Studies have shown berberine can help lower insulin, blood sugar and cholesterol, and it even makes weight loss easier.

Berberine is a natural plant extract, found in several different herbs. Examples include goldenseal, barberry, oregon grape and phellodendron. It has a long tradition of use in Chinese Herbal Medicine. Berberine improves insulin sensitivity. If the cells of your body are more sensitive to insulin, your pancreas won’t have to produce as much. It helps to lower elevated blood insulin levels, which means the ovaries won’t produce as many male hormones, relieving symptoms like acne and facial hair.

Berberine also reduces the amount of glucose that is produced inside your liver, and it reduces intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and improves the composition of the gut microbiome (the bacteria and other organisms living in the intestines). A large review of 14 different studies (called a meta-analysis) has shown that berberine is as effective as the most commonly prescribed drugs for type 2 diabetes: metformin, rosiglitazone and glipizide. Metformin is commonly given to women with PCOS in an attempt to get their insulin levels down.

Read more about berberine.