Q: I’ve heard that bergamot supplements can help with high cholesterol. Should I take them?
A: Having high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood contributes to plaque buildup in your arteries, which puts you at greater risk for having a heart attack or stroke.
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There are several strategies for reducing cholesterol that are backed by strong scientific evidence, but bergamot supplements are not one of them. There’s currently no evidence to recommend them for lowering risk of heart attack or stroke.
What has been shown to work is making certain changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as adding more fiber to your diet and getting the recommended amount of exercise. Your doctor may also recommend a statin or another cholesterol-lowering medication to help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
It’s always best to work with your doctor on a plan for getting your cholesterol under control.
— Cardiologists Dennis Bruemmer, MD, PhD, and Steven E. Nissen, MD