When Life Hands you Lemons – Make Lemonade!
What is the most symbolic refreshing drink of summertime? Lemonade. Now think about it: do you see commercials for lemonade during the wintertime, compared to the summer?
Besides just looking cheerful, this queen of the citrus fruits has many benefits beyond its vitamin C content – which can provide approximately 50% of the DV from just one lemon. It also has soluble pectin fiber, and a list of compounds that help promote healthy metabolic balance. According to one source, the phytocompounds in lemons and related citrus fruit have great antioxidant properties that help protect the cardiovascular system and support inflammation management.
Lemons are not just solely grown in California and Florida, they are a big crop in southern Italy, the Calabria region, where the variety is bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso, to be exact). It is different than its US cousins that splash produce aisles with bright sunshine. Bioactive compounds unique to this lemon variety are flavonoids called naringin, neohesperidin, neoeriocitrin, melitidin and brutieridin. This Italian citrus, with its unique composition, can help you remain in good metabolic health.
Bergamonte® is a distinctive bergamot ingredient that contains bioactive compounds of extract of the juice and albedo of the fruit, standardized to specific concentrations of these polyphenolic flavanoids. The blend of Bergamonte® flavonoids are clinically proven to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels†, healthy blood glucose level, increase HDL-cholesterol, and promoting healthy weight management.
One study of 192 individuals who took 100 ml of bergamot juice for 30 days had significant effects on their cholesterol profile – 35.7% drop in total cholesterol, 42% drop in LDL cholesterol, and 38.3% decline in triglyceride, plus an increase of 56% of HDL – the good/healthy cholesterol. In addition, there was a robust decline in blood glucose, by 22%.
In a placebo-controlled study of 237 individuals with some symptoms of metabolic syndrome who took Bergamonte® in 500 mg or 1,000 mg doses also found favorable reduction effects for both dosage groups in those same parameters: total cholesterol (21.8% and 29.4%, respectively), LDLO (24% and 36%), triglycerides (30% and 39%) and 19% and 22.4% in blood glucose reduction. The increases of HDL were 22.3% and 40%, respectively.
In another study focusing on how Bergamonte® stacked up against rosuvastatin in two doses (a popular and common cholesterol drug) found that Bergamonte® performed just as effectively, and in one case (total cholesterol) better than both doses of rosuvastatin. This same study also compared these results to the combination of 10 mg rosuvastatin plus 1 mg Bergamonte®, which also had favorable results.
And in another human study, 107 individuals with metabolic syndrome and non fatty liver disease (NAFLD) were given either placebo or 650 mg of Bergamonte® twice a day for 120 days. Similar to the above outcomes, the Bergamonte® showed significant reduction in fasting glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and an increase of HDL cholesterol. The citrus extract was also found in this study to improve both liver function and inflammation response as confirmed by reduction of pro-inflammatory compounds TNF-α and CRP.
3 Ways Lemon Supports Healthy Metabolic Function
Research has illuminated three distinctive and powerful mechanisms of action of Citrus bergamia Risso (aka Bergamonte®)
Inhibits Cholesterol-producting Liver Enzyme
Research has suggested that brutieridin and melitidin act as direct HMGCoA reductase inhibitors. HMG-CoA reductase is an enzyme linked to the liver’s cholesterol production. Melitidin and brutieridin inhibit the liver’s ability to produce LDL, resulting in reduced cholesterol levels in liver cells, which then meet their cholesterol requirements by taking up cholesterol circulating in the blood, via LDL receptors. LDL receptors break down the circulating cholesterol, resulting in healthy LDL levels in the bloodstream.
Supports Energy Metabolism
Bergamot flavonoids support energy metabolism by mediating lipid and glucose homeostasis through modulation of phosphodiesterase4 and phosphodiesterase 3B. These play critical roles in cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate), which regulates energy metabolism, AMPK, triglyceride hydrolysis, and glucose metabolism. PDE3B is crucial for triglyceride and cholesterol metabolism, as well as glucose homeostasis.
Supports Regulation of Glucose and Lipid Metabolism
Flavonoids in Bergamonte® activate AMPK and stimulate glucose uptake. AMPK plays a central role in regulating healthy glucose, and lipid metabolism and energy production. AMPK activation can prevent abdominal fat accumulation, regulate glucose tolerance, normalize liver markers, and reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the liver and heart. Bergamot flavonoids activate the glucose transporter GLUT1 in all cells and upregulation and translocationGLUT4 to the cell membrane in muscle cells.
Lemons and lemonade are always refreshing all time of year. The best lemonade to make is literally squeezing fresh lemon juice into water, add some stevia and chill. Control the “lemony” taste by how much water you dilute it with. Bottoms up!