Orange Peels reduce LDL Cholesterol

polymethoxylated flavonoids (PMFs)

Should you eat the peel? Orange peels are very healthy.


Most of us will peel an orange and toss the peels without a second thought. Did you know that orange peels are a tremendous resource for regaining our health?

Cholesterol and orange peels

A new study has found that a polymethoxylated flavonoid called nobiletin found in orange peels reduces very low density cholesterol (VLDL and LDL) levels. The researchers, from the Robarts Research Institute of London and Ontario, found that the secretion of LDL and VLDL by human liver cells was significantly inhibited by nobiletin.

They also found that the polymethoxylated flavonoid, with a chemical structure of 3’4’5,6,7,8-hexamethoxyflavone, reduced VLDL levels found in insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.

LDL and VLDL are implicated in cardiovascular disease, because they promote something called lipid peroxidation, which damages the arteries.

This confirms the research by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists who found that 3’4’3,5,6,7,8-heptamethoxyflavone (HMF), another citrus polymethoxylated flavone, inhibited a precursory protein called apoprotein B found within low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

John Manthey, a chemist for the ARS from the USDA’s Winter Haven lab, is a leading citrus peel researcher. He has been researching the orange oils within orange peels for several years.

Citrus peel constituents

Citrus peels contain several polymethoxylated flavonoids (PMFs). Nobiletin is a O-methylated flavone. It renders a hydroxyl group that mediates a reaction called O-methylation. Methylation allows for the donation of methyl groups, which provide radical-neutralizing effects, as well as the inhibition of lipid peroxide-friendly LDL cholesterol apoprotein B. Other O-methylated flavones include tangeritin (first found in tangerine oil), wogonin (found in the herb baikal scullcap), and sinensetin, found in the Java tea herb Orthosiphon stamineus.

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Citrus peels can contain as much as 70% oil. The oil contains a number of other healthful components including limonene and linalool. Limonene is monoterpene known for its antimicrobial and radical-scavenging abilities.

Most applications of citrus remove the peel and toss it out. In a good year, over 700,000 tons of peel solids will be discarded or sold for feed.


Mulvihill EE, Assini JM, Lee JK, Allister EM, Sutherland BG, Koppes JB, Sawyez CG, Edwards JY, Telford DE, Charbonneau A, St-Pierre P, Marette A, Huff MW. Nobiletin attenuates VLDL overproduction, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerosis in mice with diet-induced insulin resistance. Diabetes. 2011 May;60(5):1446-57.

Manthey JA, Bendele P. Anti-inflammatory activity of an orange peel polymethoxylated flavone, 3′,4′,3,5,6,7,8-heptamethoxyflavone, in the rat carrageenan/paw edema and mouse lipopolysaccharide-challenge assays. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Oct 22;56(20):9399-403.


Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn our health around. As I drove home that night, I realized this knowledge should be available to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.”

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