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Research supports bergamot's benefit in fatty liver disease, manufacturer says

By Hank Schultz , 28-Feb-2014
Last updated on 28-Feb-2014 at 17:21 GMT

Natural Health Solutions says new research confirms the benefits of its BergaMet supplement, a highly concentrated extract of the Calabrian bergamot fruit, has benefits for consumers who show signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

“We are excited about the results because there is nothing else on the market that addresses fatty liver in a nutraceutical way,” Selwyn Barr, CEO of Natural Health Solutions told NutraIngredients-USA.

“NAFLD is a signifcant health problem worldwide,” Barr said. “In Taiwan as much as 60% of the popultion have signs of this condition.”

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most prevalent liver abnormality in Western countries and parallels the epidemic of metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes.  Frequently disabling and occasionally leading to cirrhosis, fatty liver disease has been difficult to treat.  Although anti-oxidant vitamin E is helpful in a minority of patients, there remains an intense search for natural and safe supplements that might ameliorate the condition, decrease hepatic fat and improve liver function abnormalities.

Study parameters

In a study conducted by Professor G. Rosano (San Raffaelle Pisana Clinic, Rome) involving investigators from the US, Australia and the University of Catanzaro (led by Professor V. Mollace), 107 patients with metabolic syndrome and NAFLD were treated for 120 days with polyphenol-rich 38% citrus bergamot extract (BergaMet). In addition to the expected significant improvements in cholesterol levels, lipid particle characteristics, blood sugar and inflammation, there was a strikingly positive effect on both liver function and structure. Ultrasound of abdominal structures ("hepatorenal ratio") revealed a dramatic 50% reduction in liver fat, while a biochemical analysis ("steato test") demonstrated a 40% improvement in scores. Bergamot therapy converted the typical patient from severe steatosis (fatty liver) to the moderate category in 12 weeks. Standard liver function blood tests also quickly normalized in the majority of patients.

Bergamot research

The study is expected to be presented at the next conference on bergamot polyphenols led by Prof Mollace of the University of Catanzaro and study has been accepted for publication the journal Advances in Biological Chemistry , Barr said. NutraIngredents-USA has not seen the data. Mollace has been studying bergamot polyphenols for a number of years and has published earlier research in the journal Filoterapia . and the backing he has received from European authorities shows that they believe the product is for real, Barr said.

“Prof. Mollace has got a 14 million euro grant last year to build his facility and another 15 million euors this year for research primarily into this product,” Barr said.

“I’ve built a company around a single product and we produce the product to a standard of quality, not to a price,” he said. “We’re not into misprepresentation or embellishment, but I believe in the not too distant future this will be recognized as of the greatest superfood discoveries of all time.”

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