Nutrition Market

What is Bitter Orange?

Bitter orange, also known by its scientific name Citrus aurantium, refers to the fruit of small citrus trees that grow around 5 metres tall. It is cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas such as Australia, Africa and the Mediterranean.

The bitter orange tree produces fruits that resemble small oranges. As the name suggests, they taste bitter rather than sweet. The bitter oranges are typically not eaten as whole fruits. Instead, they are harvested when still green and then processed for their essential oils and extracts.

Key Facts About Bitter Orange

Bitter orange extract and oil contains several active compounds, most notably synephrine which has similarities to ephedrine. Here are some key facts about bitter orange:

  • Used in traditional Chinese medicine and by indigenous peoples for its health benefits
  • Source of the stimulant synephrine which boosts metabolism and fat burning
  • Also contains vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and antioxidants
  • Grown commercially in Australia and other warm climates
  • Oil extracted from the peel, leaves and young fruit
  • Sold as dietary supplements for weight loss and sports performance

Why is Bitter Orange Used in Supplements?

The key reason bitter orange extracts are included in fat burning, pre-workout and weight loss supplements is because of their synephrine content.

Synephrine is a compound that has thermogenic and metabolism boosting effects in the body, similar to the stimulant ephedrine. However unlike banned ephedrine, synephrine appears to be safer when used appropriately.

The stimulation of fat burning from the synephrine in bitter orange makes it appealing for dietary supplements aimed at:

  • Increasing calorie expenditure
  • Boosting metabolism
  • Reducing appetite
  • Enhancing fat loss results
  • Improving athletic performance
  • Increasing energy and focus

When combined with other ingredients like caffeine, green tea, vitamins and amino acids, bitter orange extracts can optimise the effects. Leading to more calories burnt and better outcomes for those trying to get fit, improve sports performance or lose weight.

Is Bitter Orange Safe?

When taken appropriately in moderate doses, bitter orange extracts are considered safe by most health authorities. However, there are some bitter orange safety concerns to be aware of:

  • Not safe in very high doses due to excess synephrine intake
  • More side effects when combined with caffeine or medications
  • Can increase heart rate and blood pressure
  • Risk of effects on the heart with preexisting conditions
  • Not enough research on long term safety with regular use

To reduce any potential safety issues, bitter orange should be taken carefully according to dosage guidelines:

  • Follow recommended daily intakes
  • Maximum of 100mg synephrine per day
  • Avoid other stimulants like caffeine
  • Don't take for more than 12 weeks continuously
  • Not for those with heart conditions or on medication

Always consult your doctor before taking bitter orange, especially if pregnant, breastfeeding or taking prescription medications. Discontinue use if any adverse effects occur.

Analysing Supplement Ingredient Lists

When considering a supplement containing bitter orange, analyse the ingredient list carefully. The key details to check are:

Bitter Orange Standardisation

Ideally, the bitter orange should be standardised to contain a specific percentage of synephrine. This ensures an accurate dosage. Minimum 6-8% synephrine content is recommended.

Dosages Per Serve

Check how much bitter orange extract and synephrine per serve. Follow maximum daily intake guidelines, allowing for other synephrine sources.

Other Stimulant Ingredients

Avoid other strong stimulants like caffeine or yohimbine with higher bitter orange doses. But smaller amounts can synergistically optimise fat burning.

Overall Formula Balance

See that the bitter orange dosage aligns properly with the other ingredients for safety and effectiveness. Quality supplements optimise the blend.

Brand Reputation

Research the brand and their reputation for quality ingredients, testing and safety. Bigger companies typically invest more in these areas.

Pairing Bitter Orange With Other Ingredients

Certain ingredients can enhance the effects of bitter orange, while others may overstimulate. Here are some of the best pairings:

Caffeine + Green Tea

Caffeine and green tea provide an additional thermogenic punch, working synergistically with bitter orange. But limit caffeine content to 100-200mg per serve maximum with higher bitter orange doses.

Amino Acids

BCAAs, arginine and others support energy, muscle building and exercise performance. Combining aminos with bitter orange provides a balanced pre-workout or enhancer of fat burning during training.

Vitamins B3, B6, B12 + Chromium

These essential vitamins and minerals help optimise energy metabolism pathways. They drive additional fat-burning benefits from bitter orange supplementation.

Cayenne + Black Pepper

Adding some cayenne pepper or black pepper fruit extracts provides peripherally acting thermogenic and bioavailability enhancement. Spicing up bitter orange's effects for more calories burnt.

Avoid Yohimbine

Yohimbine is another stimulant that is best avoided when combining with synephrine. Stick to other ingredients that provide fat-burning or pre-workout benefits without overstimulation risks.

Considerations When Buying Bitter Orange Supplements

Indications for Use

Bitter orange supplements can be used for:

  • Weight loss and fat burning
  • Reducing appetite between meals
  • Increasing basal metabolic rate
  • Boosting calorie burning during exercise
  • Enhancing athletic performance
  • Improving energy, focus and concentration

Those with high caffeine sensitivity may prefer to take bitter orange alone without other stimulants. It can also be stacked with other standalone fat burners.

Interactions With Medications

Bitter orange may interact with certain medications so consult your doctor first if you are taking prescription drugs.

Synephrine works similarly to ephedrine, so it could potentially interact with drugs that interact with ephedrine. However, synephrine appears safer than ephedrine when taken appropriately.

In particular, be cautious or avoid use if taking:

  • Blood pressure and heart medications
  • MAO inhibitor antidepressants
  • Stimulants like amphetamines
  • Thyroid hormone drugs
  • Cold and flu medicines with stimulants
  • Anti-seizure drugs

Discontinue use if any abnormal reactions occur when combining bitter orange supplements with medications. Adverse effects are rare if servings adhere to maximum intake guidelines.

Side Effects and Safety

When used properly within dosage guidelines, bitter orange and synephrine have a relatively low risk of side effects for healthy people. However, some may experience:

  • Jitters, headaches or migraines
  • Rapid heartbeat, palpitations
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Anxiety, irritability, dizziness
  • Sleep disturbance

Higher servings substantially increase risk of these effects, so never exceed maximum stated doses.

Those with pre-existing health conditions like cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, uncontrolled high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism or anxiety disorders should avoid use or minimise doses under medical guidance only.

Bitter orange is unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Also not recommended for children or teenagers where safety has not been established.

Diabetics should monitor blood sugar levels closely when using bitter orange due to potential interactions.

Seek urgent medical attention if symptoms like chest pain, fainting, shortness of breath or irregular heartbeat are experienced when taking bitter orange supplements.

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