The hashtag #berberine has racked up 58million views on TikTok.
Dozens of users of the plant-based supplement have documented unbelievable weight-loss transformations over just one month, crediting the capsules.
Dubbed ‘nature’s Ozempic’, after the miracle slimming jab, berberine can be bought online easily, including from Amazon and eBay, for as little as 20p per pill.
One woman claimed the supplement, sold by brands including Nutriflair and Ancient Bliss, helped her shed up to 7lbs (3.2kg) in six weeks.
Before-and-after pictures show the incredible transformation of Savannah Crosby, a TikToker from Texas.
In an update five weeks after beginning to take the supplement berberine, Ms Crosby shared another before and after photo detailing her weight loss transformation
Sharing her weekly progress with before and after photos, at six weeks she claimed she weighed 180.8lbs (82kg). ‘I definitely have seen just a change in my body the way my clothes fit me. I’m probably losing inches,’ she said. ‘I am very consistent’, she added. ‘I’m taking it [berberine] every day, drinking a lot of water’
In another six week update, she shared before and after photos showcasing a noticeably slimmer physique wearing the same pair of pink shorts
However, the 34-year-old has complained about the capsule’s side effects, which include nausea, diarrhoea and constipation. And experts warn there is no evidence that it can aide weight loss.
She began using the supplement seven weeks ago. At the same time, she also changed her diet and lifestyle, as recommended.
Before starting her weight-loss journey, she weighed in at 187.4lbs (85kg) and described herself as ‘frustrated’.
She said: ‘I’ve been working out for six, seven, eight years. I’ve been working out for a long time. Weight lifting, cardio, you name it.
What is berberine?
Berberine is an organic compound found in plants such as goldenseal, barberry, Oregon grape, and tree turmeric.
Available to buy online, including on Amazon or eBay, it is normally taken as a dietary supplement.
The capsules are also becoming increasingly popular among those with polycystic ovary syndrome to help balance hormones.
The hashtag #berberine has racked up over 58million views on TikTok, with #berberineforweightloss hitting 1.7million.
But medics warned today that when taken solely for weight loss, the tablets ‘can be dangerous’ and raised serious concerns over its effectiveness.
Dr Simon Cork, a Senior Lecturer in Physiology at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, told MailOnline: ‘I have only been able to find one clinical trial using berberine for weight loss.’
In the ‘very small’ trial involving just seven people, ‘there was no significant decrease in body weight observed over six weeks, and indeed some patients gained weight during the study,’ he added.
Tom Quinn, director of external affairs at the eating disorder charity Beat, said: ‘Weight-loss supplements like berberine can be very attractive to people with eating disorders as they seemingly offer fast results.
‘However, using supplements can be dangerous as they can exacerbate eating disorder behaviours and make people more unwell.’
‘For the past two years I’ve been able to maintain [my weight]. I was still wanting to lose weight but my body wouldn’t budge.
‘Then in November, I didn’t change anything. I was eating the same, working out the same, no changes and all of a sudden I started gaining weight,’ she added.
Despite reducing the number of calories she was consuming, she claims that the scales didn’t shift.
In an effort to slim down she took to TikTok to record her experience of the supplement, taking three 600mg capsules daily — one thirty minutes before each meal.
‘I work out four to five days out of the week and I do weightlifting and 8,000 steps a day. I track my calories and I try to eat 80:20,’ she said it one TikTok video.
‘So 80 per cent of the time I’m eating healthy but that doesn’t mean that I will not go and get Chick-Fil-A for lunch because it just works for me and my plans.’
Sharing her weekly progress with before and after photos, at six weeks she claimed she weighed 180.8lbs (82kg).
‘I definitely have seen just a change in my body the way my clothes fit me. I’m probably losing inches,’ she said.
‘I am very consistent’, she added. ‘I’m taking it [berberine] every day, drinking a lot of water.’
TikTok users have also commented underneath Ms Crosby’s videos to rave about their own experiences with the supplement.
