D-limonene, one of the most common terpenes in nature, is a major constituent in several citrus fruits – oranges, lemons, mandarins, limes and grapefruits – and provides these fruits their pleasant scent. In fact, d-limonene is often used in soaps, perfumes, lotions and environmentally-friendly household cleaning products due to its appealing aroma. But, aside from the sweet fragrance, consuming d-limonene can have a plethora of health benefits.
Lowering Cholesterol Naturally and Other Heart-Healthy Benefits of D-Limonene
D-limonene is a promising lipid-lowering agent, which means it can help lower both triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels. The nutrient has also been shown to contain blood pressure-reducing properties. But, aside from the heart-healthy benefits for lowering cholesterol naturally, a number of d-limonene uses have been confirmed by research studies:
- Boosts immunity. D-limonene is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
- Improves gallbladder health. Being a solvent of cholesterol, d-limonene has been used clinically to dissolve cholesterol-containing gallstones and clean out “fat sludge” in the gallbladder.
- Provides indigestion relief. Because of its gastric acid neutralizing effect and its support of normal peristalsis (digestive movement), it has also been used for heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) relief.
- Prevents and fights cancers. D-limonene has well-established chemopreventive activity against many types of cancer including breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
- Prevents fatty liver and insulin resistance. It helps prevent build-up of fat that results in a fatty liver while also preventing insulin resistance (pre-diabetes and diabetes).
- Kills pathogens/infections. D-limonene is naturally used by plants to kill pathogens; therefore, d-limonene has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Aids in weight loss. D-limonene acts as a mild appetite suppressant and prevents weight gain.
- Decreases anxiety and insomnia. It has an anti-anxiety effect, both calming nerves and improving sleep patterns.
How to Take D-Limonene
A person consuming 1 to 2 servings of citrus fruits per day is likely to get 15-40 mg of d-limonene; if the peels are consumed in some way this level may raise to 50-90 mg. The recommended dosage varies depending on the condition being treated, but most integrative physicians suggest taking 1,000 to 3,000 mg per day with meals. Therefore, it is best to take d-limonene as a daily supplement to obtain this daily dosage.
Dietary supplements and essential oil blends of d-limonene are typically produced from the peels of oranges. Since using tinctures or undiluted essential oils can irritate the digestive passages, capsules are generally recommended for internal use. Typical brands sold at the health food store or online will contain between 250 to 1,000 mg per capsule.
People who have gastric ulcers or those who take medications which interact with grapefruits should consult their personal doctor or an integrative physician before taking d-limonene.
Taking d-limonene capsules at higher doses (3,000 mg or more) may cause the following:
- Feeling tired (due to its calming and anti-anxiety properties)
- Because d-limonene helps peristaltic activity (digestive motion), higher doses could cause loose stools in some people
- Because the nutrient clears out sludge in the gallbladder, higher doses could move stagnant bile rapidly into the digestive tract, which may induce nausea
- Belching the oil – although annoying, it is not a health problem
Learn more about using essential oils for lowering cholesterol naturally:
- Improve Your Cholesterol Numbers with Citrus Fruits
- Surprising Health Benefit of Essential Oils
- Herb Used for Lowering Cholesterol Naturally
This post originally appeared in 2013 and has been updated.