You have probably adopted a healthy lifestyle and taken many types of natural products in the hope to reverse heart diseases due to clogged arteries or to maintain healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels to protect against heart disease.
Yes. You have used pomegranate, turmeric, curcumin, astaxanthin, and acai berry (and other berries as well). You have used a concoction comprises lemon, garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar and honey. You have drunk a glass of lemon water every morning. You also have taken liquid lime extract.
There is one miracle fruit you probably haven’t used.
What is it?
Bergamot essential oil provides Earl Grey Tea its fantastic and distinct flavor!
All this while, you are familiar with Bergamot oil and its health benefits. It can help you with skin problems, stress, and anxiety, cardiac problems (antiarrhythmic). and antianginal properties), inflammatory conditions, digestive trouble, and food poisoning.
But you are probably not familiar with or haven’t heard about Bergamot juice benefits that can protect you against heart disease by increasing HDL, lowering LDL and triglyceride.
There are other fruits do the same thing as well!
You are right. But after reading thru the info of Bergamot benefits on your lipid profile and heart health which I am going to share with you in the rest of the article, I hope you would add Bergamot juice/extract in your heart-protecting protocols.
What is Bergamot?
Bergamot, Citrus bergamia, is a type of orange that grows in southern Italy, from which the majority of the world’s supply of bergamot now comes.
Today, it is also grown elsewhere including in some parts of The USA especially in the sub-tropical/Mediterranean climates that may include Florida and Southern California.
First Human Study – Improved Lipid Profile and Reduced Atherosclerotic Plaque
You doctor will prescribe statins if they find that you are having high cholesterol levels. However, statins intakes may lead to several adverse effects over time.
Bergamot juice or extract differ from other citrus fruits in the composition and content of several distinct flavonoids, such as neoeriocitrin, neohesperidin, and naringin.
A 2016 6-month study involving human subjects have demonstrated that a fixed dose of daily intakes of a bergamot juice extract comprises 150 mg of flavonoids, with 16% of neoeriocitrin, 47% of neohesperidinand 37% of naringin has significantly reduced plasma lipids and improved the lipoprotein profile.
After 6 months, the authors found the bergamot extract:
- reduced total cholesterol from 6.6 to 5.8 mmol/l
- reduced triglycerides from 1.8 to 1.5 mmol)
- reduced LDL-cholesterol from 4.6 to 3.7 mmol/l
- increased HDL- cholesterol from 1.3 to 1.4 mmol
In addition, they found:
- a significant increase in LDL-1 from 41.2 to 49.6%
- accompanied by decreased small, dense LDL-3, -4, and 5 particles from 14.5 to 9.0 %; 3.2 to 1.5%; 0.3 to 0.1%, respectively.
Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) also decreased from 1.2 to 0.9 mm.
The study suggests that the 6-month bergamot juice extract may possibly help reduce subclinical (not severe enough) atherosclerosis plaque.
In my opinion, there is a possibility that you will experience similar or better results if you take the juice or extract for a longer period.
Isn’t the result of the study encouraging?
Simultaneous Rat and Human Study – Both Showed Improved Lipid Profiles
Hyperlipidemia refers to increased levels of lipids (fats) in the blood, including cholesterol and triglycerides. Although typically symptomless, it can significantly increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which in turn can lead to chest pain, heart attacks, strokes, and other problems.
A 2011 study was conducted to investigate the effect of bergamot extract in diet-induced hyperlipidemia in Wistar rats and in 237 patients suffering from hyperlipidemia either associated or not with high blood glucose (hyperglycemia).
The extract was given orally for 30 days to both rats and patients. The study authors found that the extract
- reduced total cholesterol
- reduced LDL cholesterol levels (accompanied by increased HDL levels)
- reduced triglyceride levels
- caused a significant decrease in blood glucose
- inhibited HMG-CoA reductase activity (thus, lowered cholesterol production)
- effectively reduced blood pressure.
In the conclusion section, the authors suggest that daily intake of bergamot juice or extract may possibly be an efficient herbal approach in combating high lipid and sugar disorders.
Statins help reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase activity. The abovementioned study has shown bergamot extracts also can exert similar action in your body.
As you can see, bergamot extracts not only able to harmonize lipid profile but at the same time limit the cholesterol production.
First, bioflavonoids (and most probably with the help of limonoids and triterpenoids too) in bergamot extract help reduce LDL by reducing oxidative stress, thus leading to lesser oxysterol (oxidized cholesterol) levels.
Cholesterol is found everywhere in your body that includes all lipoproteins and in cell membranes of organ systems. Therefore, when antioxidant phytonutrients have neutralized free radicals which lead to reduced oxysterol levels everywhere, including that in your cell membranes, lesser healthy cholesterol levels are needed for membrane repairing and strengthening purposes.
This, results in reduced LDL and increased HDL, hence reduced total cholesterol levels.
As for the inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase activity, I believe it takes place simultaneously with the phytonutrient content actions in reducing oxidative stress. I also believe scientists will from time to time find a similar phenomenon exerted by many other super antioxidant foods.
Higher HDL levels during bergamot extract intake can be interpreted as the cell membranes only need certain optimal amounts of healthy cholesterol to help maintain their structure. Extra healthy cholesterol and oxysterol are removed from the membranes.
High LDL levels may possibly indicate there are mixtures of healthy and oxidized cholesterol. Higher HDL levels always occur during oxidative stress due to many factors.
Low LDL levels, on the other hand, indicate your body experience low oxidative stress level. A healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet (high antioxidant foods, among others) yields lower LDL levels.
As for HDL, higher numbers can indicate it carries more cholesterol away from your cells. It is not known whether it only specifically remove oxysterol or both forms of cholesterol, healthy and oxysterol.
As your gene can respond epigenetically to external stimuli that include nutrients, it is possible to deduce that upon receiving more healthy cholesterol levels carried by LDL (when there are sufficient antioxidants available, thus lower LDL levels), via cascades of reactions, your gene may help repair the membranes by replacing oxysterol with healthy cholesterol.
Human studies have used 500 or 1,000 mg of bergamot extract with success as shown in the abovementioned short-term studies, then daily intakes of 500 mg of bergamot may possibly give you the expected result.
Adding 50 mg vitamin C to your daily extract intakes are said to help provide synergistic effects.
Some experts suggest 250 mg bergamot extract plus 50 mg vitamin C twice per day. Perhaps divided doses may help the extract remain in your body for a longer period which in turn provide you with better protection against oxidative stress.
Fresh Bergamot Juice
How much fresh bergamot juice is needed to produce 1,000 mg extract is not known. Perhaps 100 ml (roughly 1/3 glass) of fresh bergamot juice can provide you with roughly equivalent to between 500 – 2,000 mg of a dried bergamot extract. It’s only a guess… The actual content can be less or more.
If you wish to take fresh juices you can start experimenting with lower doses first.