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science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

Bitter orange (Citrus Aurantium)— particularly its active ingredient, p-synephrine— is a nervous system stimulator included in many weight-loss and energy-boosting supplements. Bitter orange extract— by itself or with other stimulants such as caffeine— increases energy levels and promotes weight loss. Korean researchers found that p-synephrine improved blood sugar regulation and glucose transport in muscle. This promotes energy use for exercise instead of increasing fat storage. Most studies show that bitter orange supplements are safe when taken as directed. They do not increase heart rate or blood pressure or alter common blood or urine tests. Energy-boosting supplements reduce the perception of fatigue during exercise. They make workouts seem easier and might boost performance by increasing training adherence (i.e., showing up at the gym). These products make athletes want to train and help sustain workout intensity. (Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 418: 720-724, 2012)