|The Lounge | Champions | The Wire | Schedule | Audio | Arcade | The Top Ten | Historical | Email | Video|
Amended Bitter Orange - Ephedra in Disguise? So Why Do People Still Take It ?
If you read my last article about bitter orange, it was pretty clear how I felt about the herb. I'd read the available research concerning bitter orange, and while there was some evidence supporting bitter orange, the overall picture did not look good.
So that's the picture I painted, however, there were some facts that I was unaware of at the time, which I felt you might be interested in if you're researching bitter orange.
In order to lay these out, I want to answer four questions:
1. What Is Bitter Orange Really ?
2. So does Bitter Orange act similarly to ephedrine ?
3. What about the reports of adverse ill effects of bitter orange ?
4. Is bitter orange safe to use and does it work ?
It's a bit long, but what the heck !
What Is Bitter Orange Really ?:
The Bitter Orange extract found in popular fat burners, is made from the unripe fruit of the citrus aurantium tree. The fruit is picked when they are a dark green in color, halved, dried and then milled into a powder. This makes the herb Zhi Shi1. Bitter orange is the western name for Zhi Shi.
The bitter orange herb contains five alkaloids (see alkaloid definition5), the most dominant of which is Synephrine (the compound I referred to in my last article), structurally similar to ephedrine. However, while they are similar, they're not the same.
Both synephrine and ephedrine stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and at a cellular level, affect alpha cell receptors, and to a lesser extent, beta cell receptors6. Ephedrine will affect beta(1), beta(2) and beta(3) cell receptors, however, of the beta-cell receptors, synephrine appears to only affect beta(3) cells, those believed to be responsible for thermogenesis or fat burning affects7. Beta(1) and beta(2) receptors are believed to be responsible for cardiac and pulmonary functions.
So does Bitter Orange act similarly to ephedrine ?
Does it ? While previously, I've presented a very black and white view of whether it acts similarly to ephedrine, I am now not so sure.
There is some confusion as to how synephrine affects heart rates and blood pressure. Intravenously injected synephrine will cause increased heart rates and blood pressure, however, orally taken synephrine does not, and synephrine contained in most herbal weight loss supplements are taken orally.
Generally speaking because synephrine stimulates beta(3) cells but not beta(2) and beta(1) cells, it can provide the thermogenic effects without the undesirable cardiac side effects that ephedrine did.
What about the reports of adverse ill effects of bitter orange ?
The American Herbal Products Association has found that there were errors in the reported adverse event reports attributed to the use of bitter orange in September 20043. The association found that numbers reported in the media were in fact duplicates for adverse event reports for ephedrine, and when all was said and done, there was really only one report of an adverse reaction attributed to a bitter orange supplement, where no other ingredient was included in the supplement. In this particular case, it involved a 74 year old woman had been taking prescription medication and two other herbal preparations simultaneously. This one case occurred more than five years ago3.
What about the 55 year old woman reported by Nykamp DL, Fackih MN, Compton AL (2004), who experienced chest pain after consuming a supplement containing bitter orange. Researchers in this case study had commented "Based on the Naranjo probability scale, C. aurantium is possibly associated with this cardiovascular event"4, however, as bitter orange was not the only ingredient in the supplement, it cannot be known whether in this case, that bitter orange was the herb responsible.
Is bitter orange safe to use and does it work ?
Now there are many others, who felt as I did, that bitter orange is another Ephedra waiting to happen, and will have the same consequences. However, when bitter orange is taken in isolation, it does not have adverse side effects.
In fact, when it is combined with other selected herbs, it may have benefits for health and weight loss. Research performed with 20 individuals over six weeks found no adverse reactions occurred when citrus aurantium was combined with caffeine and St. Johns Wort2. They also found that the individuals who were given the supplement (group A) lost an average of 2.9% body fat. "In terms of actual fat loss, group A lost a significant amount (3.1 kg), whereas the control group demonstrated a tendency toward fat loss." So, this study has demonstrated that there are weight loss benefits involved here, but also the control group who received nothing exhibited a tendency towards fat loss, suggesting that if the study had been extended beyond 6 weeks, the control group would have lost body fat as well.
