Nutragenesis: 2016 Science of Ingredients
Human Clinical Trial Demonstrates Bergavit 40’s Significant Cardiovascular Health Benefits
The need for natural, efficacious cardiovascular support is growing as the population ages. bergamot citrus (Citrus bergamia) has been used traditionally in the Mediterranean region to support cardiovascular health and metabolic wellness as a result of beneficial flavonoid bioactives contained in the fruit. According to legend, Christopher Columbus brought the fruit back to Italy from Berga, Spain in the 15th Century and now the majority of the world’s bergamot production occurs in the Calabria region of Italy with its ideal growing conditions. A recently published human clinical trial has now demonstrated that a highly concentrated, proprietary extract of bergamot sold under the trade name, Bergavit 40, helps support healthy cardiovascular function at a low 400 mg daily dose.
Bergamot Juice Extract has Been Evaluated in Multiple Human Clinical Studies
Previously, several human clinical trials had investigated extracts of bergamot juice and showed that cardiovascular benefits were achieved only at higher doses. For example, a 2011 study showed that subjects who took 500 mg of bergamot juice extract once or twice daily over a 30 day period had improved total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels by the end of the study.1 Another research group found that daily consumption of either 1,000 mg of bergamot juice extract or 10 mg of rosuvastatin for 30 days resulted in about the same, significant improvements in total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.2 In a follow-up study, researchers instructed subjects to take 650 mg of bergamot juice extract twice daily for 120 days which resulted in significant improvements in both LDL and HDL cholesterol compared to placebo.3 The researchers also recorded a beneficial shift in the LDL profile of subjects in the treatment group during the study. These subjects had significantly greater amounts of healthier, large size LDL particles and significantly less, smaller size LDL, which are not associated with cardiovascular health.
Bergavit 40 Proprietary Extract Supports Healthy Cardiovascular Function
Bergavit 40 is a proprietary extract of Bergamot citrus that is standardized to the highest levels of flavonoid bioactives in the industry (>39-42 percent flavonoids including neoeriocitrin, naringin and neohesperidin). This ingredient represents an entirely new breakthrough in the bergamot/cardiovascular health category because a recent, six month long human clinical trial has demonstrated that Bergavit 40 supports healthy cardiovascular function at a dose of only 400 mg once daily.4 In this trial involving 80 subjects, daily consumption of the amount of flavonoid bioactives found in 400 mg of Bergavit 40 led to significant improvements in blood lipids. Total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides decreased significantly by up to 12, 20 and 17 percent, respectively, while HDL increased up to 8 percent by the end of the study. The researchers also found that while at the beginning of the study, the subjects’ LDL was divided between small, medium, and large size fractions, consumption of the bergamot flavonoids resulted in a shift in the LDL profile to larger, healthier LDL by the end of the study with only traces of small and medium size LDL remaining. In addition, this study was the first to show that intake of bergamot extract led to a significant reduction in carotid intima-media thickness (by up to 25 percent in the treatment group). This technique, which uses ultrasound technology, is highly recommended by clinicians because of its relationship with heart health (lower levels are healthier).
Proposed Mechanisms of Action
Multiple mechanisms of action have been proposed for bergamot’s cardiovascular health properties including: reducing LDL oxidation,5 increasing LDL receptor gene expression6 and excretion of cholesterol from the body,7 and activating a master physiological regulatory switch in the body that affects metabolism.8
Bergavit 40 was developed by Bionap SRL (Belpasso, Italy), a vertically integrated provider of a select portfolio of Mediterranean-sourced nutraceuticals, and is exclusively marketed by NutraGenesis LLC in North America.
1 Mollace V, et al. 2011. Hypolipemic and hypoglycaemic activity of Bergamot polyphenols: From animal models to human studies. Fitoterapia 82:309-316.
2 Gliozzi M, et al. 2013. Bergamot polyphenolic fraction enhances rosuvastatin-induced effect on LDL-cholesterol, LOX-1 expression and protein kinase B phosphorylation in patients with hyperlipidemia. Int J Cardiol 170(2):140-145.
3 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. Adv Biolog Chem 4:129-137.
4 Toth PP, et al. 2016. Bergamot reduces plasma lipids, atherogenic small dense LDL, and subclinical atherosclerosis in subjects with moderate hypercholesterolemia: A 6 month prospective study. Frontiers Pharmacol 6:299.
5 Trovato A, et al. 2010. Citrus bergamia Risso & Poiteau juice protects against renal injury of diet-induced hypercholesterolemia in rats. Phytother Res 24:514-519.
6 Kumar A, et al. 1997. Phorbol ester-induced low density lipoprotein receptor gene expression in HepG2 cells involves protein kinase C-mediated p42/44 MAP kinase activation. J Lipid Res 38:2240-2248.
7 Miceli N, et al. 2007. Hypolipidemic effects of Citrus bergamia Risso et Poiteau juice in rats fed a hypercholesterolemic diet. J Agric Food Chem 55:10671-10677.
8 Bruckbauer A, and Zemel MB. 2014. Synergistic effects of polyphenols and methylxanthines with leucine on AMPK/sirtuin-mediated metabolism in muscle cells and adipocytes. PLoS One 9:e89166.