What is it?
Grown primarily in southern Italy, bergamot oranges are a sour citrus fruit containing compounds found in no other citrus plant. Bergamot, an aromatic extract or essential oil derived from the fruit, gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavor and can be used in aromatherapy. When used as a supplement, it’s often called citrus bergamot, appears in capsule form and is thought to combat metabolic syndrome.
Use it for:
Bergamot is most commonly used to reduce LDL cholesterol, which is linked to cardiovascular disease. It may also increase healthy HDL cholesterol, improve blood-sugar levels, support adrenal health by lowering anxiety and cortisol levels, and and diminish fatty deposits in the liver.
A study published in the International Journal of Cardiology showed that bergamot reduced cholesterol levels better than a leading statin drug. The best results occurred in participants who took bergamot along with half the recommended dose of the statin drug. Other research, in Frontiers in Pharmacology, found that over six months, bergamot supplements reduced LDL cholesterol, increased HDL cholesterol and lowered triglyceride levels in participants, all of whom had moderately high cholesterol levels to start.
How to take Bergamot
Capsules are the most common form of bergamot supplements, but some studies used a liquid extract instead. Doses between 500 and 1,000 milligrams daily seem to be effective, with higher doses yielding better results.
Earl Grey tea owes its unique flavor to bergamot oil, but there likely isn’t enough in the tea to reduce cholesterol levels. For therapeutic benefits, opt for bergamot supplements.