2004 was not a great year for bitter orange in the media. It has successfully battled reports of adverse events alleged to be a result of consuming bitter orange. These numbers proved to be incorrect.
While synephrine the main alkaloid of bitter orange, is chemically similar to ephedrine, it is not the same as ephedrine and differs in the way it reacts pharmacologically within the human body.
Although at first look at the research, bitter orange presented with dangers that I wanted to warn against, a more in-depth look has revealed that bitter orange by itself is not dangerous. The citrus aurantium extract standardized for synephrine (3-6%) is accepted as safe7.
But hang on, before you click off this page, to go and find a fat burner with citrus aurantium in it, I do also want to say, that they can't be used as an alternative to good food and exercise.
Herbal supplements such as those containing bitter orange can be helpful but only when used within a weight loss strategy of balanced eating and exercise, and while they may benefit some, it may not benefit others and only your doctor will be able to make that decision for you6. The results may be slower, but a balanced diet and exercise are the keys to permanent and healthy weight loss. So while bitter orange may be helpful, you can obtain the same results without it. What-ever stage you are at with your health and fitness, diet and exercise are the two most important aspects.
If you do decide you'd like to try a supplement containing bitter orange, please consult your doctor before purchasing a bitter orange product.
Essentially if you consult your doctor about bitter orange, as we say in Australia - you can't go wrong, mate. Your doctor will be able to refer you to your nearest dietician and will recommend the best weight loss strategy for your situation.
1. Jones, D., "Bitter Orange or Citrus Aurantium: same difference ?"
2. Colker et. al., (1999) Effects of Citrus Aurantium extract, caffeine, and St. John's Work on body fat loss, lipid levels, and mood states in overweight healthy adults. Curr. Ther. Res. 60, 145 - 153.
4. Nykamp DL, Fackih MN, Compton AL. Possible association of acute lateral-wall myocardial infarction and bitter orange supplement. Ann Pharmacother. 2004 May;38(5):812-6. Epub 2004 Mar 16.
5. Definition of Alkaloids - any of hundreds of compounds found in plants with a nitrogen atom connected to two carbon atoms, and often formed in a ring structure. Many commonly known chemicals and drugs are alkaloids, including nicotine, cocaine, quinine, morphine, and ephedrine.
6. Dharmananda, S., SYNEPHRINE:Is Chih-shih (Zhishi) Toxic? Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon. See the schematic diagram for synephrine at the bottom of the page.
Other Sites of Interest:
About The Author
Copyright © 2004 Jenny Mathers All Rights Reserved.
Research resource for fat burning foods and supplements. Fat burning food research information allowing you to take the guess work out of fat burning.
Better Business Bureau: Weight-loss supplements often make unsubstantiated ... - Topeka Capital Journal
Total Nutrition in Watertown offers supplements to build muscle, lose weight - WatertownDailyTimes.com
Senator McCaskill questions retailers, search engines about supplements ... - U.S. News & World Report
Know Your Bodybuilding Supplement - L-Taurine
Taurine is the second most abundant amino acid in the muscle after glutamine. It performs several useful functions and can act in a way similar to creatine in that it expands cells by helping the muscle to hold more water, thus increasing cell volume.
An Introduction to Whey Protein
Made from cow's milk, whey protein is a pure, all-natural, high-quality product that contains little to no fat, lactose or cholesterol and is a rich source of essential amino acids. In its purest form, whey protein isolate, it provides benefits for men and women of all ages, including infants and toddlers.
As with most nutrients and minerals, zinc is often ignored by the average person however, it is an essential mineral that plays many roles in promoting the healthy functioning of the body. Its importance to the body's well-being goes far back as the earliest moments of growth and development and is serves a highly important role in maintaining a healthy way of life.
Safer And More Effective Than Botox? Shocking Results
Are the new Argireline Wrinkle Relaxing Creams as effective as Botox?For many women, wrinkles and fine lines are the bane of their lives. Looking into the mirror and seeing a face filled with wrinkles, sagging skin, and fine lines can be very disheartening, but it's all a part of growing old, right?Well, yes and no.
