Citrus Bergamot vs. Red Yeast Rice: Which One Should You Take to Lower Your Cholesterol?

Citrus Bergamot vs. Red Yeast Rice: Which One Should You Take to Lower Your Cholesterol?

By Dr. Kevin Passero

High cholesterol affects nearly 100 million Americans and raises the risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.*

And while this statistic may be frightening, gold-standard research published shows that you can effectively address high cholesterol and lower your cardiovascular risk naturally, without the “solutions” mainstream doctors recommend with their potentially harmful side effects.

Yet this is not what we are told by most mainstream doctors or media. Lifestyle changes, nutrition and natural remedies are too rarely discussed as effective ways to lower dangerous cholesterol.

In conjunction with healthy lifestyle choices, there are two nutrients, backed by clear and rigorous scientific research, which I have found to be highly effective with my patients when it comes to lowering high cholesterol without drugs: citrus bergamot extract and red yeast rice extract.

Hello, I’m Dr. Kevin Passero.

In over 20 years of seeing patients at my clinics in the Washington, DC area, I’ve helped thousands of my patients achieve their health goals and improve their lives by focusing on natural solutions. Since healthy cholesterol is an important goal for all of us, I made it my mission to research and understand the best natural options available.

In this article, we’ll explore the unique properties and benefits of each nutrient, examining how they work in the body and the scientific evidence supporting their use and why I use citrus bergamot as my “first line of defense” for lowering cholesterol.

Citrus Bergamot 101

Citrus bergamia is a yellowish-green citrus fruit grown predominantly in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. Citrus bergamot juice has a long history of use throughout the region as a heart tonic and overall health enhancer. You might also know the essential oil made from its peel as the flavoring ingredient in Earl Grey tea.

Citrus bergamot extract is rich in bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, polyphenols, and most notably, bergamot-specific flavonoids like brutieridin and melitidin, which are believed to contribute to its cholesterol-lowering properties and other health benefits.

Citrus Bergamot Lowers LDL and Triglycerides AND Boosts HDL

Citrus bergamot has been shown to help lower LDL “bad” (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, contributing to improved overall cardiovascular health. Citrus bergamot’s ability to boost HDL is unique and valuable, since although HDL plays an important role in removing the dangerous form of cholesterol from your blood stream, it can be difficult to target.

In a landmark scientific study, participants took 1,000 mg of a patented citrus bergamot extract called Bergamonte® daily, producing these impressive results in just 30 days:**

• Total cholesterol dropped 29%
• LDL cholesterol plunged 36%
• Triglycerides dropped 39%
• Beneficial HDL climbed 40%

Other research shows that flavonoids from citrus bergamot improve overall cholesterol balance. Specifically, citrus bergamot lowered LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDL cholesterol.*

How It Works: Researchers have found that citrus bergamot’s flavonoids, particularly brutieridin and melitidin, improve cholesterol by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme involved in cholesterol synthesis, which then leads to a decrease in cholesterol production. Furthermore, citrus bergamot helps remove cholesterol from the blood and inhibits LDL oxidation.*

Bonus Benefits: Citrus Bergamot Lowers Blood Sugar, Supports Weight Loss & Combats Inflammation

Beyond cholesterol regulation, citrus bergamot can have positive effects on other cardiometabolic markers, such as improving insulin sensitivity. This could be beneficial for individuals with metabolic syndrome or blood sugar issues and may support weight loss.

Research shows that citrus bergamot is effective for lowering blood sugar in both patients with high blood sugar and normal blood sugar levels. This means it may be effective both for preventing and reversing high blood sugar.**

Clinical studies on patients with metabolic syndrome show that citrus bergamot decreases blood sugar levels, improves insulin resistance, and leads to a healthier body weight and body composition.**

Additionally, the flavonoids in citrus bergamot provide potent antioxidant support, neutralizing free radicals and reducing the oxidative stress and inflammation that underlie various cardiovascular issues.

How to Choose a Citrus Bergamot Supplement

First and foremost, I recommend choosing a citrus bergamot supplement made with patented Bergamonte®. Unlike generic forms, Bergamonte® is standardized to a clinical-strength of 38% polyphenols—the powerful constituents that balance cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.

Secondly, be sure to utilize the full clinical serving of 1,000 mg daily. The clinical studies clearly show that 1,000 mg daily produced better overall results by far (50% lower LDL cholesterol and 82% higher HDL cholesterol) compared to the 500 mg dosage.*

Additionally, look for a supplement enhanced with ingredients like vitamin C to help your body more efficiently utilize the cholesterol-balancing properties of citrus bergamot for extra support for healthy lipid metabolism and arterial health.

Because of the success I’ve experienced with my patients lowering LDL cholesterol levels with citrus bergamot, its incredible safety record, and the wide range of cardiovascular benefits it can provide, I consider citrus bergamot to be my “first line of defense” when it comes to addressing cholesterol issues.

