Citrus Bergamot vs. Statins: Similarities & Differences Explained

Citrus bergamot is often compared to the use of statin drugs for cholesterol reduction. You may be wondering if citrus bergamot is an effective natural alternative to statins.  This article …

Photo of author
Written by: Jack Cincotta, MS
Published on:
Medical Review by: Daniel Powers, MS
Learn about our editorial process

Citrus bergamot is often compared to the use of statin drugs for cholesterol reduction. You may be wondering if citrus bergamot is an effective natural alternative to statins. 

This article will cover the similarities and differences of citrus bergamot vs. statins to determine which one is best.

We will take a look at the benefits, mechanism of action, side effects, safety profiles, and other key considerations. 

Citrus bergamot vs. statins: overveiw

Citrus Bergamot vs. Statins: Which One is Right For You?

Despite their similar effects, citrus bergamot and statins are very different classes of treatments. Citrus bergamot is a natural alternative medicine whereas statins are prescription medications.

It appears that citrus bergamot is a great natural alternative to statins for less severe cases. In fact, citrus bergamot has been shown in many studies to decrease LDL cholesterol levels essentially to the same degree as statins. Thus, it may be an effective first option for people before needing to go on statins, if or when this is needed.

It’s essential to talk with your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner to ensure that you don’t increase the risk of any problems if you decide to replace statin treatment with citrus bergamot. It also depends on the severity of your health concerns and how long (if applicable) you have been taking statin medication.

But based on the evidence, citrus bergamot and statins have very similar effects for lowering LDL cholesterol, yet citrus bergamot has far fewer possible side effects. 

Can You Take Citrus Bergamot & Statins Together?

Yes. In fact, clinical research has shown that dosing with citrus bergamot and statins can work well together to improve overall cholesterol and lipid profiles while also reducing vascular damage. Moreover, supplementing with citrus bergamot may be able to lower the total dose of statins one needs, which could reduce the risk of side effects.

It’s critical to talk with your doctor before combining citrus bergamot and statins. Regular blood work is also encouraged to ensure that the treatment is working optimally.

Citrus Bergamot Overview:

Citrus bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is a citrus fruit native to the Calabria region in Italy. It goes by a few other names, such as bergamot orange or sour orange. Traditional healers used citrus bergamot for various ailments, such as fevers, nausea, and infections.

Today, citrus bergamot is most often looked at due to its potential to lower cholesterol, although there are several other potential health benefits of citrus bergamot. 

For the purpose of this article, we will take a look below at the specific benefits of citrus bergamot for improving cholesterol levels. 

Citrus bergamot vs. statins - citrus bergamot

Citrus Bergamot & Cholesterol:

Citrus bergamot is sometimes referred to as a natural statin due to its cholesterol-lowering effects. Several clinical trials show that citrus bergamot is able to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

In one clinical trial on individuals with hyperlipidemia (elevated blood fats), citrus bergamot supplementation led to significant reductions in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol, in addition to notable improvements in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

A clinical trial involving patients with high cholesterol levels showed that long-term supplementation of citrus bergamot led to decreased LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as increased HDL cholesterol. 

Another clinical study looked into the effects of citrus bergamot, rosuvastain (a prescription statin medication), and their combination in people with elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The researchers found that all groups experienced decreases in LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and the ratio of HDL cholesterol. Importantly, citrus bergamot also seemed to enhance the action of the statins, working as effectively, if not better, than the medication.

Citrus bergamot is thought to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG CoA-reductase, which is involved in cholesterol production. Furthermore, citrus bergamot may inhibit LDL oxidation and aid in the removal of excess cholesterol in the bloodstream. 

Statins Overview:

Statins are a class of lipid-lowering medications used primarily to lower cholesterol levels. They have been used in the United States since 1987and from that time millions of individuals have been prescribed these medications.

The use of statins is designed to significantly lower cholesterol levels and in turn reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiac events, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke. 

Citrus bergamot vs. statins - statins

Statins & Cholesterol:

Statins have been used for 35 years now, there are hundreds of clinical trials detailing their effects on lowering cholesterol levels and related health outcomes.

Many studies have shown that statins reduce LDL cholesterol levels. In these studies, statin drugs were able to lower LDL cholesterol levels by anywhere from 17 to 68 mg/dL. The most recent systematic review and meta-analysis showed that treatment with statins led to marked reductions in LDL cholesterol and lowered the risk of heart attack, stroke, and all-cause mortality.

Statins work because they block an enzyme called HMG CoA-reductase, which ultimately leads to a decrease in total cholesterol production. 

Citrus Bergamot vs. Statins: Potential Side Effects & Interactions

Citrus bergamot generally has fewer possible side effects compared to statins. 

There are a few possible side effects of citrus bergamot, such as nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, heartburn, and, rarely, liver dysfunction. However, it is generally considered safe for most people to consume as an oral supplement. 

Click here for our overview of the best citrus bergamot supplements.

Citrus bergamot may interact with medications that lower cholesterol or decrease blood sugar, so it’s important to talk with your doctor before using any of those combinations.

Statins have more potential side effects than citrus bergamot even though they are generally considered safe for most individuals. Essentially all of the statin drugs are associated with an increased risk of myalgia (muscle pain), and some of the statins may cause myopathy, which involves muscle weakness, cramps, stiffness, spasms, and other problems.

Moreover, some individuals who take statins may experience a variety of other side effects, such as headache, dizziness, digestive issues, sleep problems, fatigue, liver problems, and increased blood sugar. 

Statins have the potential to interact with many medications. Some of the more common ones that may have negative effects are below:

  • Medications for arrhythmias, such as Cordarone and Pacerone
  • Other cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as Lopid
  • Protease inhibitors such as Invirase and Norvir
  • Certain antibiotics and antifungals, such as Onmel and Sporanox
  • Immunosuppressants, including Gengraf, Neoral, and Sandimmune

Statins may also negatively interact with grapefruit juice, because it contains a chemical that interferes with the breakdown of statins in your digestive system. 


Citrus bergamot and statins are unique to each other in that one is a natural remedy and the other is a prescription medication. Yet, they offer similar benefits for cholesterol and lipid profiles. 

Citrus bergamot is a natural herbal treatment that may lower LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides, while also increasing HDL cholesterol. 

Statins also are able to lower LDL cholesterol and improve HDL. Statins do, however, have side effects.

Citrus bergamot has a much lower risk of side effects and interactions compared to statins. And citrus bergamot supplementation may enhance the action of statins when used together.

With all of this considered, citrus bergamot supplementation seems to be the best choice for naturally reducing cholesterol levels, particularly when used as a preventive or for mild to moderately high cholesterol levels.

With that said, it can also safely be taken with statins, if that is determined to be the most appropriate course of action. As always, it’s best to talk with your doctor and discuss your unique concerns, goals, preferences, and medical history.

Photo of author

About Jack Cincotta, MS

Jack has a Master of Science degree in Psychology and is also an AADP® Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and AFPA® Certified Holistic Health Coach. His passion is to help people develop optimal levels of health, particularly mental health.