Can Help for Lowering my Cholesterol be Found in an Orange?
“How can I improve my cholesterol levels naturally?” As a naturopath, this is a question that I am asked frequently. Many patients with elevated cholesterol have had adverse reactions to statins or have philosophical reasons for avoiding conventional medications for lowering cholesterol. Other patients are looking for natural therapies that they can use with their statins to further improve cardiovascular health. While I occasionally prescribe cholesterol medications like statins and believe that they have a place in reducing cardiovascular risk, natural therapies also play an important role in improving cardiovascular health. In my opinion, the most exciting new natural product on the market for lowering cholesterol is Bergamot BPF.
The Bergamot orange, which is actually yellow inside like a lemon, is grown almost exclusively in the Calabria region of southern Italy. In that region, its juice has been used for decades to improve cardiovascular health. Current clinical research involving hundreds of people has shown that Bergamot helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help maintain healthy coronary arteries. Although cholesterol can be consumed in food, most cholesterol is produced in the liver using the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR). Because of its role in synthesizing cholesterol, HMGCR has been a target of many conventional therapies. It is believed that the compounds found in the Bergamot orange are working at the level of the liver to reduce cholesterol.
Orthomolecular, a company that makes medical grade supplements is using patented extraction technologies to manufacture a Bergamot product called Bergamot BPF, the Bergamot product that we are using at NaturoMedica. It turns out that the Bergamot orange contains several important phenolic compounds called neoeriocitrin, rutin, brutieridine and melitidine which help support healthy levels of cholesterol. Phenolic compounds are compounds that occur naturally in plants which are of special interest to medical practitioners because they often carry special health benefits. In the case of Bergamot BPF, the product contains high concentrations of the particular phenols that can improve your lipid profile. In studies, Bergamot BPF has been shown to improve every lipid marker by dampening the specific mechanisms of cholesterol production. In studies, Bergamot BPF improved all lipid markers measured including total cholesterol, HDL (“good cholesterol”), LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and triglycerides. It also reduced blood glucose (sugar) levels and helped maintain inflammatory balance within the arteries.
One aspect of Bergamot that is particularly attractive is that it can be used with or without a statin. Bergamot has been shown to enhance the effect of the statin medication which may be good news for those who are not getting the desired benefit from their statins or are trying to stay on a low dose. Patients using Bergamot alone were getting similar cholesterol lowering effects to those on statin medications. We have only recently started using Bergamot BPF at NaturoMedica, but we are very excited to have this product available. While we have many other natural therapies that are available to help lower cholesterol, Bergamot BPF is particularly exciting because of the magnitude of the results achieved in the studies and also because there do not seem to be any side effects. The standard adult dosage for Bergamot BPF is two capsules per day.
Before starting Bergamot BPF, I would suggest that you have a blood test done to determine your cardio metabolic health. Currently, in addition to standard lab testing, we are using a company called Spectracell which offers blood testing that looks for many different markers that can help predict your overall cardiovascular risk. These tests help determine risk for atherosclerosis, diabetes and stroke. This advanced testing can even assess for vascular inflammation, a well-known contributing factor in hear disease. These tests are covered by most insurance companies and have small co-pays. These test results help us determine what the best course of treatment is for you. Examples of some of the test panels that may be included are:
- Lipoprotein Fractionation
- Lipoprotein Particle Numbers
- Total LDL Particles
- Total HDL Particles
- Lipoprotein (a)
- Apolipoprotein B
- Hemoglobin A1c
- Omega Check
CardioVascular Inflammation Markers:
- Cystatin C
After running the appropriate tests, we can work with you to determine your best path for improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your long term risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. We look forward to seeing you in 2017!
Mention this blog in February and receive 20% off Bergamot BPF.