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Why Is Bitter Orange Banned? Dietary Supplements

bitter orange
Bitter orange contains synephrine, which is similar to ephedra — a chemical the FDA banned because it raises blood pressure and was linked to heart attacks and stroke.

Although some studies have reported that bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) can aid in weight reduction when used in conjunction with diet and exercise, the risk is probably not worth it due to its significant health issues. Stick to healthy techniques and avoid bitter orange if you're attempting to reduce weight.

Bitter orange is generally considered safe when consumed in the amounts found in different foods. However, synephrine, the primary ingredient of bitter orange, is comparable to the plant ephedra's (ma-huang) key chemical. Pills for weight loss frequently contain bitter orange extract.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared ephedra illegal because it increases blood pressure and has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. Synephrine has effects similar to those of ephedra. Bitter orange may also interact with some prescription medicines.

Certain bitter orange dietary supplements that are available over the counter may contain illegal or harmful stimulants. Hence, it's important to remember that just because herbal supplements are natural doesn't imply that they are risk-free. Before taking herbal supplements, consult your doctor.

How does bitter orange work?

Bitter orange contains several compounds that affect the nervous system. Depending on whatever portion of the plant was used and how it was processed, the concentration and action of these compounds can vary.

These substances can have the following side effects:

  • constricts the blood vessels
  • increases blood pressure
  • makes the heartbeat quicker

What are the uses of bitter oranges?

While there is insufficient scientific proof, bitter orange is beneficial for the following potential reasons:

  • Anxiety
    • Inhaling essential oil of the bitter orange flower for two days after leaving the hospital reduces anxiety in people with the acute coronary syndrome.
    • Other research suggests that consuming bitter orange blossom can help postmenopausal women with moderate anxiety symptoms.
  • Performance in sports
    • Research findings of the effect of bitter orange on exercise performance are mixed, with an early study suggesting that bitter orange, whether taken with or without caffeine, can improve squat performance. However, it does not alleviate sensations of exhaustion.
    • Other research reveals that ingesting bitter oranges once before exercise, either alone or in combination with a specific pre-workout supplement, does not affect weight-lifting ability, cycling performance or sprint performance in healthy adults.
    • In men who perform weight training, taking bitter oranges with the same pre-workout supplement for eight weeks does not boost strength.
  • Diabetes
    • According to preliminary studies, drinking tea brewed from Indian snakeroot leaves and bitter orange fruit for four months appears to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)
    • According to preliminary research, using a special product (zhizhu) combining bitter orange and other substances three times daily for four weeks lowers dyspepsia.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
    • In healthy, young women, aromatherapy with bitter orange blossom essential oil may help with the emotional or mental PMS symptoms. However, it does not appear to help with physical symptoms.
  • Obesity
    • The effects of weight loss due to bitter orange remain unknown. 
    • When combined with a low-calorie diet and exercise, a combination of bitter orange, caffeine and St. John's wort may help with weight loss, according to some research.
    • Taking a specific combination product combining bitter orange, raspberry ketone, caffeine, capsaicin, garlic, ginger, black pepper, cayenne pepper and chromium for eight weeks, coupled with diet and exercise, appears to enhance weight and energy. However, a mixture of bitter orange, caffeine and numerous other components did not help people lose weight in another trial.
  • Anxiety before surgery
    • You may reduce anxiety by consuming bitter orange two hours before surgery.
  • Tinea corporis (ringworm)
    • Early study suggests that applying bitter orange oil to the skin can assist some people with ringworm.
  • Tinea cruris (jock itch)
    • Early study suggests that applying bitter orange oil to the skin can help some people with jock itch.
  • Tinea pedis (athlete's foot)
    • According to preliminary research, putting bitter orange oil on the skin may benefit some people with athlete's foot.

Additionally bitter orange may help the following medical issues:

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