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Bitter Orange Review – Does it Help for Weight Loss?

By Rob Poulos...

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Canadian health authorities banned the use of ephedra in 2004 there was a vacuum left in the weight loss supplement industry. Manufacturers were scrambling to find a substance that could provide the effectiveness of ephedra without the dangers. Enter bitter orange as an answer to their weight loss prayers.

This all-natural, “ephedra-free” substance was seen as the perfect alternative to the dangerous ephedra for weight loss. Is this substance all that it’s cracked up to be, or is it just another stimulant that doesn’t help you achieve your goals?

Keep reading to learn more about how this substance works for weight loss.

Bitter Orange 101

Bitter orange is also known by its technical name, citrus aurantium. Other common names for this extract include Seville orange, sour orange or bergamot orange. It is a tree that is native to the Mediterranean region but it has also been found in other warm parts of the world like Florida, Spain and California.

[Get your bitter orange the old-fashioned way, by eating a nutrient-rich orange!]

The extract found in many weight loss supplements uses the flowers and leaves, but in some medicines the peel and dried fruit are also used. This substance has been used to treat a wide variety of health problems in Chinese medicine, but has only recently been used in the North America to treat illnesses.

How It Works

This extract known as bitter orange is used as an herbal stimulant in many weight loss supplements. Those who advocate the use of this substance for weight loss point to the fat burning stimulation as evidence that it works. The stimulative effect often found when taking this substance is responsible, they say, for the increased metabolism and greater energy conversion.

There are many other uses for bitter orange such as fungal treatments, however fat burning is the only weight loss function assigned to this substance.

Is It Safe?

The main question we should be asking before asking whether or not bitter orange works for weight loss, is how safe is it. Given that this supplement is seen as an alternative to ephedra these tough questions must be asked.

And as it turns out, we aren’t the only ones asking.

When used in food, it is a safe product for children and adults. However when it comes to use as a supplement there are some side effects that have been reported. For some users of this substance, headaches, migraines and even cluster headaches may occur. Light skinned individuals will need to wear additional sunblock because it has been known to cause sun sensitivity.

However the real safety concerns for bitter orange come into play when you factor in another ingredient commonly found in weight loss supplements: caffeine. When combined with caffeine or other stimulants, there has been an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, fainting or stroke. Some other severe side effects have been reported, but they have been mostly anecdotal.

Many previously healthy people have reported these and other side effects after taking a regimen of supplements containing apple cider vinegar.

Evidence Of Effectiveness

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine there is currently no scientific evidence to support claims that bitter orange is effective for weight loss. Even when concentrated doses of the extract are added to supplements, there has been very little evidence to say it provides any weight loss benefits.

When you consider that bitter orange has many of the same side effects as ephedra, although slightly less deadly, whether it works for weight loss almost seems irrelevant. This is compounded by the fact that dietary aids like supplements do not undergo rigorous testing to ensure their safety. This usually happens after serious problems have arisen.

Almost.

[If all weight loss was this easy, citrus farmers would be billionaires!]

Does It Work For Weight Loss

Some of the studies conducted using citrus aurantium showed insignificant weight loss differences between the test group and the placebo group, particularly during the first week of weight loss.

The problem with this particular weight loss substance is that it does not increase your metabolic rate so much as it increases your heart rate. This does not give you more energy to work out; in fact it will give you just the opposite effect. An increased heart rate due to stimulants will not induce you to workout, but rather to sit down and figure out why your heart is beating so fast.

Two of the compounds found in bitter orange are very similar to ephedra, which means you’ll get the same negative side effects and about the same weight less effects.

It is advised that if you do decide to take supplements with this product for weight loss that you do so under the care of a physician. These incidences of cardiovascular events is so great especially when taken as a weight loss supplement that contains other stimulants like caffeine, that taking on your own can cause many health problems.

You might lose weight with bitter orange, but the chances are greater that you will experience one of the many side effects known to occur with use of this product.

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