‘I’ve lost 10 pounds. I am working out six days a week, sometimes seven days.
‘I do monitor my eating as well. I love it,’ Shalina Marcell Rami wrote.
Another commented: ‘I’m starting week three and down seven lbs.’
In another video posted earlier this week, Ms Crosby said: ‘Berberine really is nature’s Ozempic.
‘I know it may not be as potent as Ozempic or it may not work as quickly as Ozempic but it still has a lot of the same effects that it provides you with: appetite control, helping with your insulin resistance, your metabolism.
‘It’s just a little bit more of a natural approach if you cannot afford to take Ozempic.’
But in her seven week update she also complained of experiencing nausea.
‘All in all I still would say berberine is working great for me,’ she said.
‘I do notice some of my hunger coming back a little bit and I don’t know if that means I have to increase my dosage but it’s fine, I’m working through it.’
But in her seven week update she also complained of experiencing two waves in nausea over two nights. ‘All in all I still would say berberine is working great for me,’ she said. ‘I do notice some of my hunger coming back a little bit and I don’t know if that means I have to increase my dosage but it’s fine, I’m working through it.’ Common side-effects of the capsules include diarrhoea, constipation, stomach discomfort and nausea
On one video watched over 1.1million times, @beingsavv shared before and after photographs using the supplement for 30 days. She said: ‘So last week I lost 0.5lbs, so the scale still went down, bring my total in 30 days to 6.5lbs, which is major for me.’ She added: ‘So I started berberine because I was doing all the right things, working out, calorie deficit, eating right and my weight was increasing instead of decreasing’
TikTok users have also commented underneath Ms Crosby’s videos to rave about their own experiences with the supplement. ‘I’ve lost 10 pounds. I am working out six days a week, sometimes seven days. I do monitor my eating as well. I love it,’ Shalina Marcell Rami, wrote. Another commented: ‘I’m starting week three and down seven lbs’
In another clip, seen more than 83,000 times, @briana_parra2 shared before and after photos of seven months of berberine usage. ‘I use puritans pride 500mg’, she told a user who commented on her video. Before starting to take berberine she weighed 285lbs (129.2kg)
Common side-effects of the capsules include diarrhoea, constipation, stomach discomfort and nausea.
Medics advise avoiding berberine when pregnant after research found the supplement could cause jaundice in infants and even increase the risk of kernicterus, a type of brain damage that can prove fatal.
The weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy have earned rave reviews in recent months among influencers, celebrities and slimmers.
The drugs work by binding to a protein called the GLP-1 receptor, which triggers hormones in the brain that keep the stomach full and tell the body to stop eating and avoid cravings.
However, the mechanism behind berberine supposedly working as a weight loss supplement is unclear.
Advocates say the plant extract — a traditional Chinese medicine — can also tackle ailments such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and digestion problems.
Some preliminary research suggests it may increase the body’s metabolism — but it is not thought to curb appetite.
In another video posted to TikTok, user Briana Parra she shows herself before she started taking the supplement, when she weighed in at 285lbs (129.2kg), describing herself as not being ‘able to drop the weight’.
The image then cuts to a much slimmer Ms Parra seven months into using berberine.
‘I use puritans pride 500mg’, she told her commenters.
She started noticing she was losing weight ‘about a month or so after being consistent’, she said, adding: ‘Be consistent, things will change and the scale will move.’
Medics however warned MailOnline that the trend ‘can be dangerous’ and raised serious concerns over its effectiveness.
A spokesperson at the National Centre for Eating Disorders (NCFED) told MailOnline the supplement was ‘another quick-fix solution to a complex problem’.
They said: ‘Berberine will not sort out the emotional eating, the mindset and social issues that cause obesity.
Alex Jacobs, CEO of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM), also told MailOnline: ‘The irresponsible use of a herbal extract as a quick-fix and risky weight-loss technique goes completely against the high standards practice of Chinese herbal medicine.’
He added: ‘Professionally trained RCHM members only dispense herbal medicines after a consultation that takes into account the individual safety needs of the patient.’