There are certain ingredients that you will see included frequently in dietary supplements and weight management products. Citrus Aurantium (aka bitter orange – aka synephrine) is one such ingredient. Does it work though, is it safe?
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Citrus Aurantium and Weight Loss
Citrus Aurantium (also known as bitter orange), is a species of orange tree native to Asia. It provides the stimulant synephrine.
It also contains additional compounds, including octopamine, and tyramine.
Extracts from the fruit are often key ingredients in supplements that aim to improve athletic performance and/or assist weight loss.
As with other stimulants, synephrine also has the potential to increase mental focus and cognition.
Manufacturers often use Citrus Aurantium as a safer alternative to Ephedra and has become increasingly popular since 2004. That was the year Ephedra was banned by the FDA.
The ingredient may appear on supplement labels as Citrus Aurantium, Bitter Orange, synephrine, or p‐synephrine.
However, although interest in Citrus Aurantium has increased since 2004, its use as a supplement ingredient predates that year.
Extracts from the fruit have been used as weight loss ingredients in dietary supplements for approximately 2 ½ decades.
It’s also worth noting practitioners of traditional Asian medicine have been using citrus aurantium as a medication for several hundreds of years.
How Does Citrus Aurantium Support Weight Loss?
When metabolism increases, it causes the body to burn extra calories—even during times of rest.
A number of natural compounds can increase metabolism in this way.
Exercise increases metabolism too.
Thermogenesis is a biological process that generates heat within the body.
When people consume thermogenic fat burners, like bitter orange, it’s a little like turning up the body’s thermostat.
This has the effect of causing the body to lose extra energy in the form of heat.
Thermogenic Fat Burner
Using thermogenic fat burners alongside diet and exercise helps you to lose more weight than you could with diet and exercise alone.
Because Citrus Aurantium provides stimulants, it also has the potential to provide extra energy during training and help control diet-related fatigue.
Although there is plenty of research that supports using Citrus Aurantium as a fat burner, supplement manufacturers rarely use it on its own.
They generally combine it with other natural ingredients that can support and augment its abilities to help people to lose weight.
Citrus Aurantium Weight Loss Studies (What Does the Research Show?)
It has received a lot of attention from researchers.
Many of the studies focus on weight loss and reveal an undeniable connection between Citrus Aurantium and weight loss.
The results of several studies suggest extracts taken from the fruit may be particularly beneficial during exercise.
The results of one such study were later published in The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
Researchers in Madrid, Spain, recruited 18 healthy individuals. They gave some of them p-synephrine before exercise.
Others got a placebo. The dose of p-synephrine was calculated based on body weight (3 mg p-syneprhine per kg of body weight).
Interestingly, the research data shows the compound did not alter metabolism or fat oxidation levels at rest.
However, during exercise, p-synephrine produced increases in exercise intensity and fat oxidation.
It also fostered a decrease in carbohydrate oxidation. In simple terms, the Citrus Aurantium extract helped the participants to burn extra body fat in place of carbohydrate during exercise.
Although the fat-burning abilities of synephrine tend to get a greater amount of attention, some research shows another Citrus Aurantium compound (Isopropylnorsynephrine) may have superior abilities as a weight loss aid.
Researchers in France set out to compare the lipolytic actions (ability to support lipolysis) of the main alkaloids present in the fruit.
Lipolysis is the “breaking down” process the body uses to render its fat into usable forms of energy (glycerol and fatty acids).
The data suggests isopropylnorsynephrine, which is present in synephrine and octopomine, may be the most potent fat-burning compound in Citrus Aurantium
Is Citrus Aurantium Safe – Does it Cause Side Effects?
Citrus Aurantium and synephrine often get an undeservedly bad rep.
The main concerns relate to the close relationship between synephrine and Ephedra.
Researchers all over the world have responded by conducting tests designed to specifically check for safety issues.
There is now an abundance of evidence that shows Citrus Aurantium and synephrine are safe in commonly-used doses.
One such study was carried out by researchers in Texas.
The researchers set out to evaluate the safety of pure bitter orange extracts (approximately 49mg p-synephrine) when used alone or in conjunction with naringin and hesperidin.
The study ran for 60 days. Twenty-five volunteers took part. Some got pure bitter orange extract, others got the extract in combination with the other two compounds. A third group got a placebo.
No significant changes in blood pressures, blood chemistry, or blood cell counts were apparent in either of the bitter orange groups.
The researchers concluded bitter orange extracts and p-synephrine appear to have no adverse effects at a dose of up to 98mg per day.
However, it has known interaction issues with several medications.
It would be unwise to use products that contain it alongside medicines without prior approval from a doctor.
People who have existing health issues will need to be similarly cautious.
Citrus Aurantium and Weight Loss Summary
It’s a natural thermogenic fat burner that also supports weight loss by increasing lipolysis.
Extracts from the fruit provide a number of compounds that appear to contribute to its fat-fighting capabilities.
Synephrine generally gets top-billing for being the main active compound in bitter orange but some research suggests isopropylnorsynephrine may have a greater potential as a weight loss aid.
For most people trying to lose weight, the exact mechanics of the process will be neither here nor there. It’s the end results that count and research shows bitter orange delivers the goods.
Although some people raise concerns about synephrine’s similarity to Ephedra, research dispels the claims about safety issues.
However, the compounds in Citrus Aurantium may not be compatible for use alongside certain medications.
The same is true for many other supplement ingredients, many of which don’t offer the same fat-burning potential as Citrus Aurantium fruit.
If taken in small quantities it has shown to be safe. It may raise blood pressure or heart rate in some people. If this does happen then cease taking and consult you healthcare professional.
It is primarily used by supplement manufacturers as a fat burning ingredient,
There have been several studies that have confirmed it’s positive effect for weight loss under the right conditions and if combined with a healthy diet and active exercise regime.