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A Closer Look at Bergamonte for Heart Health

Heart Health Heart Health

Florida-based HP Ingredients’ Bergamonte has been the subject of several studies, showing benefits for heart health. In a placebo-controlled trial of 107 men and women exhibiting both metabolic syndrome and NAFLD, those who took 650 mg twice daily of Bergamonte polyphenolic fraction for 120 days showed a significant reduction of serum total cholesterol, LDL-C and triglycerides. There were also significant reductions of serum glucose, transaminases, gamma-glutamyl-transferase, steato test and inflammatory biomarkers such as TNF-aα and C Reactive Protein (CRP), suggesting that Bergamonte may multi-task not only for metabolic syndrome, but when both conditions are present.

Further, in these individuals, researchers found a substantial re-arrangement of lipoprotein particles compared to the baseline profile. Bergamonte was found to decrease the mean concentration of LDL particles by 51 percent, to increase large LDL by 38 percent, and to decrease small LDL by 35 percent. Additionally, 120-day treatment with Bergamonte led to a 20 percent increase of total HDL particles, mainly due to the increase of large HDL. Polyphenolic components, via multi-action properties, reduce liver accumulation of fat thereby producing an overall improvement in liver function.

According to the study authors, the beneficial effect of consuming Bergamonte for individuals with MS associated with NAFLD was confirmed by data obtained when studying ultrasonographic pattern of NAFLD. The hepatorenal index was significantly reduced from 2.8 to 1.5 through supplementing with Bergamonte, showing a reduction of liver brightness. This suggests that for those who have mild to severe NAFLD associated with MS, supplementing with Bergamonte leads to reduction of hepatic ultrasonographic pattern of steatosis.

In the third study, Wistar rats consumed a typical cafeteria diet (15 percent protein, 70 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent fat). The authors write that the research “reveals for the first time that a mixture of natural citrus polyphenols from bergamot is able to stimulate lipophagy in the liver under hypercaloric stress. To date, Bergamonte is the best available preparation of citrus flavonoids, thanks to its high content of polyphenols (40 percent of dry mass), relatively good characterization of principal components and its documented clinical efficacy in lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose levels and other features associated with the metabolic syndrome.”

Specifically, the research team showed that in a common cafeteria-diet model of metabolic syndrome, bergamot polyphenols stimulated lipid metabolism and prevented pathogenic fat accumulation in the liver by promoting its elimination through autophagy. Consequently, bergamot flavonoids prevented inflammatory changes in the liver, suggesting a slowed progression to NASH. They observed a dramatic effect of Bergamonte on fat LDs content in the entire structure of the main lobe, reaching more than 70 percent reduction in some cases and a mean of 48.5 percent lower LD area in the Bergamonte group compared with controls.

In this study, the hypolipemic effect in people with metabolic syndrome was accompanied by a significant reduction in blood glucose levels. The mean reduction in glucose was 218.9 percent and 222.4 percent in individuals taking 500 and 1,000 mg BPF daily, respectively. The authors assert, “This observation was unexpected and clearly suggests that the pharmacological effects of BPF go beyond statin-like activity.”

In another study, 107 patients with metabolic syndrome and NAFLD were given either placebo or 650 mg of Bergamonte twice a day for 120 days. The Bergamonte group showed significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as an increase of HDL cholesterol. Bergamonte decreased LDL particles by 51 percent, increased large LDL by 38 percent, decreased small LDL by 35 percent, and increased total HDL particles by 20 percent. Hepatorenal index was significantly reduced by 46 percent, accompanied by a reduction of hepatic ultrasonographic pattern of steatosis by 99 percent. This suggests Bergamonte improves both liver function and inflammation as confirmed by reduction of TNF-α and C-reactive protein.

In an open-label, parallel group, placebo-controlled study, 77 patients were randomly assigned either placebo, Rosuvastatin, Bergamonte or combination of Bergamonte with Rosuvastatin for 30 days. Both doses of rosuvastatin and Bergamonte were shown to help support healthy cholesterol levels† and reduce urinary mevalonate compared to the control group. The benefits are associated with significant reductions of biomarkers used for detecting oxidative vascular damage, including malondialdehyde, oxyLDL receptor LOX-1 and phosphoPKB. These suggest several modes of actions of Bergamonte.

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Gliozzi, M., et al. (2014) The Effect of Bergamot-Derived Polyphenolic Fraction on LDL Small Dense Particles and Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome. Advances in Biological Chemistry, 4, 129-137.

Parafatia, M., et al. Bergamot polyphenol fraction prevents nonalcoholic fatty liver disease via stimulation of lipophagy in cafeteria diet-induced rat model of metabolic syndrome.” Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 26 (2015) 938–948
Walker, R., et al “The Use of Bergamot-derived Polyphenol Fraction in Cardiometabolic Risk Prevention and its Possible Mechanisms of Action” Polyphenols in Human Health and Disease – Chapter 84.

Gliozzi, M., et al. “Bergamot polyphenolic fraction enhances rosuvastatin-induced effect on LDLcholesterol, LOX-1 expression and Protein Kinase B phosphorylation in patients with hyperlipidemia” International Journal of Cardiology, 2013, #16458