This information is provided for the purposes of explanation and discussion, the views represented by the various experts quoted is not intended to confer any meaning other than that of their own personal and professional opinion. Everyone who chooses to use BergaMet does so based upon their own will. Please consult your doctor before changing any prescription drugs or deciding to take any other product.

Frequently asked questions

The experts view of how BergaMet should be used

Dr Ross Walker, Cardiologist MB, BS(Hons), FRACP, FCSANZ

1) Can people stop taking statins immediately after starting to take BergaMet?

If you are on a statin, you should newver stop this without your doctor's permission and supervision. If you have been taking statins for any length of time, sudden cessation may lead to a marked rise in cholesterol over the initial levels.

This is because statins block the last step in cholesterol production and when these are stopped, there is often an over-reaction of the blocked enzyme system lasting for a 6-8 week period. A natural product such as BergaMet is not strong enough to overcome this effect initially, and would not be expected to reduce cholesterol for at least 2-3 months under these circumstances.

2) Can people take BergaMet whilst taking warfarin?

There is no known interaction between warfarin and BergaMet and therefore from the studies to date this appears a perfectly safe thing to do.

3) How does BergaMet differ from grapefruit, and does it have some of the side effects that people experience with grapefruit?

Although BergaMet has some similar antioxidants to grapefruit, grapefruit has a profound effect on the metabolic pathways within the liver thus blocking many drugs, whereas BergaMet does not appear to have the same effect and therefore appears safe to take with all medications.

4) Why is it important to take BergaMet prior to meals? Also, is it still a benefit to take after meals, if you forget to take it prior to eating?

BergaMet has three main modes of action. Firstly, it works to block the rate limiting step in cholesterol production known as the HMG CoA Reductase Enzyme which is the enzyme that is blocked by statin drugs. BergaMet works at a different site on this enzyme and therefore does not appear to affect the muscles and the liver in the same way that statin drugs may do.It does, however, have a significant reduction in cholesterol through this first mode of action.

Secondly, BergaMet works directly on the insulin receptor, thus affecting the metabolic syndrome, i.e. the combination of the tendency to diabetes, high blood pressure, specific cholesterol abnormalities and abdominal obesity. All of these factors contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Thirdly, BergaMet blocks cholesterol absorption in the gut similar to the plant sterols found in some types of margarine and avocado. This is the major reason it is important to take BergaMet before meals, i.e. to block the absorption of cholesterol and other fats following the ingestion of a meal.

BergaMet will still have an action if taken after a meal though not as strong as if it is taken before, but certainly if you forget to take it before, you should still take BergaMet later.

5) Does it help to lower cholesterol after it has passed through the liver?

It does, but not as much, as it mainly works in the liver and that is precisely how it acts on affecting the cholesterol pathways in the liver, mentioned in answer 3 above. It also has some peripheral metabolic effects as well but they are not as profound as what happens in the liver.

6) How does BergaMet help lower blood glucose?

It has an effect on blood glucose because of the direct effect on the energy receptor on the cell surface. Apart from the brain, for glucose to enter the cells and in particular the muscles, it has to enter via a receptor which I term the energy receptor. Insulin is the doorman that opens the door to facilitate the entry of glucose and other nutrients into the cells. In people with metabolic syndrome characterised by a tendency to diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, abdominal obesity and cardiovascular disease, the energy receptor is partially jammed and the only way the body can respond to this is by making more insulin to enter the cell. BergaMet acts directly on this receptor to facilitate it opening and thus allow more sugar to enter the cell. This is probably why it also helps to reduce blood pressure and increase HDL.

7) Is it okay to take BergaMet for patients recovering from cancer treatment?

There are no problems in this regard, and in fact there is some evidence to show some support for BergaMet in patients with various types of cancer, although this is certainly not a proven benefit as yet.

Professor Mollace answers questions about BergaMet (Citrus Bergamot)

Vincenzo Mollace MD, PhD. Lead researcher on citrus bergamot. Professor Faculty of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Catanzaro, Italy.

1) How does BergaMet work, and what specific areas does it address?

BergaMet reduces the amount of lipid (cholesterol and triglycerides) consumed through meals. In addition it reduces the internal formation of cholesterol. Finally, BergaMet helps glucose to enter cells thereby producing benefit in patients suffering from metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

2) How many patients have taken part in clinical trials to date?

In many countries (Italy, Australia and USA) more than 2,000 patients are currently taking BergaMet.

3) Have there been any side effects for patients taking BergaMet?

To date, we have not found any significant side effects clearly correlating with the use of BergaMet..

4) Can patients take BergaMet while on statins and blood pressure medication?

Many of the patients taking BergaMet are also taking statins or drugs acting on the cardiovascular system. No significant changes in their therapeutic response have been found to date.

5) Can patients who have had heart bypass and stent procedures take BergaMet?

Many of the patients studied in clinical trials published in specialised journals have been undergoing coronary bypass or stent procedures, and it shows beneficial effects on blood cholesterol and triglycerides.

6) Why is it important to take BergaMet before meals?

BergaMet has to be taken before meals since it reduces lipid absorption in the gut.

7) How does BergaMet compare to other natural products such as red rice yeast, policosanol and others?

BergaMet is the only natural compound working simultaneously on cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose. It may be taken together with other natural compounds because it has a separate mechanism of action to them.

8) What qualities does BergaMet possess that other citrus fruits don't?

BergaMet (Bergamot) contains an extremely large amount of polyphenols, as compared to other citrus species. Two of these, Brutelidin and Melitidin, directly inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis in a way similar to statins, and they are not found in any other citrus derivatives.

9) Does BergaMet have any effect on neuroprotection?

Experimental studies have recently revealed that Bergamot extract may have a protective effect on brain tissues.

10) Does BergaMet have any anti-inflammatory qualities?

Recent studies have also shown that antioxidant molecules contained in BergaMet may produce relevant effects on chronic inflammatory disorders and enhances the effect of drugs such as morphine acting on pain sensitivity.