Heart Health With Krill Oil and Citrus Bergamot


In today’s world, it would appear that we are far more concerned about our appearance on the outside rather than on the inside, wouldn’t you agree? Social media has become part of our daily routine, and with that comes pros and cons. In the social media world, a person can be someone completely different. All one has to do is find good lighting, use a stellar filter, and take tens if not hundreds of selfies.

Obsession and emphasis over physical appearance has become so extreme that many will do whatever it takes to snap a good photo in high hopes for getting as many clicks on that little heart symbol as possible. Now, is this a bad thing? Some would say yes, while others would say no. It goes either way, and that is perfectly fine. What am I getting at? Simple – if we took half the time to look on the inside of our bodies, as we do on the outside, we all would be in much better condition.

Most of us are not aware of or simply do not take the time to look into our health markers. Cholesterol, known as a “waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body”, [1] works its way through the bloodstream in what we know as lipoproteins (fat on the inside and protein on the outside). Throughout the body, two different kinds of lipoproteins carry cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). With basic schooling in biology, we know that LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol and HDL is known as “good” cholesterol.

One of the basic understandings of LDL, when high levels occur, buildup of plague (cholesterol) starts to occur in the arteries (blood vessels carrying blood from the heart to your body) which leads to increased risk of heart disease. Good cholesterol (HDL) is carried throughout the body back to the liver, where the liver removes cholesterol and lowers the chance of heart disease.

Total cholesterol is simply the combination of LDL + HDL x 20% of triglycerides. This allows us to understand the danger of cardiovascular illness.

Triglycerides, a type of fat, come from the food we eat. Calories that are not required or used are then made into triglycerides and then stored as a form of fat.

Total Cholesterol range:

240 mg/dL and above = HIGH

200-239 mg/dL = BORDERLINE HIGH

Less than 200 mg/dL = IDEAL

LDL range:

190 mg/dL and over = VERY HIGH

160-189 mg/dL = HIGH

130-159 mg/dL = BORDERLINE HIGH

100-129 mg/dL = CLOSE TO IDEAL

Below 100mg/dL = IDEAL

HDL range:

Below 40mg/dL = LOW (HIGH HEART DISEASE RISK)

40-59 mg/dL = NORMAL

60 mg/dL = BEST (PROTECTION AGAINST HEART DISEASE)

Triglycerides range:

500 mg/dL and over = VERY HIGH

200-499 mg/dL = HIGH

150-199 mg/dL = HIGH

Below 150 mg/dL = IDEAL

From the ranges above, individuals should shoot for the lowest number possible for total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, where-as for HDL, the highest possible.

Without getting deep into too much detail, what are simple ways of keeping our cholesterol levels in range?

Eating a nutrient balanced diet, exercise, and rest. If all three of these are kept in check, without having any genetic related disorder related to cholesterol among a couple other factors, then not much should be worried about. How do we find out cholesterol numbers? Easy. Simply have a medical professional perform a blood test known as a lipid panel, which will tell you all four distinct numbers.

Now that we have the basic information covered, lets take a look into two different types of supplements that may be considered “kings of cholesterol”.

First, Krill Oil – which is a mixture of fatty acids known as Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) in the form of phospholipids. The body has a greater bioavailability for Krill Oil when compared to Fish Oil, which many may be taking for their cholesterol needs.

In a study by Bunea et al [2], a group of subjects all of which had elevated LDL and/or triglycerides in their blood, were divided into four groups:

Group 1 – placebo

Group 2 – 3 grams fish oil

Group 3 – 1-1.5 grams krill oil

Group 4 – 2-3 grams krill oil

Results:

Group 1 – no change in HDL, LDL, or triglycerides

Group 2 – HDL increased 4%, LDL decreased (not statistically significant)

Group 3 – HDL increased by 44%, LDL decreased by 32-35%, and triglyceride decreased by 11-12%

Group 4 – HDL increased by 55-50%, LDL decreased by 37-39%, and triglyceride decreased by 27-28%

For our second supplement, we have Citrus Bergamot.

Found in coastal regions of southern Italy, Bergamot is a small pear shaped citrus fruit. Bergamot fruit extract is packed with phytochemicals (types of flavonoids) that have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood vessel function. [3] For this purpose, we are looking at a standardized extract of bergamot fruit containing a minimum of 25% flavanones, including 1% Melitidine and 2% Bruteridine. Both have been shown to lower cholesterol by working similar to statin drugs in the way they inhibit the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase. [3]

In one clinical trial by Mollace, 238 patients all of whom had high cholesterol along with high blood sugar noted a significant drop in total cholesterol by 38%, while LDL dropped by an average of 37%. In the clinical trial subgroup, a dose of 500-1000mg dropped total cholesterol by an average of 32%, reduced LDL by 39%, increased HDL by 43%, reduced triglycerides by an average of 42%, and increased blood glucose levels by 22%.

Strong points from the clinical trails:

Strong reduction in total cholesterol

Strong reduction in LDL

Reduction in triglycerides

Increase in HDL

Significantly lowered blood glucose

Natural alternative to statin therapy [4]

With that strong of data coming from both Krill Oil and Citrus Bergamot, it would be silly to not add at least one of these into your daily health supplementation regimen. If one really wanted to see how either would impact their lipid panel, I would recommend by starting with one product, get a baseline lipid blood panel done, use for 4-8 weeks, get another lipid blood panel done, and see where you stand.

Recommended doses:

Krill Oil – 1-3 grams per day

Citrus Bergamot – 1000mg per day

The information provided in this article is for reference purposes only. Modern Athletic Health is not a medical website. Please Consult your doctor or physician before beginning any supplement regimen. This information is not intended to cure, treat, or diagnose any illness.

References:

[1]Staff. (2016, May 2). 2 Bergamot Benefits. Retrieved February 28, 2017, from University Health News Daily: http://universityhealthnews.com/daily/heart-health/bergamot-benefits-raise-the-hdl-good-cholesterol-and-relieve-anxiety-naturally-2/

[2]Bunea R, E. F. (2004). Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia. US National Library of Medicine National Insistutes of Health , 420-428.

[3]Services, U. D. (n.d.). What is Cholesterol. Retrieved from Hational Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc

[4]Mollace V, S. I. (2011). Hypolipemic and hypoglycaemic activity of bergamot polyphenols. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health , 309-316.

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