What You Should Know
Familiar with weight loss supplements? Then you may be familiar with Citrus Aurantium, better known as Bitter Orange. This weight loss aid is touted as the next Ephedra without the dangerous side effects, claimed to cause thermogenesis–a process where a substance increases the body’s metabolism to stimulate weight loss.
Bitter Orange/Citrus Aurantium is fairly easy to find online or in retail stores. It is often found as an Ephedra-like substitute in diet supplements, such as Stacker 3, Xenadrine EFX and Cortislim. It may also be sold as-is as Bitter Orange supplements. Diet supplements containing Bitter Orange/Citrus Aurantium may cost up to $50.00, but Bitter Orange supplements are a fraction of the price–or between $5.15 to $24.00 per bottle.
Like Ephedra, though, Bitter Orange/Citrus Aurantium is a very controversial supplement, with documented evidence it could damage the heart.
It may be called Bitter Orange, Citrus Aurantium or Synephrine.
Bitter Orange/Citrus Aurantium is a very sought-out ingredient found in the most unlikeliest of sources–in the oils of the Seville orange, a succulent fruit found in the Indo-China region of Asia. In ancient China, herbalists extracted the fruit’s oils to cure indigestion and constipation, and was used in Indian Tamil cuisine to add a slight bitterness to curries and rice-based dishes. It finally made its way to the United States several centuries later to replace Ephedra, which was banned from commercial use in 2004.
Today, diet and alternative health companies claim Bitter Orange/Citrus Aurantium increases the metabolism, burns fat and significantly improves weight loss. But few studies show it actually has a significant impact on weight loss. One study reported by The Annals of Pharmacotherapy in 2006 found that one dose of bitter orange increased blood pressure and a person’s heart rate, components of thermogenesis–properties that may cause weight loss. But no study has shown bitter orange caused significant weight loss in anyone.
Furthermore, the side effects associated with bitter orange may be as significant, if not worse, than Ephedra. According to Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., one of the Mayo Clinic’s top nutritionists, bitter orange is associated with an increase in strokes, heart attacks, fainting and migraines. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine also warns dieters, especially those with pre-existing heart conditions, about taking any supplements with bitter orange, reporting it may worsen blood pressure and overload the heart’s pumping ability.
- There is evidence it may promote components of thermogenesis.
- It is available as-is or as an additive in diet supplements.
- There is little evidence Bitter Orange/Citrus Aurantium promotes significant weight loss.
- It may worsen pre-existing heart conditions.
- It is connected with an increased risk for heart attack or stroke.
Bitter Orange/Citrus Aurantium may be considered Ephedra’s cousin, but with it also comes a variety of serious side effects, including heart attack, stroke and painful, debilitating migraines. It may promote thermogenesis, however, a fat burning process that speeds up the metabolism.