On my TikTok For You page, I want you to take a diet pill or shot sooooooo bad. It’s so uncomfortable to see.
Just a few months ago, TikTok was inundated with videos advising users to try Ozempic or Wegovy, drugs that treat diabetes but also aim to curb hunger. There have been rumors that every celebrity who has lost weight – how Mindy Kahling(opens in a new tab), Kim Kardashian(opens in a new tab)And Elon Musk(opens in a new tab) — lost it with the help of semaglutides. But soon these rumors sparked a flood of people trying to get their hands on the weight loss drugs, leading to this a reported shortage of medicines for the people who need them. There were also side effects, and if insurance doesn’t cover them, the drugs can be extremely expensive.
The Great Swamp by DietTok
Berberine is praised on TikTok as a “natural” ozempic. The hashtag #berberine has more than 64 million views on the platform.
One of the most popular videos was created by someone who describes himself as a “functional and holistic nutritionist who works with supplements every damn day.” She says berberine “helps your cells become more sensitive to insulin” and that you should work with someone like her as it may not be right for everyone and dosages may vary.
TikTok users say it can suppress appetite, lower cholesterol, promote gut health, and control blood sugar and blood pressure, but in many posts it sounds heavily like a laxative. Take the other most liked video under the hashtag, created by Joey Zauzig, who isn’t a doctor: it explains that berberine might mess up your gut at first, and then things eventually went back to normal. He said taking the supplement curbs his appetite, which he admits could be a placebo, but he doesn’t care because he feels “disappointed.”
Unlike Ozempic, berberine is a pill, not a shot, and because it’s a dietary supplement, you don’t need a prescription to get it. Berberine also doesn’t mimic GLP-1 like Ozempic, so it’s pretty clear that “Nature’s Ozempic” is code for “IDK, this thing helped me lose weight and Ozempic is trending.”
Because berberine is a dietary supplement, it’s not regulated by the FDA, making it a bit difficult to know exactly what you’re putting into your body. And there wasn’t enough data, oversight, or research into how the supplement worked. If you decide to take any type of weight loss pill or shot, you must first speak to a doctor to make sure there are no interactions with other medications you are already taking.
“The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements like berberine in the same way as drugs. The FDA cannot comment on the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements.” Céline Gounder, a CBS News contributor and chief public health editor at KFF Health News, told CBS News(opens in a new tab). “People really want to lose weight. Understandably, they want to do this cheaply, easily and quickly. But even Ozempic is not a panacea.”
TikTok and all social media are notorious continues harmful, toxic weight loss trends(opens in a new tab) This can lead to eating disorders and other types of self-harm. As with all online weight loss trends, trust your gut — what you were born with — not fads.
If you are having suicidal thoughts or are going through a mental health crisis, please speak to someone. You can reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988; the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860; or the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. Text “START” to the crisis text line at 741-741. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET, or by email [email protected](opens in a new tab). If you don’t like the phone, you should use the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Chat at Crisischat.org(opens in a new tab). Here is a List of international resources(opens in a new tab).