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Expert Advice: Bergamot Doesn’t Help Lower My Cholesterol. What Should I Try?

A small percentage of people don't respond to bergamot alone.

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Struggling to lower your cholesterol? It’s not as easy as it seems — ingredients that raise your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels show up in a lot of our favorite foods, making it hard to have an easy meal that’s also healthy. Plus, genetics play a factor. But just because some solutions don’t work for you doesn’t mean you should give up entirely. This week, our experts discuss the problem with bergamot (an extract that comes from the rind of the bergamot orange) as a cholesterol reducer, and a possible solution.

Meet our expert panel.

Nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD, are leading authorities on nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. They are also the bestselling authors of Rebuild Your Bones: The 12-Week Osteoporosis Protocol. To ask them a question, send an email to health@firstforwomen.com.

What to Do When Bergamot Doesn’t Work

Q: My best friend takes bergamot to lower her cholesterol, but it hasn’t worked for me. What else can I do?

A: Bergamot, a citrus fruit native to Italy that resembles a lumpy lime, is rich in antioxidant compounds that reduce cholesterol accumulation. In fact, research in the International Journal of Cardiology showed that taking 1,000 miligrams of bergamot daily for 30 days lowered LDL cholesterol by 36 percent and raised “good” HDL cholesterol by 40 percent. (One we like: NAOMI Citrus Bergamot; Buy from Amazon, $31.49.)

But since you seem to be among the small percentage of people who don’t respond to bergamot alone, try adding artichoke leaf extract (like Swanson Artichoke Extract; Buy from Swanson, $2.91). In one study, when subjects paired artichoke extract with bergamot twice daily, they lowered their cholesterol after two months, even when bergamot alone didn’t bring results. The scientists speculate that the duo delivers a synergistic effect that triggers the benefit.

Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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