Red Yeast Rice 101

Used as a cardiovascular remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 700 years, red yeast rice is a well-researched and validated natural ingredient for lowering cholesterol and reducing cardiovascular risk factors.

Red yeast rice is made by fermenting white rice with a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus. As a result of the fermentation process, the rice turns bright reddish purple. Red yeast rice contains an array of natural cholesterol-lowering compounds, including plant sterols, flavonoids, isoflavones, and most notably, at least 13 active monacolins, which block an enzyme involved in cholesterol production in the liver.

Red Yeast Rice Offers Powerful Cholesterol-Lowering Support

The most well-researched benefit of red yeast rice is improved cholesterol levels. A clinical trial on individuals with high cholesterol levels showed that red yeast rice extract led to major reductions in LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol in just 8 weeks.*

Another clinical trial conducted on patients with high cholesterol found that red yeast rice led to marked decreases in LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.*

How It Works: Red yeast rice can work for reducing cholesterol and lipids in several ways. For example, it upregulates receptors involved in cholesterol metabolism, enhances enzymes involved in fat breakdown, and helps prevent fat and cholesterol accumulation in the liver and other areas.*

This makes it a valuable tool for those seeking targeted, effective natural support for cholesterol balance.

Bonus Benefits: Red Yeast Rice Lowers CRP, Supports Blood Flow & Improves Insulin Sensitivity

In addition to its clinically proven ability to lower cholesterol levels, red yeast rice supports cardiovascular health in several other ways.

Clinical trials have shown that it lowers high-sensitive C-reactive protein, a key inflammatory marker known to have negative impacts on the cardiovascular system. It also improves insulin sensitivity, decreases leptin resistance, improves blood flow, and even has balancing effects on the immune system.

One clinical trial showed that red yeast rice led to significant reductions in inflammatory markers and increased endothelial function, both of which are signs of improved vascular health.*

In another study, researchers discovered that red yeast rice greatly decreased markers of inflammation and vascular remodeling. This suggests that red yeast rice was effective for preventing dysfunction in the vascular system that could otherwise lead to health problems, such as atherosclerosis.*

Overall, red yeast rice appears to improve vascular function and circulation, which is largely attributed to reduced endothelial inflammation as well as preventing the buildup of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

How to Choose a Red Yeast Rice Supplement

Red yeast rice has been the subject of controversy at times because some of the naturally occurring monacolins it contains balance cholesterol via a mechanism of action that is similar to that of statin medication. If a red yeast rice supplement is not produced with careful controls and testing in place, it has the potential to cause the same side effects as statins, including muscle aches and CoQ10 depletion, which can impact heart health.

For this reason, it’s important to choose a red yeast rice extract that is standardized to ensure that it provides precisely the clinically validated levels and proper balance of active compounds needed to effectively lower cholesterol safely. Taking CoQ10 with red yeast rice is also important to counterbalance the potential CoQ10-depleting effects of monacolins. As a bonus, CoQ10 provides additional cardiovascular and antioxidant benefits.

It’s also critical that the supplement you choose is made with rigorous safety controls to ensure it is free of citrinin, a common by-product of the red yeast rice fermentation process linked to kidney damage.

Citrus Bergamot vs. Red Yeast Rice: Which One Is Right for You?

You may be wondering if citrus bergamot or red yeast rice is better for you.

As I mentioned earlier, I consider citrus bergamot to be my “first line of defense” when it comes to addressing high cholesterol levels with my patients because it has proven to be effective and has virtually no side effects.

I recommend taking 1,000 mg of citrus bergamot daily, with a follow up lab test after 90 days of use to get an objective view of the results.

Since natural ingredients affect everyone differently, and citrus bergamot and red yeast rice have different mechanism of action, if there is no significant improvement after 90 days of taking citrus bergamot, I then often recommend switching to red yeast rice.

Keep in mind that there are some people who should not take red yeast rice, including those with established liver disease. Additionally, if you are taking a prescription medication for cholesterol, you should not take red yeast rice, while citrus bergamot extract has been shown to be safe and effective for use in combination with prescription cholesterol-lowering medications and may even enhance their effectiveness.

Can Citrus Bergamot and Red Yeast Rice Be Taken Together?

Since citrus bergamot and red yeast rice work in different ways in the body, combining them can be a great option for maximum cardiovascular protection.

While both citrus bergamot and red yeast rice are effective at promoting healthy cholesterol levels, each ingredient offers distinct benefits because their primary ingredients work via different mechanisms of action.

In my clinical practice, I often use the combination of citrus bergamot and red yeast rice together to support balanced cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health for patients with either severe or stubborn cholesterol issues.

To learn more Durable HEART with citrus bergamot, click here.

To learn more about Durable RED YEAST RICE, click here.

To learn more about Durable HEART PLUS which is a discounted bundle featuring Durable HEART and Durable RED YEAST RICE, click here.

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