Anders Westanmo

Summary

Citrus aurantium has enjoyed a rich history of uses in food, cosmetics, and medicine. Recent misuse of this product for weight loss, however, is threatening to tarnish the holistic reputation of this fruit. Manufacturers are isolating and concentrating the synephrine content from the 0.33 mg/g contained in the pulp of whole fruit to 20 mg/g in some dietary supplements, and over 100-fold increase to 35 mg/g in extracts. With the known cardiovascular effects of synephrine, this may be creating a potentially dangerous or abuseable supplement out of what people once safely enjoyed. The use of C. aurantium for weight loss has little support in the literature, but this has not stopped producers from marketing the drug for this purpose since the void left after the ban of ephedra. The increased frequency in which case reports of toxicity have emerged since this product has started being used for weight loss should serve as a cautionary note for more vigilant monitoring of safety.

Key Words: Citrus aurantium; bitter orange; synephrine; ephedra substitute; weight loss; adrenergic amines.

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