What Is It?
Health Benefits

Dosage Information

Guidelines for Use

General Interaction

Possible Side Effects

Evidence Based Rating Scale


What Is It?

A flavonoid compound found in grapefruit, naringin gives grapefruit its characteristic bitter flavor. Grapefruit processors attempt to select fruits with low naringin content and often blend juices obtained from different grapefruit varieties to obtain the desired degree of bitterness. Naringin is believed to enhance the perception of taste by stimulating the taste buds (some people consume a small amount of grapefruit juice before a meal for this reason).

Naringin has also been shown to affect the absorption of certain drugs in the intestines and to interfere with drug breakdown in the liver, which may result in higher or lower active levels of the drug in the blood. Some examples of drugs affected by naringin include oral contraceptives and medications for high blood pressure, allergies, and cholesterol-lowering.

Health Benefits

Naringin may be instrumental in inhibiting cancer-causing compounds and, thus, may have potential chemotherapeutic value. The supplement may also help treat diabetes and improve heart health by regulating cholesterol levels and helping to lower blood pressure. Naringin has also gained attention for its ability to prevent bruising and bleeding and to heal damaged tissue after a workout, but scientific evidence is lacking.

Specifically, naringin may help to:

Prevent and treat cancer. Flavonoids—the compounds that give grapefruit their colorful pigment—act as powerful antioxidants, preventing cell damage caused by unstable oxygen molecules known as Free radicals. In a 2008 laboratory study evaluating the anti-tumor effects of six citrus flavonoids, naringin and naringenin (also found in grapefruit) showed significant anti-tumor effects, while the other four flavonoids were inactive. (1) In a 2012 study, naringin inhibited tumor growth by up to 75% in rats with cancerous tumors and led to complete tumor regression in two of the rats. (2) More research is needed.

Naringin has also been shown to enhance the effects of drugs used to treat cancer. In laboratory studies, naringin has been shown to reduce damage to healthy cells and increase sensitivity of cancerous cells exposed to the conventional chemotherapy drugs bleomycin and doxorubicin. (3-4)

Regulate blood sugar in diabetes. Preliminary studies indicate that the hypoglycemic effects of naringin may be useful in regulating blood glucose   levels in patients with diabetes. (5, 6) In a 2008 study, treating diabetic rats with high doses of naringin and vitamin C regulated blood sugar levels as effectively as insulin alone. (7) However, conflicting evidence exists. A 2012 study found that naringin alone did not exhibit hypoglycemic effects in diabetic rats. (8) More research is needed.

Naringin has also been shown to help prevent eye and nerve damage in people with diabetes. Cataracts can form when the breakdown products of sugar accumulate in the lens of the eye. Several laboratory studies examining the lenses of diabetic animals have found that flavonoids like naringin work as an aldose reductase inhibitor to prevent this transformation. (9-12)

Improve heart health. Some studies have shown that naringin increases levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, which helps to slow accumulation of artery-clogging plaque. In a 2004 study, naringin was as effective as the conventional medication lovastatin in decreasing total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol in rats. Naringin also seemed to prevent damage to the aortic wall. (13) These cholesterol-lowering effects of naringin appear to be associated with the length of treatment, however. In a 2006 study of rats fed a high fat, high cholesterol diet with or without naringin supplementation for three or six weeks, naringin led to a significant decrease in plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the six-week trial group. No changes were seen in the three-week trial group. (14) When used prophlylactically, naringin also seems to have cardio-protective effects. In a 2009 study, rats treated with naringin for 56 days prior to being injected with drugs that predispose them to heart attack had significantly decreased damage to the heart. (15) However, studies in humans have not been positive. In a four-week trial involving 194 men and women with high cholesterol, treatment with 500 milligrams of naringin and 800 milligrams of hesperidin (another citrus flavonoid) did not affect cholesterol levels. (16) More research is needed.

In a small double blind, crossover study of 12 patients with high blood pressure, drinking juice with a high content of naringin and narirutin (another citrus flavonoid) significantly reduced diastolic blood pressure (the lower number in the blood pressure reading) compared to juice with 1/4- 1/3 less naringin and narirutin content. Systolic blood pressure (the higher number) declined in both groups. (17) A new study in 2012 found that a combination of naringin and hesperidin suppressed the age-related increase in blood pressure and exhibited vasodilating (widening of the blood vessels) in stroke-prone, hypertensive rats. (18) More research is needed.


  • Capsule
  • Food
  • Liquid
  • Pill

Dosage Information

No typical dosage has been established for naringin; few human studies have been conducted.

Guidelines for Use

Because absorption of naringin from grapefruit juice varies from one individual to the next, supplementation is the best way to get a standardized dose.

Take naringin with a meal for maximum benefit.

General Interaction

A number of drugs that are known to be affected by the naringin in grapefruit include calcium channel blockers, estrogen, sedatives, medications for high blood pressure, allergies, AIDS, and cholesterol-lowering drugs. Caffeine levels and effects of caffeine may also be extended by consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice. If taking medication, consult the WholeHealthMD and your physician for potential drug interactions.

