You can use Bitter Orange (Citrus Aurantium) for weight loss because it contains synephrine (which is similar to ephedra). It benefits factors that may lead to weight loss:
- metabolic rate
- calorie burning
- energy expenditure
- heart rate
- In one study with rats, bitter orange extract produced a 30% reduction in visceral fat.
Some weight loss supplements use bitter orange extract combined with other ingredients such as:
- St. John’s wort
Weight loss effects only happen when high doses are consumed. High doses are not recommended because there is not enough safety information available.
In the video below, Damon Perry (a Health Researcher) explains how synephrine can make for a healthy weight loss supplement.
- Title: Effects of p-synephrine alone and in combination with selected bioflavonoids on resting metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate and self-reported mood changes.
- Length: 75 minutes.
- Number of Subjects: 10.
The current study assessed the thermogenic effects of p-synephrine alone and in conjunction with the flavonoids naringin and hesperidin in a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled protocol with 10 subjects per treatment group. Resting metabolic rates (RMR), blood pressure, heart rates and a self-reported rating scale were determined at baseline and 75 min after oral ingestion of the test products in V-8 juice.
- The group receiving p-synephrine (50 mg) alone exhibited a 65 kcal increase in RMR as compared to the placebo group.
- The consumption of 600 mg naringin with 50 mg p-synephrine resulted in a 129 kcal increase in RMR relative to the placebo group.
- In the group receiving 100 mg hesperidin in addition to the 50 mg p-synephrine plus 600 mg naringin, the RMR increased by 183 kcal, an increase that was statistically significant with respect to the placebo control.
- However, consuming 1000 mg hesperidin with 50 mg p-synephrine plus 600 mg naringin resulted in a RMR that was only 79 kcal greater than the placebo group.
- None of the treatment groups exhibited changes in heart rate or blood pressure relative to the control group, nor there were no differences in self-reported ratings of 10 symptoms between the treatment groups and the control group.
This unusual finding of a thermogenic combination of ingredients that elevated metabolic rates without corresponding elevations in blood pressure and heart-rates warrants longer term studies to assess its value as a weight control agent.
What are Bitter Orange’s Supplement Benefits?
Bitter orange supplement is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) due to the following benefits:
Bitter orange Benefits for Digestive Health
- appetite stimulation or suppression
- weight loss
Bitter orange Benefits for Skin
- fungal skin infection treatment (ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot)
- improves wound healing via collagen formation (bruises, bedsores, pain)
- may improve skin health
- may reduce swelling (inflammation) of the eyelid and its lining
- skin cleansing (astringent) capability (cleanses impurities, dirt, oily skin)
- helps manage low blood pressure
- treats anxiety and epilepsy
- treats symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- treats nasal congestion
- may support diabetes management
- may improve athletic performance
Nonetheless, there’s limited evidence to support these uses.
What is the recommended Bitter Orange Extract Dosage?
Bitter orange Extract is considered generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when consumed in the following recommended dosages:
- synephrine: 10-53 mg/day
- synephrine for weight loss: 32 mg/day
- synephrine for obesity treatment: up to 80 mg/day
- a whole bitter orange fruit: 30.6 mg of synephrine
- bitter orange dried peel administered as a tea: 4 to 6 g
- bitter orange juice and/or concentrated extracts of the peel: 100–150 mg two to three times daily
- bitter orange extract in dietary supplements: 50–98 mg per day
- standardized bitter orange extract (Advantra Z®) in capsule form: 49 mg of synephrine twice a day (total of 98 mg of synephrine/day)
- synephrine combined with caffeine: 40 – 60 mg synephrine and 320 mg caffeine. If taken as divided doses spaced out over the course of the day, 70 mg of synephrine alone or 60 mg p-synephrine in combination with 320 mg caffeine
- In one study of 23 overweight adults, participants taking a daily intake of bitter orange (975 mg) combined with caffeine (525 mg) and St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum, 900 mg) for six weeks lost significantly more body weight and fat than the control group
Why is Bitter Orange banned?
Bitter orange is a banned substance in athletics because several sports organizations, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), consider synephrine as a stimulant.
Ephedra was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 due to the following negative effects on the heart:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
Since then, many “ephedra-free” weight loss products (like Bitter Orange) have appeared on the market. Since bitter orange contains synephrine, there is concern that it might cause heart problems just like ephedrine.
However, the results of studies indicate that p-synephrine alone or in combination with caffeine does not appear to produce significant adverse cardiovascular effects or pose a risk to human health at doses commonly ingested orally.
No adverse effects have been directly attributable to bitter orange extract or p-synephrine.
However, a need exists for additional well controlled, long term human efficacy and safety studies involving p-synephrine/bitter orange extract.
Want to know more?
Click the links below to access the individual topic pages:
This article makes use of information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
- Stohs SJ, Preuss HG, Keith SC, Keith PL, Miller H, Kaats GR. Effects of p-synephrine alone and in combination with selected bioflavonoids on resting metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate and self-reported mood changes. Int J Med Sci. 2011 Apr 28;8(4):295-301. doi: 10.7150/ijms.8.295. PMID: 21537493; PMCID: PMC3085176.
- Stohs SJ, Preuss HG, Shara M. A review of the human clinical studies involving Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) extract and its primary protoalkaloid p-synephrine. Int J Med Sci. 2012;9(7):527-538. doi:10.7150/ijms.4446
- Suntar I, Khan H, Patel S, Celano R, Rastrelli L. An Overview on Citrus aurantium L.: Its Functions as Food Ingredient and Therapeutic Agent. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2018;2018:7864269. Published 2018 May 2. doi:10.1155/2018/7864269
- Kaats GR, Miller H, Preuss HG, Stohs SJ. A 60day double-blind, placebo-controlled safety study involving Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) extract. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 May;55:358-62. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.01.013. Epub 2013 Jan 25. PMID: 23354394.