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Doctor says weight loss supplement berberine is not tested

Multiple social media claims insist that the herbal supplement berberine can be used to lose weight.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's a weight loss trend that's gaining popularity on social media, but is it effective, or even safe? 

Berberine is an herbal supplement that does not require a prescription and is believed to curb your appetite and lower your blood sugar levels. But is this miracle drug too good to be true?

For that answer First Coast News spoke with HCA Florida Memorial Hospital bariatric surgeon Dr. Husain Abbas, who says active ingredients in herbal supplements, like berberine, could actually negatively affect medication that you're already taking.

"For example, if you're taking something for your heart, an aspirin for example, that may increase the effect of aspirin, leading to bleeding or decrease the effect of aspirin," said Dr. Abbas.

Dr. Abbas said that there are no scientific studies that test berberine's effectiveness on weight loss, but it does have other benefits.

"It is known for its anti-inflammatory effects," said Dr. Abbas, "so it's known for arthritis, improving lipid and cholesterol."

But not necessarily for shedding pounds.

"Weight loss is a complicated issue," said Dr. Abbas, "obesity is a complicated issue."

So that leaves the old school method of getting in shape for beach season... eating healthy and exercising. 

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