The effects of drinking grapefruit juice are cumulative, which means that consuming a glass of grapefruit juice daily with medication for a week would make the drug interaction stronger at the end of the week than at the beginning of the week.

Possible Side Effects

No known side effects.


The effects of naringin on drug absorption and metabolism is are variable, potentially either increasing or decreasing the drug’s effectiveness. If taking medications, use grapefruit supplements only under a physician’s supervision.


1. Miller EG, Peacock JJ, Bourland TC, et al. Inhibition of oral carcinogenesis by citrus flavonoids. Nutr Cancer. 2008;60(1):69-74.
2. Camargo CA, Gomes-Marcondes MC, Wutzki NC, Aoyama H. Naringin inhibits tumor growth and reduces interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor a levels in rats with Walker 256 carcinosarcoma. Anticancer Res. 2012 Jan;32(1):129-33.
3. Jagetia A, Jagetia GC, Jha S. Naringin, a grapefruit flavanone, protects V79 cells against the bleomycin-induced genotoxicity and decline in survival. J Appl Toxicol. 2007 Mar-Apr;27(2):122-32.
4.  Ali MM, Agha FG, El-Sammad NM, Hassan SK. Modulation of anticancer drug-induced P-glycoprotein expression by naringin. Z Naturforsch C. 2009 Jan-Feb;64(1-2):109-16.
5. Ali MM, El Kader MA. The influence of naringin on the oxidative state of rats with streptozotocin-induced acute hyperglycaemia. Z Naturoforsch C. 2004 Sep-Oct;59(9-10):726-33.
6. Jung UJ, Lee MK, Jeong KS, Choi MS. The hypoglycemic effects of hesperidin and naringin are partly mediated by hepatic glucose-regulating enzymes in C57BL/Ks-J-db/db mice. J Nutr. 2004 Oct;134(10):2499-503.
7. Punithavathi VR, Anuthama R, Prince PS. Combined treatment with naringin and vitamin C ameliorates streptozotocin-induced diabetes in male Wistar rats. J Appl Toxicol. 2008 Aug;28(6):806-13.
8. Xulu S, Oroma Owira PM. Naringin ameliorates atherogenic dyslipidemia but not hyperglycemia in rats with type 1 diabetes. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2012 Feb;59(2):133-41.
9. Varma SD, Mikuni I, Kinoshita JH. Flavonoids as inhibitors of lens aldose reductase. Science. 1975;188:1215-16.
10. Nakai N, Fujii Y, Kobashi K, Nomura K. Aldose reductase inhibitors: flavonoids, alkaloids, acetophenones, benzophenones, and spiroydantoins of chroman. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1985;239:491-6.
11. Head K. Natural Therapies for Ocular Disorders, Part Two: Cataracts and Glaucoma. Altern Med Rev. 2001;6(2):141-66.
12. Goodarzi MT, Zal F, Malakooti M, et al. Inhibitory activity of flavonoids on the lens aldose reductase of healthy and diabetic rats. Acta Medica Iranica. 2006;44(1):41-45.
13. Jeon SM, Park YB, Choi MS. Antihypercholesterolemic property of naringin alters plasma and tissue lipids, cholesterol-regulating enzymes, fecal sterol and tissue morphology in rabbits. Clin Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):1025-34.
14. Kim SY, Kim HJ, Lee MK, et al. Naringin time-dependently lowers hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis and plasma cholesterol in rats fed high-fat and high-cholesterol diet. J Med Food. 2006 Winter;9(4):582-6.
15. Rajadurai M, Prince PS. Naringin ameliorates mitochondrial lipid peroxides, antioxidants and lipids in isoproterenol-induced myocardial infarction in Wistar rats. Phytother Res. 2009 May;23(3):358-62.
16. Demonty I, Lin Y, Zebregs YE, et al. The citrus flavonoids hesperidin and naringin do not affect serum cholesterol in moderately hypercholesterolemic men and women. J Nutr. 2010 Sep;140(9):1615-20.
17. Reshef N, Hayari Y, Goren C, et al. Antihypertensive effects of sweetie fruit in patients with stage I hypertension. Am J Hypertens. 2005 Oct;18(10):1360-3.
18. Ikemura M, Sasaki Y, Giddings JC, Yamamoto J. Preventive effects of hesperidin, glucosyl hesperidin and naringin on hypertension and cerebral thrombosis in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. Phytother Res. 2012 Jan 7.

Evidence Based Rating Scale

The Evidence Based Rating Scale is a tool that helps consumers translate the findings of medical research studies and what our clinical advisors have found to be efficacious in their personal practice into a visual and easy to interpret format. This tool is meant to simplify the information on supplements and therapies that demonstrate promise in the treatment of certain conditions.





Preliminary laboratory evidence indicates potential to enhance the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs. Human research is needed. (3-4)


Cancer prevention
Preliminary evidence in laboratory and animal studies indicate potential anti-tumor effects. Human research is needed. (1)

Preliminary laboratory studies indicate potential to regulate blood sugar and prevent eye and nerve damage. (5-12)

Heart disease prevention
Several animal studies indicate beneficial effects in treating risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Human studies to date show no benefit. More research is needed. (13-18)


Date Published: 04/19/2005
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