Unlocking the anti-inflammatory secrets of bergamot byproducts

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In a recent review published in Nutrients, researchers examined current evidence showing the positive effect of bergamot derivatives and waste products in various models of inflammatory-based disorders, underscoring the significant potential of a waste re-evaluation approach.

Study: Bergamot Byproducts: A Sustainable Source to Counteract Inflammation. Image Credit: Chantarat/Shutterstock.comStudy: Bergamot Byproducts: A Sustainable Source to Counteract Inflammation. Image Credit: Chantarat/Shutterstock.com


Chronic inflammation refers to acute inflammatory responses that fail to eradicate pathogens or repair tissue lesions, resulting in skin problems, respiratory and neurological illnesses, metabolic syndrome, and cancer.

Patients do not tolerate long-term synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs due to their significant adverse effects.

Citrus fruit waste, including bergamot byproducts, has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in treating systemic, low-grade inflammation, improving the quality of life of individuals with chronic inflammatory disorders.

About the review

In the present review, researchers reviewed the anti-inflammatory properties of bergamot.

Bergamot composition and properties

Citrus bergamia Risso (bergamot) is an indigenous plant of the Calabria area of Italy. Bergamot essential oil (BEO) is considered an antiseptic due to its antibacterial properties. Further, in vitro studies revealed that BEO may have an anticancerogenic impact.

Bergamot juices (BJs), collected by pressing residual citrus pulps, have been considered waste in the essence business. Nonetheless, BJ has captured scientific interest as a novel source of several bioactive chemicals.

BJ contains many flavonoids with biological effects, such as neohesperidin, naringin, melitidin, neoeriocitrin, diosmin, brutieridin, rhoifolin, and poncirin.

It also has a high concentration of organic acids, minerals, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, pectin, phosphates, and dietary fiber.

Bergamot seed extracts comprising limonin and nomilin as primary components have demonstrated antiretroviral actions inhibiting human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infections.

Oils extracted from bergamot leaves contain potentially beneficial components such as linalool, alpha-terpineol, and linalyl acetate.

Anti-inflammatory applications of bergamot and its derivatives

Bergamot has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in experimental models, including lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced gingival inflammation in rats.

Flavonoid-rich extracts of BJ reduced inflammatory responses in LPS-exposed leukemic THP-1 monocyte cells in vitro and in vivo. BEO fractions lacking furocoumarin compounds (BEO-FF), such as bergamot juice extract (Bje), have also lowered acute inflammation in animal studies.

BEO demonstrated significant anti-asthmatic benefits in the in vitro and in vivo settings. BEO reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine genes such as interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) in LIPS-exposed alveolar macrophage cell lines.

It also inhibited mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation, the Janus kinase-signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK-STAT) pathway, and the expression of prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase-2 (PTGS2) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-α) genes.

Bergapten and BEO have also proven beneficial in more sophisticated respiratory inflammatory models, such as animal models.

Inhaling BEO decreased airway constriction and pulmonary inflammation in ovalbumin-induced murine animals by lowering TNF-α, IL-1, 4, 5, 6, and 13 (at protein and gene levels) and inhibiting collagen deposition.

In murine models, bergapten alleviated inflammatory symptoms related to combination allergy rhinitis and asthma syndrome (CARAS).

Inflammation heralds and exacerbates metabolic syndrome. Several studies have shown that bergamot compounds and byproducts regulate cardiovascular and metabolic functions due to their oxidative stress-lowering actions that reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Polyphenols extracted from bergamot leaves (BLPF) and fruits (BFPF) inhibited nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) translocation, preventing inflammatory cytokine activation in cellular models of interleukin-1-induced inflammation.

Bergamot leaf extracts (BLE) reduce inflammation (TNF-α and IL-6 levels) and oxidative stress by working on the adipose tissue-liver axis of obese rats, potentially improving both insulin resistance and dyslipidemia.

In clinical trials, a nutraceutical containing bergamot extract reduced high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and TNF-α levels in dyslipidemic overweight individuals.

BJ extracts have demonstrated neuroprotective properties in Alzheimer's disease (AD) models in vitro by reducing pro-inflammatory responses driven by β-amyloid in THP-1 cells. BEO significantly lowered the amount of IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α in rats' hippocampus and frontal cortex in vivo.


Based on the review findings, bergamot contains anti-inflammatory qualities that can aid in treating inflammatory diseases. Recent studies have highlighted its capacity to influence chemokine expression and release and the activity of nuclear factors and enzymes associated with inflammation.

Flavonoids describe bergamot juice, whereas limonoids characterize its seeds. Monoterpenes, coumarins, and psoralens are abundant in bergamot leaf oil.

Bergamot extracts high in flavonoids can fight acute inflammation and periodontitis by modifying inflammatory biomarker levels.

BEO helps alleviate asthma symptoms by influencing IL-1β, 4, 5, 6, and 13, TNF-α, MAPKs-1,3,8,14, JAK2, STAT3, PTGS2, and PPAR-α levels. Likewise, bergamot extracts can treat metabolic syndrome by altering NF-κB, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10, and CRP.

Bergamot polyphenols can treat Alzheimer's disease and skin inflammation by modulating cytokines in the inflammatory system.

Journal reference:
Pooja Toshniwal Paharia

Written by

Pooja Toshniwal Paharia

Dr. based clinical-radiological diagnosis and management of oral lesions and conditions and associated maxillofacial disorders.


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