Bitter orange is a medicinal plant that grows in different parts of the world including Florida and California. Its extracts, available in supplemental form have nowadays become quite popular to reduce excess fat.
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It is perhaps not safe to take bitter orange supplements for losing weight. Scientific evidence is too feeble to recommend this supplement for medicinal purposes.
Also referred to as citrus aurantium, the extracts of bitter orange plant obtained from its flowers and leaves are used to prepare medicines. The herb has long been associated with ancient Chinese medicine and used to resolve health issues like nausea and dizziness.
Bitter orange is an active ingredient in many weight loss supplements. It is being aggressively promoted as a natural weight loss supplement. Manufacturers claim it to be a natural appetite suppressant. It supposedly curbs appetite, facilitates calories burning and melts those fat stores, which may help to lose weight.
Although research has been done on this herbal supplement, it is very limited and only a small group of people were involved. So, one cannot simply judge the herbal supplement based on these small studies. However, results have been encouraging as the metabolism of these people increased dramatically. Now, in order to decrease weight, speeding up metabolism is necessary, which is what the herbal product did. However, extensive studies on this herbal supplement are yet to be done to confirm its safety and effectiveness.
The two main chemical compounds found in this herb are synephrine and octopamine. Unfortunately, the chemical structure and properties of these compounds are very similar to the one present in ephedra. As we all know, ephedra is a herbal weight loss supplement that has been banned by the US Food and Drug Administration. This is because people who were using ephedra developed heart related disorders. Studies revealed that these health issues were actually associated with the use of ephedra. However, the decision taken by the FDA to ban ephedra was unaccepted by a federal judge, and he ruled out the ban in 2005. Considering this controversy associated with ephedra, one may have to think twice before using ephedra and bitter orange supplements.
Is the Supplement Safe?
Diet pill containing bitter orange can produce some serious side effects due to its chemical composition. As aforementioned, the herb contains two compounds: octopamine and synephrine. Studies show that these two compounds can affect the normal functioning of the heart. Taking extracts of this herb puts a person in the risk zone of abnormal heart palpitations, racy heart and heart attack. So, it is advised that people suffering from heart problems should stay away from this herbal product.
There have been published reports that associated usage of bitter orange supplements to angina, stroke, fainting, and ischemic colitis. There is some evidence that links this herbal supplement to increase in blood pressure. Blood pressure may climb up particularly when the supplements are taken along with caffeine, as found out through preliminary studies.
Even if a person does not experience any side effects, one simple cannot forget the age-old therapy to combat weight loss. In other words, a healthy diet complemented with exercise has to be followed strictly when taking this herbal supplement.
On the whole, consultation with a well qualified doctor is very important before using this supplement. As research on this herb is still in its nascent stage, one has to consult a medical practitioner before taking these supplements.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.