Against the most resistant cholesterol and visceral fat, a help seems to come from the synergy between artichoke and bergamot. Here are two new and powerful allies for our health, also capable of reducing cardiovascular risk in those who, due to genetic causes, do not respond to other treatments. This is what emerges from a very recent scientific research that will be published in the next issue of the Nutrients magazine thanks to the work of an Italian team (Riva et al, Nutrients, 2022).
Cholesterol, statins and natural alternatives
It is estimated that around 50% of deaths worldwide each year are attributable to cardiovascular disease. Certainly a milestone in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases is represented by statins, very powerful drugs capable of lowering cholesterol and with it the possible damage to the heart and blood vessels. However, statins have side effects that often lead people to abandon any treatment. Therefore, science is constantly looking for substances capable of protecting the heart and reducing cardiovascular risk. Bergamot, for example, has shown important cholesterol-lowering properties, although not all people respond equally to this treatment. In fact, it may happen that, for genetic reasons, the person treated with bergamot does not show any improvement in cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk. For this reason, the scientists of the study we are talking about today tested the synergy between bergamot and artichoke. The artichoke, in fact, protects the cardiovascular system, is anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic, therefore useful to counteract excessive blood sugar levels that in the long run can also damage the heart and increase bad cholesterol.
Artichoke and bergamot lower cholesterol and visceral fat, the study
To understand the effects of this synergy, the researchers recruited 60 people, between 18 and 65 years old, overweight or obese and with hypercholesterolemia with values between 220 and 280 mg / dL. In addition, these people were also resistant to previous treatments aimed at lowering cholesterol. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to take 600 mg of bergamot extracts and 100 mg of artichoke leaf extracts every day for two months. The second group was given a placebo instead. Before, during and at the end of the experiment, the study participants underwent medical examinations to assess the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and visceral fat. Well, what emerged was that those who had taken the extracts had a significant decrease in total cholesterol, reduced by an average of 13 mg / dL, and a modest decrease in bad cholesterol, reduced by an average of 1 mg / dL. However, it should be noted that every reduction of one milligram per deciliter of bad cholesterol lowers the risk of stroke and heart attack by 1%, therefore even a modest reduction, if read taking into account this observation, is to be considered significant, also considering that the people treated had not responded to any previous treatment. In addition, the good cholesterol was increased by 4.4 mg / dL. No differences were observed with regard to triglyceride values. Also noteworthy is the fact that in those who had taken the extracts there was a reduction in the waistline and visceral fat, which is the most dangerous fat as it is capable of releasing hormones and pro-inflammatory substances, thus increasing the levels of chronic inflammation and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression but also a weakening of the immune system and cellular degeneration.