Bitter Orange Extract – Is It Legal To Use It In Fat-Loss Supplements ?

Bitter Orange is considered to be a native Asian plant with great medicinal uses because nearly every part of the plant including its peel, leaf, flower and fruit are useful in making medicines. 

Untill now there are scientific evidences only for the oil of Bitter Orange which is known to be beneficial in the treatment of many fungal infections.

However, many people also use Bitter orange for indigestion, Obesity and many more, but there is no scientific evidence which supports it.

The flower of the bitter orange plant and the oil extracted from the peel of the fruit is used for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcers which occur in intestines, constipation, blood in the feces and even diarrhea.

The fruit of the plant is used in the manufacture of liquors such as Triple Sec and Grand Marnier and is also required in the production of Marmalades. The fruit is eaten by local residents of Iran and Mexico and is avoided in other parts of the world because of the sour and bitter taste of the fruit.

The oil of the plant is also used in the manufacturing of a lot of daily use items like soap and cosmetics and is now also being used in the pharmaceutical industries.

It is not recommended to use health supplements which contain Bitter Orange as an ingredient, as they may cause serious long term effects on your hearth. Therefore, they are not approved by US Food and Drug Administration.

Health supplements which uses Bitter orange extract may contain Ephedra (ma-huang), which is similar to Synephrine. Ephedra is banned by FDA and Synephrine is an active ingredient of Bitter orange.

How Does Bitter Orange work?

There are many chemicals present in the Bitter Orange which are known to affect the central nervous system in human beings. The effects and concentration of these chemicals depend on the part of the plant from where the chemical is extracted and the method used in the extraction and preparation and these effects can change accordingly. The common effects of these chemicals are-

  1. Squeezing of the Blood Vessels
  2. Increase in the Blood Pressure
  3. Increase in the beating rate of the heart.

Weight Loss Benefits of Bitter Orange

Research is still being carried on the possible effects of Bitter Orange and uptil now these effects on weight loss are still not clear and fully known. The findings till now from these research works are conflicting and in contrast with each other.

Some studies and researches show that when users use a combination of bitter orange with Caffeine and St. John’s wort, and supplement it with a low calorie nutritious diet and some moderate exercise can experience a reduction in their body’s weight.

Some other studies show that when Bitter Orange is consumed in combination with other products like caffeine, raspberry ketone, ginger, garlic, capsaicin, cayenne and black pepper and supplement it with Moderate exercise regime for a period of eight weeks can result in an increment in the body weight of the user as well as elevated energy levels.

However, some other studies show that no combination of food containing bitter orange can help in the reduction of weight. Moreover, it is used as one of the active ingredients in Phen375 which is a fat-loss supplement.

Other benefits of Bitter Orange

There are many assumed benefits associated with the use of parts of the Bitter Orange plant but till date there is not much evidence available to support the same statement. Following are some of the assumed benefits of the Bitter Orange plant and parts.

  1. Anxiety

    Some research studies were conducted on adults suffering from coronary syndrome and it was found that inhaling the oil of bitter orange flowers for a period of two days can improve the anxiety issues of individuals after they leave the hospital. Another study shows that women who have reached menopause and consume flavour of bitter orange orally might experience a reduction in their anxiety levels.
  2. Athletic Performance

    A lot of research work have been conducted on the effects of Bitter Orange on athletic performance and the results obtained from these research were quite conflicting. Some research studies show that when bitter orange is consumed with or without caffeine, it can improve the performance of the user while performing squat exercises. However, it was ineffective in reducing fatigue levels. However, a different study proved that bitter orange did not improve athletic performance at all no matter what combination was consumed.
  3. Diabetes

    Some research studies have shown that diabetic users who drank the tea which was made from the leaves of Bitter Orange fruit and the Indian Snake Fruit for a period of four months witnessed a reduction in their blood sugar levels.
  4. Indigestion or Dyspepsia

    It has been scientifically proven that consuming a specific product containing bitter orange and Zhizhu thrice a day for a period of four weeks helps in reducing indigestion in its users.
  5. PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome

    Bitter Orange is not helpful in curing the physical symptoms in Women during PMS but when used with Aromatherapy, the bitter orange oil extract proved to improve the mental symptoms and emotions of PMS in young adults.
  6. Other Benefits

    There are numerous other benefits of Bitter Orange fruit and some of them are:
    • Reducing Anxiety before a surgery
    • Treating ringworm or Tinea Corporis
    • Treating Jock Itch or Tinea Cruris
    • Treating Athlete’s Foot or Tinea Pedis
    • Curing Allergies
    • Curing Bruises
    • Treatment of Cancer
    • Improving in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS
    • Colds
    • Swelling of the eyes
    • Headaches
bitter orange

Side Effects

When consumed orally, Bitter Orange is a safe product and has nearly no side effects on its users. However, Bitter Orange when consumed as a medicine in huge amounts can have some harmful side effects on its users.

When consumed in a combination with other products and stimulants such as caffeine ,caffeine extracts and herbs containing Caffeine, might lead to an increase in the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks and some other side effects.

Users might also suffer from headaches, and migraine headaches.

The extracts of Bitter Orange when applied on the skin in the form of oil is relatively safe for use and it might cause sensitivity to the human skin against the sun and these effects will be prominent in users who are light skinned.

Warnings and Precautions

For pregnant and breastfeeding women

Bitter Orange extracts are safe for consumption orally when it is used as an ingredient in food. However it might have some side effects when it is consumed in huge amounts as a medicine. However, there is no major evidence available which can demonstrate the side effects of Bitter Orange on women who are breastfeeding.


Some research studies have shown that bitter orange might have some interference with the blood sugar levels of patients suffering from Type-2 diabetes.

High Blood Pressure

When Bitter Orange is used in a combination with Caffeine, it might lead to an increase in the blood pressure levels in those individuals who are absolutely healthy and there is no major evidence till date which can prove the side effects of Bitter Orange on those people who are already suffering from High Blood Pressure.

Dosage - Bitter Orange Extract

There is no exact universal recommended dosage of Bitter Orange and these dosage vary from individuals to individuals and depend on a variety of factors like age, sex and medical condition of the user.

One should always consult with their doctor about the Daily Recommended limit Bitter Orange extract.

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