Citrus bergamot is an Italian fruit that has been used for millennia.
Modern research has confirmed these benefits and points to the effectiveness of citrus bergamot for heart health, cholesterol, and blood sugar, to name a few.
In this article, we take a look at the benefits of citrus bergamot for blood sugar & weight loss, as well as the mechanisms behind these effects, and optimal dosing strategies.
Table of Contents
Citrus Bergamot Overview:
Citrus bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is a perennial in the Rutaceae (i.e. citrus) family that grows in Calabria, which is a southern region in Italy.
It goes by a couple other names, including bergamot orange and sour orange.
Citrus bergamot contains a high concentration of flavonoids and other health promoting compounds, which are thought to be responsible for its health benefits. These come from the juice extracts as well as the essential oils in the peel.
These essential oils in the rind are also used to flavor black tea leaves to make Earl Grey tea.
The main phytochemicals that seem to have benefits for cholesterol include:
Benefits of Citrus Bergamot for Blood Sugar & Weight Loss:
Several clinical trials show that citrus bergamot is effective for managing blood sugar levels. People have also used citrus bergamot for weight loss.
High blood sugar, medically referred to as hyperglycemia, occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. Over time, persistently elevated blood sugar levels can damage numerous bodily systems, such as the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart.
Additionally, high blood sugar has an important link with weight. It seems to be bidirectional, in that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to have elevated blood sugar, but high blood sugar can also increase the risk of weight gain.
One clinical trial on 98 older adults with elevated blood sugar and blood lipids found that supplementing with citrus bergamot extract for 12 weeks led to lower body weight, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI) compared to the placebo. Individuals who received citrus bergamot also had lower levels of blood glucose compared to the control group.
In one clinical study on 60 patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), participants received either a placebo, a standard citrus bergamot extract, or a specially formulated phytosomal version of citrus bergamot extract. The researchers found that both citrus bergamot extract supplements led to marked reductions in blood sugar compared to the placebo. The phytosomal supplement seemed to have a much higher bioavailability, which may make it more useful for long-term use.
In a large clinical trial involving 237 patients with or without hyperglycemia, 500mg of citrus bergamot extract supplementation for 30 days led to a significant decrease in blood sugar compared to the placebo. This points to the benefits of citrus bergamot for lowering blood sugar not only in people with high blood sugar, but also with normal blood sugar levels. Thus, it may have both mitigative and preventive effects on blood sugar.
Another clinical trial on 45 obese patients with mild high blood sugar compared the effects of a placebo drug to 650mg and 1,300mg of citrus bergamot polyphenols extract. After 90 days of supplementation, while both doses of citrus bergamot improved outcomes, the 1,300mg extract had the greatest benefits, including an 18.1% reduction in fasting blood sugar, 14.8% reduction in body weight, and 15.9% reduction in BMI.
Additionally, citrus bergamot polyphenols reduced insulin and the HOMA-IR assessment, which tests for insulin resistance. This is important because insulin is a hormone that is involved in the control and release of blood sugar, so improvements here generally point to healthier overall blood sugar levels.
On top of that, this clinical trial also found that citrus bergamot led to more balanced levels of leptin and ghrelin, which are hormones involved in feelings of hunger and satiety, and are often dysregulated in people with obesity. Therefore, citrus bergamot may also help control body weight by managing cravings.
In a clinical study on 97 obese individuals, those who received a supplement containing citrus bergamot and tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia), either 200mg or 400mg, for 112 days experienced a decrease in BMI compared to the placebo, yet they didn’t experience any significant reduction in blood sugar. However, this is likely due to the lower dose of citrus bergamot used in this study compared to the other ones mentioned thus far.
One clinical trial on 80 overweight adults with metabolic syndrome compared the effects of a six-month low-calorie Mediterranean diet alone to the same diet alongside a bergamot phytocomplex supplement on weight loss and metabolic syndrome markers. The researchers discovered that the dieters who received the phytocomplex from bergamot fruit experienced a greater reduction in blood glucose (~15%) compared to diet alone. This study shows that citrus bergamot may help enhance the effects of a healthy diet on weight loss and metabolic parameters in overweight individuals.
Summary:Clinical trials indicate that citrus bergamot may regulate blood sugar and promote weight loss.
How Does Citrus Bergamot Work for Blood Sugar & Weight Loss?
Multiple mechanisms may explain the benefits of citrus bergamot for blood sugar and weight loss.
The main actions are thought to occur from the high concentration of citrus flavonoids in bergamot, including neoeriocitrin, neohesperidin, and naringin, among others.
These flavonoids seem to positively impact fat and sugar metabolism, while also activating AMP kinase (AMPK), which is an enzyme involved in glucose and fatty acid metabolism. Citrus bergamot possesses other similar actions on enzymes involved in fat and sugar metabolism that ultimately lead to decreased fat and sugar intake, which is favorable for weight loss.
Moreover, citrus bergamot flavonoids have general anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant effects, as evidenced by the reduction in C-reactive protein and other inflammatory markers. This may protect against the development of obesity and other diseases.
Additionally, bergamot is able to improve insulin sensitivity, which increases the body’s ability to use glucose, thus potentially lowering blood sugar.
Lastly, citrus bergamot seems to improve the function of ghrelin and leptin, which are hormones involved in hunger and satiety. Thus, properly regulating these hormones may lead to weight loss via healthier food intake patterns.
Mechanisms of Action:Citrus bergamot is thought to benefit blood sugar and weight loss by multiple mechanisms, including reducing inflammatory markers, improving insulin sensitivity, and regulating hormone function.
How Long Does it Take for Citrus Bergamot to Help with Blood Sugar & Weight Loss?
Based on evidence from clinical trials, one can expect positive results from citrus bergamot on blood sugar and weight loss after supplementing for one to six months.
More than likely, citrus bergamot will start working within the first month, but perhaps greater effects are seen with continued, long-term supplementation.
Click here for an overview going over the best citrus bergamot supplements.
However, it is important to note that individual results may vary. Other factors come into play as well, such as genetics, dietary patterns, exercise, and medication usage.
There is a wide range of effective dosages, anywhere from 200 to 1,300mg. With that said, most people may find the most benefits within a moderate dose of 500mg to 1,000mg of citrus bergamot extract per day.
Click here to read our article going over the recommended dosages for citrus bergamot.
It is advised to talk with one’s doctor to figure out if taking citrus bergamot is safe and to determine the optimal dosing for the individual.
Summary:Daily supplementation of 500mg to 1,000mg of citrus bergamot is thought to begin working within one to six months.
Citrus Bergamot vs. Other Herbs:
Citrus Bergamot is often compared with many other different types of herbs. We have put together a few helpful articles going over common comparisons.
Below, we’ve compiled our articles that go over the specific health benefits of citrus bergamot for additional reading.
Citrus bergamot is an Italian citrus fruit rich in flavonoids and other healthy compounds.
Among its many health benefits, several clinical trials show that citrus bergamot is effective for blood sugar and weight loss. Specifically, citrus bergamot may help decrease blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, improve metabolism, and reduce body fat.
If one is interested in supplementing with citrus bergamot for blood sugar or weight loss, taking 500mg to 1,000mg per day for one to six months seems to be the most effective protocol.