D-Limonene – Effective for Lowering Cholesterol Naturally and Much More

Looking for a way of reducing triglycerides and lowering cholesterol naturally? Consider the orange peel! D-limonene, the essential oil extracted from the rinds of citrus fruits, provides these and other heart-healthy benefits. But the health perks extend far beyond cardiovascular support. From a natural heartburn remedy to a potent cancer fighter, a little drop of this citrus oil packs a powerful punch for good health.

D-Limonene – Effective for Lowering Cholesterol Naturally and Much MoreD-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.[1] The nutrient has also been shown to contain blood pressure-reducing properties.[2] But, aside from the heart-healthy benefits for lowering cholesterol naturally, a number of d-limonene uses have been confirmed by research studies:

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  1. Boosts immunity. D-limonene is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.[3][4]
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Prevents and fights cancers. D-limonene has well-established chemopreventive activity against many types of cancer including breast cancer and colorectal cancer.[5]
  5. 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).[6]
  6. Kills pathogens/infections. D-limonene is naturally used by plants to kill pathogens; therefore, d-limonene has antibacterial and antifungal properties.[7]
  7. Aids in weight loss. D-limonene acts as a mild appetite suppressant and prevents weight gain.[8][9]
  8. Decreases anxiety and insomnia. It has an anti-anxiety effect, both calming nerves and improving sleep patterns.[10][11]

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:

[1] Phytother Res. 2012 Sep;26(9):1314-9.

[2] J of Pharm Sciences and Research, 2(11): 752-75.

[3] J Periodontol. 2006 Jun;77(6):963-8.

[4] J Oleo Sci. 2010;59(8):415-21.

[5] Altern Med Rev. 2007 Sep;12(3):259-64.

[6] Eur J Nutr. 2012 Feb;51(1):57-68.

[7] Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Jun;48(6):1734-40.

[8] Int J Med Sci. 2007; 4(4): 209–215.

[9] Phytother Res. 2010 Dec;24(12):1893-7.

[10] Brain Res. 2012 Apr 11;1448:56-62.

[11] Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011 Jan 7;404(1):345-8.


This post originally appeared in 2013 and has been updated. 

Posted in Cholesterol Control.

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  1. Greg says

    This is the first I’ve ever heard of d-limonene. I just knew that citrus fruits are good for you in ways that go beyond the substantial vitamin C they contain. Anyway, I’m sure there are significant health benefits of including d-limonene in our diets on a regular basis even in quantities that are much smaller that the supplements that are recommended. Personally, I like to squeeze the juice from a slice of lemon into every cup of green tea I drink, which is 4 or 5 cups a day. So I buy certified organic lemons to be sure there are no pesticides on the skin, then after squeezing out the juice (all the seeds always end up in the cup) I just pop the rest of the slice in my mouth and eat it while the tea is brewing. One of these days I’ll have to get a lemon tree growing in my yard so I won’t have to worry about whether or not they’re organic.

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