Statistics show that in Australia almost 1 in 3 adults aged between 30- 65 have been told by their doctors that they have high cholesterol. We live in a fortunate society where you can easily access treatment for the management of healthy cholesterol levels.
Yet there are a percentage of those who are unable to take cholesterol-lowering drugs due to side effects such as cramping, myalgia, headaches and more. So let`s take a look at the important role cholesterol in our health and what may help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Why is Cholesterol Important?
Although it is often spoken of in a negative light cholesterol is a very important substance for many of your body`s functions.
You cannot function without cholesterol because it is vital for
- Cell membrane structure
- Hormone production (oestrogen, testosterone and cortisol)
` Production of vitamins
- Production of bile acids
- Digestion and nutrient absorption
- Brain and neurological function
The types of Cholesterol
There are two different types of cholesterol, and these have varied roles in your body.
1. LDL cholesterol carries the cholesterol and other fat soluble nutrients in the blood to the cells. If there is too much LDL in the system, your arteries and blood vessels can become clogged and pose a danger to heart health that is why LDL is known as the `bad` cholesterol.
2. HDL cholesterol removes excess cholesterol particularly from your arteries taking it back to the liver for recycling or excretion. HDL is known as the `good` cholesterol.
Is there a natural option for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels?
Naturopaths and natural therapists working in their clinics or in retail often get asked for advice and product recommendations for assistance in helping to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Many people are unable to take prescription cholesterol lowering drugs due to the side effects or contraindications and others are just looking for a natural way to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Fortunately recent clinical studies have found that an extract from Bergamot (Citrus aurantium) fruit juice may assist in the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels and improve the LDL: HDL cholesterol ratio in healthy individuals.
Additionally it has also found that Bergamot may assist in the maintenance of healthy triglyceride and blood sugar levels.
What is a Bergamot?
A Bergamot is an orange sized, bitter citrus fruit that is native to the Calabrian region in Southern Italy, located at the �toe� of the Italian Peninsula. This citrus fruit is thought to be a hybrid of sweet lime and bitter orange.
Bergamot is high in antioxidant flavonoids
The active components in Bergamot juice are antioxidant flavonoids. Melitidine and brutieridine are flavonoids that are unique to the Bergamot fruit. Bergamot citrus extract is naturally high in flavonoids and these compounds are believed to be the reason that our Bergamot displays such positive effects on healthy cholesterol levels.
Clinical trials on Bergamot
As mentioned previously a clinical study was conducted on Bergamot. A clinical study on Bergamot was conducted by the University of Rome, Vascular Medicine and Atherosclerosis Unit (1). It was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 237 patients.
Participants were administered Bergamot fruit juice extract (Bergamot polyphenol fraction BPF) or a placebo for a 30 day treatment period. The trial showed improvement when taking Bergamot fruit juice extract resulting in the maintenance of healthy cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels.
Bergamot is now available capsule form in Australia and is manufactured by Nature`s Sunshine Products. Nature`s Sunshine Bergamot Cholesterol Care is made from the clinically trialled botanical extract Citrus aurantium (Bergamot) harvested in Calabria.
Bergamot Cholesterol Care may assist in the maintenance of normal healthy cholesterol levels and in the improvement of the LDL: HDL cholesterol ratios in healthy individuals and it may also help to maintain normal healthy blood sugar levels.
1. Mollace V. et al. Hypolipemic and hypoglycaemic activity of Bergamot polyphenols: From animal models to human studies. Fitoterapia, 2011, vol. 82, pp. 309 - 316
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