Why Do Supplements Make You Sick?
I have good news for you! The answer is both yes and no, depending on how you look at it.NO, the nutriceuticals do not CAUSE anything bad to happen, nor for that matter anything good.
CortiCarb3000 Reviewed: Does It Perform As Promised?
Carbohydrate blockers seem to have come and gone with the low carb craze. Basic carbohydrate blockers are available everywhere.
What Everyone Should Know About Supplements
For years now we have heard that supplementing our diets with vitamins and minerals will help us to be healthier by supplying our bodies with nutrients that are not received by the foods we eat. The media has documented the many studies that have been performed to conclude vitamin and mineral supplements are beneficial to our health.
Benefits of Bee Pollen Supplementation
Since ancient time bee pollen has been considered as an ultimate health food in many ancient text and legends. Bee pollen has since then been praised as being a healing agent for many other ailments.
Is Vitamin E Lethal?
Recently the news carried the story that a researcher had discovered that taking vitamin E at a level of 400IU or more increases the risk of death. (Jan 2005, Annals of Internal Medicine) I was immediately suspicious because I have studied the scientific literature on vitamin E for over two decades and have come to the exact opposite conclusion.
What to Look For In Selecting A High Quality Nutritional Supplement!
Have you ever purchased something thinking you had bought a really good product only to later find out that you could have had a better product for the same money? I know I have. And our friend Henry is shortly about to discover this sick feeling for himself in a very personal way.
Whey Protein Facts
Whey protein is a high quality powder made from cow's milk. Cow's milk is made up of two proteins - casein (80%) and whey (20%).
Lipovarin Review: How Well Does It Work?
Lipovarin ReviewSince the ban on ephedra based products in April 2003 many ephedra free fat burners have hit the weight loss market with mixed success. A few of these new "ephedra alternative" weight loss products have performed a pretty decent job of burning fat and supplying a boost of energy while others have not been nearly as effective.
Folate (Folic Acid) - A Health Supplement
You probably know that ladies who are planning on having a family, should take Folate (Folic Acid) in their diet, or as a supplementary, because it is one of the well known B-Vitamin group, that has a role in preventing Spina Bifida in babies, but did you know that research is finding that it helps in a number of other problems as well.There is definitely a link between folate and depression, people with depression may have lower than normal blood folate levels.
Herbal Supplement - what is it?So what is an herbal supplement? The herbal supplement is a supplement that provides you body with various nutrients necessary for your health and which is based of herbs and natural products. There are a wide variety of different types of herbal supplements available in the market nowadays.
Vitamins and Minerals Help Ensure A Good Healthy Heart
Taking good care of your body means that you are able to maintain adequate amounts of the minerals, vitamins and nutrients that are needed to ensure a totally healthy well-being. Also, it is very important to note that the heart requires a significant amount of attention too, in order for it to be able to function well and be able to have a healthy circulation of blood around the body.
Vitamin E - The Wonder Vitamin
Vitamin E is a family of eight related molecules known as tocopherols. Alpha-tocopherol is the most biologically active form and therefore the most useful to the human body.
Keeping Illnesses at Bay with Antioxidant Vitamins
Antioxidant vitamins perform many important tasks that our bodies benefits from. In recent years, a great deal of research has been done concerning the abilities of the antioxidant vitamins to prevent certain diseases, ranging from cancer to heart ailments.
The Worst $$$ I Ever Spent . . . Month after Month!
"They", the "experts" all say how important vitamins are - how we don't get nearly enough of the nutrition we need in our every day diets because of all the processed food we eat these days.Well, I won't argue with that fact; seems like there's nothing wholesome and healthy out there anymore.
The Perfect Supplement
I wanted to write this article because of my sincere belief thateverybody in the world should be taking the product I am about totalk about "Greens First". This product contains over 49 superfoods and tastes absolutely delicious.
Finally - The Truth About Calcium Supplements
Undoubtedly calcium has become a hot topic of controversy. We are bombarded with advertising telling us exactly what will give our body more calcium.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.