Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage

Bergamot is a citrus fruit that grows mainly in southern Italy. Bergamot supplementation may help reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar, and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Citrus fruits like bergamot are rich in flavonoids, which support immune response and heart health. Bergamot may also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may help lower cholesterol.

This article reviews bergamot supplements, including their benefits and potential side effects, and how to take them.

Bergamot, or Citrus bergamia, is a yellow citrus fruit the size of an orange. It grows mainly in Calabria, in southern Italy. The skin and juice of bergamot are common ingredients in Italian folk medicine. Bergamot is also an ingredient in Earl Gray tea.

According to a 2019 reviewthe fruits contain various phytochemicals, flavonoids and other compounds beneficial to health.

Bergamot is available in supplement form or as an essential oil, juice or extract. A person can also purchase aroma sticks to inhale the scent of bergamot.

Bergamot may have several health benefits, including the following:

Reduce cholesterol

A 2019 review cites several studies that suggest bergamot may help lower lipids in the body and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Studies have found that taking a daily supplement of bergamot-derived polyphenolic fraction (BPF) reduces total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and increases high-density lipoprotein ( HDL), or “good” cholesterol.

BPF is a powder with high concentrations of polyphenols and is made from the juice and pith of bergamot.

A study 2021 notes that combining bergamot phytosome, or phyto, with artichoke leaf extract results in similar decreases in cholesterol and reductions in waist circumference and adipose tissue in overweight adults. This might be more effective than supplementing with bergamot alone.

However, this was a small, short-term study with only 60 participants. Larger studies are needed to verify these results.

Learn more about the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol here.

Blood sugar management

Various studies studied the effect of bergamot supplements on blood sugar management in people with metabolic syndrome, which causes symptoms such as:

A 2019 study recruited 60 people with type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia. The researchers divided the participants into one of three groups:

  • Group 1 took a GMP supplement.
  • Group 2 took a phyto BPF supplement, a polyphenol-rich formulation with improved bioavailability, which means the body can absorb and distribute it more easily.
  • Group 3 took a placebo.

People in groups 1 and 2 showed a dramatic reduction in fasting blood sugar, serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and an increase in HDL cholesterol.

However, phyto BPF may be more beneficial than standard BPF. People in group 2, who took phyto BPF, absorbed 2.5 times more naringin than those who took standard BPF. Naringin is the major component of BPF.

These results suggest that the specific formulation of BPF could impact the benefits a person derives from it.

However, this was a small study and more research is needed to verify its results.

Here, learn how to lower blood sugar levels.

Reduce inflammation

Bergamot can help reduce inflammation in the body.

The authors of a 2015 study examined the effect of bergamot on reducing inflammation in mice. The mice showed fewer markers of inflammation following a daily dose of bergamot juice.

The researchers conclude that the anti-inflammatory properties of bergamot may be beneficial for the treatment of conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease in humans.

However, there is currently insufficient evidence that bergamot can have similar anti-inflammatory effects in humans.

Here, discover eight natural supplements to fight inflammation.

Relieve anxiety

Bergamot is a common ingredient in many aromatherapy oils and preparations.

A study 2020 tested people’s level of anxiety before they had gallbladder surgery. Researchers asked 30 participants to inhale bergamot essence and 30 others to inhale odorless grapeseed oil.

The group that inhaled bergamot essence experienced lower levels of anxiety.

Researchers suggest that people could use bergamot aromatherapy to relieve anxiety before other surgeries.

Bergamot is generally safe to use. There have been a few reports of adverse side effects, which are mostly related to applying bergamot essential oil to the skin.

Excess consumption of bergamot can be harmful. In a 2015 case study, a man experienced a series of symptoms after drinking up to 4 liters of Earl Gray tea every day for 5 weeks. Earl Gray tea contains bergamot extract oil, which in large amounts acted as a potassium channel blocker.

A 2021 report notes that there is no research on the effects of bergamot supplements on children, the elderly, or pregnant or breastfeeding women. Therefore, people in these groups should be careful about taking bergamot supplements or avoid them altogether.

Bergamot-derived products are available in many forms, including:

  • liquid extract, which people can add to tea or use as a cooking ingredient
  • pills or capsules between 500 and 1,200 milligrams (mg) per serving
  • powder, which a person can add to juices or smoothies
  • juice, which people can dilute with water or drink as is

A person should read product labels carefully to ensure that they do not exceed the recommended dose.

If a person is taking other medications, they should consult a doctor before supplementing with bergamot, to avoid drug interactions.

In clinical researchBergamot supplementation in various forms has produced beneficial health effects.

Researchers are still studying how exactly bergamot helps and whether the results from animal studies can be replicated in human studies.

Bergamot is likely to have different effects on different people. If taking bergamot fits a person’s lifestyle, they feel good taking it, and they don’t exceed the recommended dose, it should be a safe supplement to take.

Bergamot is a citrus fruit growing mainly in southern Italy. People use it in traditional Italian medicine to treat symptoms like sore throat and fever. Bergamot is also an ingredient in Earl Gray tea.

Research suggests that bergamot may be helpful in reduce inflammation and cholesterol and may help prevent cardiovascular disease.

A person can supplement with bergamot by taking pills or capsules, adding powder to drinks, or adding an extract when cooking.

Bergamot is generally safe, but excessive amounts can have adverse health effects. Children, older adults, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be careful when taking bergamot supplements or avoid them altogether.

Comments are closed.