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A cup of Earl Grey to keep the doctor away: Fruit extract can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and prevent diabetes
Research: The fruit extract in Earl Grey tea could help lower cholesterol and prevent diabetes, according to a new study
A fruit extract loved by tea drinkers for the aromatic flavour it lends to Earl Grey tea could help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and protect against diabetes.
The bergamot orange, grown in the Mediterranean, is being hailed as ‘nature’s statin’. It contains chemicals called citrus polyphenols that appear to block production of blood fats, boost metabolism and prevent cholesterol absorption in the gut.
Doctors who gave the extract to heart patients and diabetics claim dramatic benefits. Some of their patients have avoided taking statins, which may have side-effects.
Research on more than 200 patients with high levels of blood fats, carried out by the University of Cantanzaro in Italy, found ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) reduced by 39 per cent after a month of taking the extract. It also reduced blood sugars by 22 per cent and raised ‘good’ cholesterol by 41 per cent.
But Cathy Ross, of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘This was a small study and more robust research is needed.’
The extract, which is marketed as BergaMet and comes from Australian firm NatHealth Solutions, is awaiting approval as a food supplement in the UK.
Given as a 1000mg tablet to be taken before meals it also reduced blood sugars by 22 per cent and raised 'good' cholesterol by 41 per cent.
Each tablet is made of the extract and pulp of bergamots grown on the coast of Calabria in Italy.
Lead researcher Dr Vincenzo Mollace, Professor in the faculty of pharmacology at the University of Cantanzaro said: 'Bergamot contains extremely large amounts of polyphenols, as compared to other citrus species.
'Two of these, Brutelidin and Metilidin, directly inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis in a similar way to statins and they are not found in any other citrus derivatives.'
In separate research, a leading
cardiologist in Australia is giving BergaMet to more than 700 patients,
some of whom have avoided the need for statins, while others are on a
reduced statin dose but are still seeing major reductions in harmful
cholesterol, but with the added benefit of protection from diabetes
because their blood sugars are regulated.
Another benefit is patients have lost weight.
'Nature's statin': Bergamot oranges which add flavour to Earl Grey tea could help you lose weight according to new research
In one case, a male patient weighing a staggering 26st lost over 2st in just a month on BergaMet.
Around one in four adults in the UK is thought to have a genetic predisposition to develop insulin resistance, meaning that weight gain and a lack of exercise puts them at a higher risk of raised blood sugars and diabetes.
This is often coupled with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a tendency to blood clots – so-called metabolic syndrome.
Dr Ross Walker, of Sydney Adventist Hospital and in private practice in Sydney, said: 'I have found in all of my patients who were overweight, there has been abdominal fat loss with BergaMet.
'It is not as powerful as statins in lowering cholesterol and if you have had a heart attack, vascular disease or have a high family risk then statins are what you should have, but statins do not suit everybody and BergaMet has the added advantage of lowering blood sugars.
'Plus, we have seen a significant reduction in arterial stiffness with the bergamot extract which is helpful in protecting against arterial disease. In some patients I have halved the dose of statins they are on because of BergaMet.
'This is a safe, natural product for combating high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome which is showing very promising results, remarkably with no significant side effects.'
BergaMet blocks the same enzyme responsible for cholesterol production as statins, but works at a different site on the enzyme, meaning it does not appear to have side effects in the muscles and the liver.
It also has a direct effect on cell membranes so that sugar is able to enter the cells of the body and insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are reduced.
BergaMet is available on the internet and costs around 34 for a month’s supply but is awaiting approval as a food supplement by UK regulatory authorities before it can be sold here.
NatHealth Solutions are in talks with major high street pharmacies who are hoping to have it on the shelves by the summer.
For further information on BergaMet contact www.bergamet.com