Can bergamot help lower cholesterol?

Bergamot is a yellow citrus fruit native to the southern region of Italy. The fruit contains many natural substances that can be beneficial to health. Although more research is needed, there is some evidence to suggest that bergamot may help lower cholesterol.

Also known as Citrus bergamia, bergamot is a yellow citrus fruit that grows mainly in Calabria. Traditional Italian medicine uses bergamot as a treatment for a range of symptoms, including fevers, sore throats and infections. The fruit contains phytochemicals, flavonoids, and other compounds that may provide several health benefits, such as helping to lower a person’s cholesterol.

In this article, we discuss whether bergamot can help control cholesterol and how people can lower their cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is present in every cell of the body. It has important natural functions, such as building cells, producing vitamin D, and producing hormones. The body can produce cholesterol, but people also get it from food. Although it is an important substance, too much cholesterol can be a problem.

There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which some people call the “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which some call the “good” cholesterol. LDL can build up in the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. However, HDL cholesterol transports cholesterol to the liver to be eliminated.

With this in mind, a person may view medications, supplements, or certain lifestyle behaviors as helpful in managing their cholesterol levels. Some evidence suggests that bergamot may help lower LDL levels and total cholesterol. Although more studies are needed, the same research indicates that bergamot may also help increase HDL levels.

Bergamot contains high levels of flavonoids. Flavonoids are associated with many properties that can benefit a person’s health, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, bergamot contains neohesperidin and naringin, which can bind to an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase.

This enzyme is involved in the production of cholesterol. Binding to it can interrupt cholesterol production and lower cholesterol levels. This process is similar to the function of statins, a drug that aims to lower LDL.

Additionally, a paper 2022 notes that bergamot extract can effectively reduce cholesterol levels when combined with artichoke leaf extract. Researchers found that this combination was not only effective, but also lowered cholesterol levels in people who did not respond to bergamot extract alone.

A 2019 systematic review suggests that bergamot may help with cholesterol management, especially in people with statin intolerance. However, although bergamot shows promise as a treatment for high cholesterol, more research is needed to determine how it may influence cholesterol in the human body.

A doctor can measure a person’s cholesterol level through a blood test called a lipid panel or lipid panel. A person may need to avoid eating 9 to 12 hours before this test to ensure accurate results. They will still be able to drink water, but may want to take their test in the morning so they can fast overnight.

There are many medications a doctor may prescribe to lower cholesterol, such as statins, bile acid sequestrants, and injectable medications called PCSK9 inhibitors.

If a person wants to lower their cholesterol without medication, they can try incorporating the following lifestyle changes:

  • Have a varied diet: A person can lower their cholesterol by reducing their intake of saturated fats and trans fats, limiting or avoiding heavily processed foods, and opting for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Exercising regularly: Lower levels of exercise can lead to lower HDL cholesterol levels. Evidence indicates that frequent anaerobic exercise may help raise HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Stop smoking: Smoking cigarettes, as well as vaping, can lower a person’s HDL cholesterol and, in turn, raise their LDL cholesterol.
  • Weight management: Higher levels of body fat tend to raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. To research suggests that weight management can lead to significant improvements in cholesterol levels. A person can see a doctor to discuss whether their weight may be contributing to their cholesterol levels and what steps they can take to lower this level.

Click here to learn more about lowering cholesterol.

Bergamot is a citrus fruit that may offer a range of health benefits. Some research suggests that it can have a positive impact on a person’s cholesterol level. However, more research in humans is needed to help understand the role it plays in cholesterol management.

Other natural methods, such as regular exercise and a varied diet, can help people control their cholesterol levels.

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