Italian Bergamot: The Mediterranean Way to a Healthy Cardiovascular System
As if Chianti and pizza were not enough reasons to love everything Italian, one of the most powerful natural solutions for cardiovascular health has Italian roots, literally!
Bergamot may sound familiar as the peel of this citrus is often used for teas, perfumes and essential oils. The fruits grow on trees only in the region of Southern Italy called Calabria, very close to Sicily.
Beyond the appeal of the peel, the fruit pulp itself has a unique combination of five polyphenol bioactives, whose names are a mouthful such as naringin, bruteridin and melitidin. These natural bergamot compounds block the same enzyme as statin medications but without the side effects. Bergamot fruit extract has also been shown to lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, improve blood vessel activity and activate the AMP-K system, similar to a common diabetic drug called metformin.
How is all of this known about the citrus fruit growing in a remote area of Italy?
There was a belief that natives of Sicily who ate the fruit of the bergamot citrus tree did not get heart disease, diabetes and other maladies.
Universities in Italy began studying this folklore which proved to be accurate, based on a number of high quality human clinical studies. There are now more than 200 scientific studies exploring the role of bergamot for health. Bergamot is now available in capsules that concentrate the active polyphenols found in the whole fruit.
Does bergamot actually work?
The science says yes and the experiences and feedback from consumers who regularly take bergamot supplements supports this too. In a recent trial of 77 patients with high cholesterol, subjects were treated with either a statin medication alone or a combination of statin and bergamot. The combination therapy produced the lowest LDL cholesterol and the highest HDL cholesterol.
This trial also showed the measures of damage to blood vessels by oxidation were the lowest when bergamot was added. Further studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of bergamot on blood sugar levels and body weight were demonstrated.
What about metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of increased abdominal fat and waistline, hypertension, abnormal cholesterol lipid values with low HDL and high triglycerides and elevated blood sugar.
An estimated 20–25% of the world’s adult population is thought to have this condition and maybe as many as one third of adults in the United Kingdom suffer from it. Bergamot has proven to be particularly useful in assisting the reversal of this syndrome, which raises the risk of future events like heart attack and stroke.
A particularly challenging condition seen more and more commonly is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), also known as NASH. NASH results from an inactive lifestyle along with a diet that is high in processed foods, oils and fats which over time, overloads liver cells with fat droplets. It is also associated with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and adult Type 2 diabetes as the insulin resistance builds. While the foundation of the treatment of NASH is activity, weight loss, plant-based diets with low or absent of added oils, bergamot shows promise here too. In a study of humans with metabolic syndrome and NAFLD, significant responses to bergamot were recorded.
What can Metabolic Gold do for you?
When combined with lifestyle efforts focusing on diet, exercise, sleep and stress, the bergamot fruit from southern Italy could provide significant cardiovascular benefits.
Our new formulation of Metabolic Gold sees a move from tablets to capsules that contain pure Bergamot fruit extract and artichoke leaf extract in a tapioca capsule shell, nothing else.