The Power of D-Limonene: Remarkable Health Benefits of Citrus Peel Oils

By Dr. Linda J. Dobberstein, DC, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

August 21, 2023

The Power of D-Limonene: Remarkable Health Benefits of Citrus Peel Oils

The scent of fresh oranges or lemons can wake up your taste buds or provide a refreshing aroma during a nature walk. Citrus peels’ natural oils are commonly used in household and personal care products for their invigorating aroma. However, as nutritional supplements, they offer remarkable health benefits due to their wide array of cellular effects and antioxidant support.

Broad Array of Biological Activities

D-limonene belongs to a family of plant-compounds known as terpenes. It is the most frequently occurring natural monoterpene, providing its unique scent and a wide range of benefits. D-limonene possesses a broad array of biological activities. It functions as an antioxidant and offers protection to the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, and lungs. It supports blood pressure, flow, and the natural dilation of blood vessels. Moreover, it aids the immune defense system and assists in modulation of cellular clean-up activities. Here are some recent findings that delve deeper into d-limonene’s surprising benefits.

Gastroprotective Support

One of the most popular uses of d-limonene is its support for the gastrointestinal tract and occasional acid reflux. D-limonene enhances cellular mechanisms responsible for repair and restoration of the gastric protective barrier. It fortifies the stomach’s natural mucosal barrier without suppressing digestive juices.

In one study, mice were exposed to NSAIDs and alcohol, which are known irritants to the digestive tract. Mice faired significantly better when given d-Limonene, as it increased production of stomach mucous. Additionally, the release of the PgE2 prostaglandin, a pro-inflammatory compound, was inhibited.

Candida and Immune Support

Candida, a naturally occurring yeast, is part of your normal gut flora, skin, and mouth. A proper balance between Candida and the rest of your natural flora is important for your overall immune health.

Researchers discovered that d-limonene disrupts the natural formation and growth of Candida. It also blocks attachment to epithelial tissues and induced oxidative stress to the cell wall of Candida albicans, disrupting its growth cycle. This leads to apoptosis, or cell death, of Candida without stressing surrounding tissues. Epithelial tissues refer to the thin layers covering the exposed surfaces of your body and the lining of hollow parts of every organ. Examples include your skin, mouth, gut, urinary system, etc.

Neuroprotective Effects

D-limonene also provides antioxidant and neuroprotective support for your brain. Research indicates that it modestly inhibits enzymes that break down acetylcholine, the memory neurotransmitter, thereby enhancing memory and cognitive function.

Further studies demonstrated that d-limonene significantly decreased microglial cell activation, nitric oxide stress, and release of interleukins and TNF-alpha. It enhanced antioxidant levels of SOD, catalase, and glutathione in the brain. Results showed memory improvement, calming effects on nerve irritability, and enhanced comfort management.

Metabolism and AMPK Activation

In terms of metabolic protection, d-limonene supports activation of the AMPK pathway. This impacts your metabolic rate, energy levels, and much more. AMPK activation led to metabolic modulation of body weight, HDL, LDL, and triglyceride levels.

AMPK serves as a master enzyme switch, regulating cellular metabolism and energy production. It assists cells and mitochondria in burning fat and glucose for energy. More about AMPK may be found in the article: Master Enzyme Switch Deactivated in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.

Protection Against Cellular Stress

Researchers have explored the antioxidant-protective effects on several organs like the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, and others. D-limonene’s antioxidant effect on the heart is quite impressive. Intake of D-limonene improved antioxidant levels and inhibited oxidative stress in the heart, as evidenced by the modulation of IL-6, TNF-alpha, lipid peroxides, and other metabolic markers. Furthermore, cardiac tissue samples from rats showed its support for normal tissue architecture by regulating PPAR and other signaling factors.

Additionally, its low molecular weight and lipophilic nature allow d-limonene to enter and saturate cell membranes, providing essential antioxidant protection in those areas. The activity of super antioxidants like SOD and glutathione were also enhanced, thereby protecting the heart under stress. Other findings indicated that d-Limonene provides supportive calming effects on the electrical rhythmic functions of the heart during stress.

In mouse lung tissues, research demonstrated that d-limonene inhibited the expression of NF-kappa B, TNF-alpha, IL-6 and other inflammatory compounds. It provided antioxidant protection against lipopolysaccharide (LPS) toxins. Consider including d-limonene in your nutritional arsenal for respiratory support during immune challenges.

D-limonene provides antioxidant protection to the liver. In a stress study in mice, results showed that d-limonene provided similar protection as it did in the lung study mentioned above. Levels of NF-kappa B, TNF-alpha, IL-6 and other inflammatory compounds remained stable in the group given d-limonene, as compared to the placebo group.

Additional experimental evidence revealed that d-limonene provided antioxidant support, as well as blood sugar management, in the liver and pancreas of rats fed a high fat diet. This was beneficial for managing fatty congestion in the liver. A increasing body of research also indicates that d-limonene supports cellular apoptosis against rogue cells in various parts of the body.

Who would have thought that the oils found in citrus peels could have such extensive effects? This refreshing scent and oil pack a powerful and health promoting punch! These benefits extend far beyond this brief overview. For more information refer to the article: D-Limonene: Help for Digestion, Metabolism, Detoxification, Mood.

We offer a solvent-free, cold-press extraction of d-limonene oil, which ensures the highest purity supplement. Each soft gel capsule contains 1000 mg of d-limonene extracted from orange peels.

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