Bitter Orange Safety
There are a number of precautions and warnings to be aware of regarding the safety of bitter orange. Safety tips include avoiding bitter orange products if you notice increased anxiety during treatment, watching out for potential drug interactions, and using caution if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Being aware of bitter orange warnings and precautions before taking the supplement can help minimize risks.
Bitter orange is a citrus plant that is rarely eaten but is often used in supplements, particularly weight-loss supplements. You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking bitter orange if you have:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Any heart problems
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of bitter orange include the following:
- Bitter orange contains synephrine (a stimulant similar to ephedra), which may make anxiety disorders worse. If you notice increased anxiety while taking bitter orange, it is probably a good idea to avoid bitter orange products.
- The synephrine in bitter orange can worsen some heart conditions. If you have any heart problems, do not take bitter orange without checking with your healthcare provider.
- If you have glaucoma, do not take bitter orange without checking with your healthcare provider. The stimulant in bitter orange can make glaucoma worse.
- If you have high blood pressure, bitter orange may increase your blood pressure even more (due to the synephrine content). However, this is not a problem for everyone.
- Bitter orange can interact with a number of medications (see Bitter Orange Interactions for more information).
- It is not known whether bitter orange is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women (see Bitter Orange and Pregnancy and Bitter Orange and Breastfeeding).
- If you decide to use supplements, what you see on the label may not reflect what is in the bottle. For example, some herbal supplements have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals or prescription drugs, and some have been found to have much more or much less of the featured ingredient than their label states. Therefore, make sure the manufacturer of your bitter orange is a trusted and reputable manufacturer. It is a good sign if a manufacturer abides by the rules of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). It is also a good sign if a product has the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) seal, which means that the product has been independently tested and shown to contain the correct ingredients in the amounts listed on the label. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are most reputable.