Are turmeric and berberine the same thing?

Do you want to reap the benefits of natural, wonder drugs without fearing adverse side effects?

Berberine is one of nature’s best-kept secrets – a potent medication with little to no adverse side effects. A natural alkaloid, berberine is isolated from the Berberidaceae family of plants [1].

For thousands of years, berberine from these plants has been used to treat ailments ranging from infections to inflammation, diabetes, and heart diseases. Hence, it is not surprising that this naturally occurring compound is tagged as a wonder drug.

Another natural medication used for thousands of years is curcumin from the turmeric plant. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has been used to treat infections and other diseases.

What does turmeric do for your body?

Turmeric is a tropical plant that belongs to the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). It is native to South Asia, particularly India, and has a long history of use in various cultural and culinary traditions. The plant’s rhizomes are the part used to produce the well-known spice.

It is best known for its warm and slightly bitter flavor, often used to spice up curries, soups, and a variety of dishes.

Its use in traditional medicine dates back thousands of years when it was considered a potent healing herb. Turmeric is renowned for its brilliant yellow color, which comes from its active compound, curcumin.

In addition to curcumin, turmeric contains various other bioactive compounds, such as turmerones and gingerols.

These compounds also possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, contributing to the overall health benefits of turmeric. The synergy between these compounds is believed to enhance turmeric’s therapeutic effects.

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What is berberine used for?

Berberine is a natural alkaloid compound found in several plants, particularly in the roots, stems, and bark of various herbs [2].

It has a long history of use in traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Native American medicine for its potential therapeutic properties.

Berberine is a bright yellow compound that gives certain plants their distinctive color. It can be extracted from various botanical sources, including Berberis species (barberry), goldenseal, Oregon grape, and Chinese skullcap.

Berberine has gained attention for its role in managing various health conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it a promising candidate for addressing chronic health concerns.

Is turmeric the same as berberine?

Do you want to know if curcumin from turmeric and berberine from tree turmeric have the same effects on the body?

Both are naturally occurring compounds found in different plants. This can confuse many people interested in reaping the benefits of turmeric or tree turmeric since they may think they are the same. However, do not worry! Both have similar effects on your body.

Curcumin, a polyphenol and berberine, an alkaloid, belong to a group of chemicals called phytochemicals. It is important to remember that phytochemicals are compounds found in plants with several health benefits.

Hence, curcumin and berberine share the same thing- they are both phytochemicals that protect your body from oxidative stress, inflammation, and diseases ranging from infections to metabolic disorders.

Are curcumin and berberine absorbed fast in the body?

For a compound to exert its effects on the body, it must be absorbed well and used by the body. However, both curcumin and berberine have low bioavailability since both have low water solubility [3].

This means that even if berberine and curcumin are highly abundant, they may not have the best bioavailability profile. This information may be problematic for many since berberine, and curcumin’s health effects depend on their bioavailability.

While we are Current technologies, such as nanotechnology, allow the fast absorption of berberine in the body. In turn, this increases its bioavailability and efficacy in the human body.

Meanwhile, curcumin, when combined with piperine, a primary bioactive compound of black pepper, increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000% [4].

Are curcumin and berberine absorbed fast in the body?

Is it safe to take turmeric or berberine?

Before incorporating turmeric or berberine into your health regimen, it’s important to be aware of potential safety considerations and precautions associated with these herbal compounds. While both can offer numerous health benefits, they are not without their potential risks.

Turmeric safety

Turmeric is generally considered safe when consumed in moderate amounts as a spice in cooking. However, some individuals may experience mild gastrointestinal discomfort or allergies to turmeric. High doses of curcumin supplements may lead to gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea or nausea.

To minimize the risk of adverse effects, it’s advisable to start with small amounts of turmeric in your diet and gradually increase the intake.

If considering curcumin supplements, consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific health goals and needs.

Berberine safety

Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, or constipation, especially when starting berberine supplementation.

People with certain medical conditions, such as liver disease, should exercise caution when using berberine, and consulting a healthcare provider is advisable.

To minimize gastrointestinal side effects, start with a lower dose of berberine and gradually increase it over time.

Always follow the recommended dosage instructions on berberine supplements and consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have preexisting health conditions or are taking medications.

The safety profile of curcumin from turmeric and berberine is well established in several studies [5], [6], with a daily dosage of up to 2700 mg shown to be safe for individuals. Individuals taking 2700 mg/day did not appear to have any adverse side effects.

Berberine also seemed to have protective activities for both kidneys and the liver, the main organs responsible for eliminating drug metabolites.

This shows that berberine is generally safe for most people. However, there is little data on the safety profile of berberine in older adults who might have poor kidney function and be unable to eliminate the drug effectively.

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Curcumin from turmeric is also found to be relatively safe for both humans and animals. It is reported that a dosage of up to 8mg/day is still safe, with no known adverse events in humans [7].

In another safety trial [8], an intake of 12g or 1200 mg of curcumin for three months did not lead to any adverse events or side effects.

However, few cases of dermatitis and allergies have been observed on the skin and scalp during direct contact with curcumin [9]. A few patients may develop digestive disorders such as nausea and diarrhea.

Both turmeric and berberine can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and antidiabetic drugs.

It’s crucial to inform your healthcare provider if you are using either of these herbal remedies, especially if you are on prescription medications.

Taking appropriate safety precautions and consulting with a healthcare professional is essential when considering the use of turmeric or berberine supplements, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Bottomline

Curcumin and berberine have similar antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities that benefit those taking these medications.

However, there are still no studies examining the safety and efficacy of taking both medicines to treat different healthcare conditions. 

While there are still no studies examining the combined effects of both natural supplements, there are studies on curcumin that reveal its synergistic effects when taken with other drugs.

Synergistic effects refer to a supplement’s ability to strengthen a drug’s efficacy. This is like taking a supplement to make medication more effective in treating a specific disease!

One study [10] demonstrated how intake of curcumin supplement with the antibiotic norfloxacin resulted in increased effectiveness and bioavailability of norfloxacin.

Another study indicated that curcumin could react synergistically with anti-cancer drugs. Although these are still preclinical studies, curcumin has the potential to improve the effects of various medications.

Are you still wondering if you can take both supplements together? When taken separately, these wonder drugs can help you manage type 2 diabetes and treat obesity, infections, and other conditions without fearing adverse effects.

However, always consult your doctor to determine the most appropriate dosage for your health.

Your doctor can help monitor for any side effects, adjust your dosage to fit your needs, and provide you with the needed medical advice. 

FAQs

Is berberine same as turmeric?

No, turmeric and berberine are not the same thing. They are two distinct herbal compounds with different chemical compositions and unique health benefits.

Can I take turmeric curcumin with berberine?

Yes, you can take turmeric and berberine together, but it’s essential to do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Combining these herbal compounds may offer complementary health benefits, but individual responses may vary.

Are there any side effects of turmeric or berberine?

Turmeric is generally safe when consumed in moderation but may cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort. High doses of curcumin supplements may lead to digestive issues. Berberine may cause gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea or constipation, especially when starting supplementation.

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[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/berberidaceae 
[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/berberine 
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/ 
[4] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S037887411400871X?via%3Dihub 
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2410097/ 
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7522354/ 
[7] https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0006295207005758 
[8] https://journals.lww.com/dermatitis/Abstract/2006/12000/Contact_Urticaria_from_Curcumin.5.aspx 
[9] https://vetsci.org/DOIx.php?id=10.4142/jvs.2009.10.4.293 
[10] https://aacrjournals.org/clincancerres/article/11/20/7490/188552/Curcumin-Suppresses-the-Paclitaxel-Induced-Nuclear 


The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.