Improve your cardiovascular, heart health, with a new preparation made from a citrus fruit grown in Italy.

Called Bergamot, a plant grown in beautiful southern Italy, can help you lower your cholesterol level, your triglycerides, and improve your glucose metabolism to help restore health to your heart. It is especially useful when statin drugs cause side effects, and can help you decrease your dose of statin drugs or even get off of them.

Elevated cholesterol levels, particularly LDL and triglyceride levels have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This problem has been termed dyslipidemia. Efforts to correct this problem have focused on use of statin drugs, which, if given in high dose, may cause side effects such as muscle weakness and memory loss.

Thus, if one could decrease the dose of the statin drug, or even eliminate it, a safer method could be achieved to help treat dyslipidemia and promote better heart health. Bergamot fits this need very well without side effects and in a biologically natural manner.

Bergamot contains polyphenols which are considered the active components of this natural citrus fruit. Polyphenols have been shown to reduce lipid absorption from the gut and to inhibit cholesterol production in the liver. It has been shown to disrupt the dyslipidemic pathway.

When taken alone, may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by 31% and triglycerides by 37%. It may reduce triglycerides, raise your good HDL cholesterol, and alter the size of your bad cholesterol even better than do statin drugs. All these actions make dyslipidemia problems less likely to produce harmful effects on your blood vessels.

It all has to do with the health of your arterial blood vessels. These are lined by a layer of cells called endothelial cells. These help protect blood vessels and maintain good flow of nutrition packed blood to your tissues, including your heart. If certain lipid particles accumulate underneath these cells, plaques form and the vessel lining thickens, narrowing the vessel opening. This results in reduced blood flow, less nutrients to the heart, and subsequent heart disease.

The size of the lipid matters. If the particle size of the lipid is very small, it can enter in between the endothelial cells easier and begin this destructive process. If large, it is less likely to do this. Thus, changing the particle size from small to large is a good thing. Bergamot can alter the size of the LDL (bad) cholesterol molecule from small and dense to large and fluffy, reducing their plaque forming effects on the vessels and improving heart health.

It can work in conjunction with statin drugs to do things that the statin drugs do poorly. The dose of the statin drug can thus be decreased to provide a combined lipid-lowering effect. The side effects of statins on the liver, muscle weakness, impaired memory and cognition are dose related. Thus, the lower the dose of the statin drug, the less likely one will have side effects from them.

Statin use may even be eliminated totally if natural alternatives do the job. Combining niacin, plant sterols, and other nutrients with bergamot may collectively suppress bad cholesterol and enhance good cholesterol formation. However, if pre-existing coronary artery disease is present, more aggressive therapy with continued statin use may be necessary if tolerated.

Bergamot may also help treat metabolic syndrome, which is becoming the number one health problem in the U.S. By its demonstrated effect to lower blood sugar, it can help control insulin resistance, which is a major factor in diabetes. One of the markers physicians use to monitor diabetes is the Hemoglobin A1C level. When using bergamot, Hemoglobin A1C levels fall and average of one point, suggesting better blood sugar control.

Most important of all, however, are lifestyle changes. These include a proper diet, such as a Mediterranean style diet, and regular exercise. The automatic use of statin drugs for everyone with elevated cholesterol may not be the best therapy, since the reduction in cardiac risk is small unless major lifestyle changes are also implemented. Bergamot may be a good substitute for statin use in conjunction with lifestyle changes.

Bergamot has no known side effects. One of the best formulations is called BergaMet Pro. Sold in physician’s office, it should be taken one tablet twice daily, preferably 30 minutes before meals. However, if one can’t follow this schedule, taking the capsules anytime will still work. Cholesterol levels can be reevaluated after taking these for at least three months, but long term follow-up is recommended.