How do I use bergamot for cholesterol?

A bergamot orange.

No established dosage guidelines related to the use of bergamot for cholesterol have been established by recognized health agencies. Citrus bergamot supplements typically contain 500 milligrams of extract in gelatin capsules. They should be taken on an empty stomach and without other medications, which can cause adverse reactions. Before using bergamot, patients should consult their doctors for advice, especially when using medications to lower blood pressure or medications for other medical conditions.

Bergamot essential oil.

Bergamot extract comes from the fruit of Citrus bergamia Risso, a species grown mainly in southern Italy. People who use bergamot for cholesterol often avoid eating the fruit or drinking its juice because of its bitter taste. This yellow fruit grows to about the size of a regular orange, but its flavor exceeds the bitterness of a grapefruit. It looks like a lemon, but it’s not as sour.

Bergamot essential oil has a yellowish-green color.

Fruit peels can be added to pastries as zest. Its essential oils typically appear in about half of all manufactured perfumes and other cosmetic products. Bergamot oil also gives certain brands of tea a pleasant aroma. Oils can also be used in aromatherapy to produce a calming effect.

The use of bergamot for cholesterol gained attention after two studies showed it lowered total cholesterol levels, along with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. LDL, often called bad cholesterol, represents a major risk factor for heart disease. It can cause fats to build up in the arteries and reduce the blood flow that carries oxygen to the heart and brain. Research also showed that bergamot for cholesterol raised the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), considered a good cholesterol with protective benefits.

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Bergamot capsules typically contain 500 milligrams of bergamot extract.

Triglyceride levels also dropped in study participants who used bergamot as their cholesterol. Triglycerides represent the amount of fat stored in the human body for use as energy. In both studies, researchers found substantial reductions in triglyceride, LDL and total cholesterol levels. Dosages ranged from 500 milligrams daily to 1,000 milligrams daily. All patients used in the research had total cholesterol levels above 250 before taking bergamot.

Bergamot can help lower LDL levels.

A study published in 2009 conducted by Italian scientists showed that bergamot reduced total cholesterol levels by about 31 percent after one month. LDL levels dropped by about 39% and triglycerides dropped by 41.5%. The report also states that HDL levels increased by approximately 43 percent in participants who took bergamot capsules once or twice daily for four weeks. Another effect discovered by the researchers occurred in blood glucose levels, which decreased by an average of 22 percent.

Bergamot may work by blocking the production of cholesterol in the liver. This action can force the liver to seek out stored cholesterol in the bloodstream when production drops too low. The substances found in the fruit have been compared to commercial drugs in their ability to lower cholesterol. Some bergamot supplement manufacturers suggest two to four 500 milligram capsules per day for the first month and one capsule per day as a maintenance dose.

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