Last week I wrote about the interesting supplement known as Ubiquinol and its many benefits especially when it comes to heart health. As a follow on, this week I’m writing about another interesting supplement known as Bergamot because this too is believed to be beneficial for our heart, particularly when it comes to lowering cholesterol.
Quite often when we think of cholesterol, we think of cholesterol as a negative for our health, particularly heart health.
Cholesterol however is important for our health and wellbeing. It is in fact vital for several of our body’s metabolic processes. It assists in the production of Vitamin D, is needed for the building of our cell membranes, it aids in the production of hormones particularly adrenal hormones, oestrogen and testosterone. It aids in the manufacture of bile acid for our fat digestion and as well helps us metabolise fat-soluble vitamins.
This fat-like substance known as cholesterol, is created naturally by our body. It is also obtained from certain foods such as animal products especially those high in saturated fats – meats and full fat dairy foods and even eggs.
Once we’ve produced this cholesterol, it’s conveyed throughout our body in our blood, bonding itself to lipoproteins. There are two kinds of lipoproteins. There’s the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is known as the ‘bad cholesterol’ and delivers the majority of the cholesterol which is transported to our cells. The other is the high-density lipo-protein known as the ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL) and this is good because it assists in eliminating excess cholesterol from the cells. This also includes the cells in our arteries, which of course is very important especially for our heart health. This HDL ‘good cholesterol’ very effectively picks up the excess cholesterol in our blood and transports it back to our liver to be broken down by our liver and eliminated from our body.
The problem obviously arises when we aren’t able to keep up a good healthy balance of the good and bad cholesterol. When we don’t maintain this balance we will often find we experience high levels of LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ which can build up inside the walls of our blood vessels, narrowing the passageways, creating a blockage and causing a heart attack or stroke.
The obvious answer then is to keep this LDL “bad cholesterol’ under control. This is where the Bergamot may be helpful. Bergamot is a citrus fruit native to Italy and has traditionally been used to help immunity and for cardiovascular health. Bergamot contains a distinctive composition of citrus flavonoids.
It is believed Bergamot acts similarly to statin pharmaceuticals which are prescribed for lowering cholesterol. By inhibiting an enzyme known as HMG-CoA reductase, which in turn controls LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ production in our liver, statin medications are able to reduce our cholesterol levels. There have now been studies which have found Bergamot also inhibits this same enzyme. In two studies over 30 days, participants taking 1 or 2 doses of 500mg Bergamot extract found Bergamot increased HDL ‘good cholesterol’ by 42% and decreased LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ by 38%. It also found Bergamot reduced triglycerides by an incredible 41%. There were no side effects reported by participants over the 30-day study. (1)
A study in 2011 of 237 people found participants with both high cholesterol and high blood sugar, over 30 days experienced substantial decline in cholesterol and triglycerides. There was also a reduction of between 15% - 25% in blood sugar. (2)
Adding Globe Artichoke to a Bergamot formula may also be helpful for a couple of reasons. Globe Artichoke contains luteolin, an antioxidant which may prevent cholesterol formation. Secondly Globe Artichoke assists our body to process cholesterol more effectively, helping with lower overall levels.
If you are taking a statin medication for cholesterol, it is important to speak to your health practitioner before stopping any medication.
For further information on this topic or any other health topic call in to see Bev and the team at Go Vita, Your Health Shop at 5 North St, Batemans Bay or phone on 44729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev on Go Get Healthy at 12.30pm on 2EC.
- Leopoldini M, Malaj N, Toscano M, Sindona G, Russo N. On the inhibitor effects of bergamot juice flavonoids binding to the 3-hydorxy-3-methylutaryl-CaA reductase (HMGR) J Agric Food Chem 2010 Oct 13,58 (19)
- Mollace, V. Sacco, I. Janda E, Malara C, Ventrice D, Colica C, Visalli V, Muscoli S, Rotiroit D, Romeo F. Hypolipemic and hypoglycaemic activity of bergamot polyphenols: from animal models to human studies. Fitoterapia 2011 April;82(2);309-16.doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2010.10.014