Alternative names: Extract of Bitter Orange, Seville Orange, Sour Orange, Bigarade Orange, Marmalade Orange
The extract of bitter orange peel (and bitter orange) has been used in dietary supplements to alleviate heartburn, aid fat loss, and suppress appetite.
Most orange peel extract is sold over the counter in tablet form, and most of it is sold with one purpose in mind, relief from heartburn, a symptom of acid reflux disease.
Orange peel extract has been found to be very effective in giving relief to heartburn sufferers, though physicians and scientists have not really been able to put their finger on why this is so. It appears however, that an ingredient in orange peel extract known as d-limonene plays a key role. D-limonene apparently aids in making food pass through the stomach more quickly, thus lessening the production of stomach acid. This ingredient also seems to prevent, at least to some degree, the backup of stomach acid into the esophagus, the principal cause of heartburn pain.
Orange peel extract is found in many facial and skin cleansing products. The extract oil works to dry out oily skin, which might prevent acne breakouts and problems. Orange extract typically blends well with other cleanser ingredients and oils such as lavender, clary sage and clove.
Bitter Orange extract is also used in herbal medicine as a stimulant and appetite suppressant. After the U.S. FDA banned the herbal stimulant ephedra, manufacturers substituted bitter orange in many herbal weight-loss products.
Do not use if you have, or suspect you have an ulcer; or if pregnant or nursing. The active ingredient, d-limonene, is thought to be responsible for causing birth defects in laboratory animals. Whether this could be the case with humans has not been firmly established.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid-reflux disease, which, in its most severe form is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Orange peel extract treats the symptoms, and not the disease. In other words it provides relief, which may be all that is needed in milder cases of acid reflux disease. However, it does not treat the disease, and is not a cure. Severe or chronic cases of acid reflux disease or GERD should be professionally treated.
In a 2010 article by the publication Consumer Reports, it was reported that use of bitter orange may be associated with "fainting, heart-rhythm disorders, heart attack, stroke, death."
Products containing orange peel extract deliver relief from occasional heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomach. Unlike many antacids, they will not reduce mineral absorption or inhibit protein digestion, and do not shut down acid production nor adversely affect acid-producing cells.
Orange peel extract should be standardized to contain a minimum of 98% of d-limonene. Upon first experiencing symptoms, take one softgel capsule (1,000mg) every other day for 20 days, and one softgel capsule as needed for occasional relief thereafter.
Almost 90% of participants reported resolution of heartburn symptoms 2 weeks after starting orange peel extract. Almost one-third experienced resolution of heartburn symptoms as early as day 2 of the study. In addition, even though participants stopped taking the orange peel extract, they still reported symptom resolution on days 21, 28 and 35. In other words, orange peel extract remained effective against heartburn for 2 weeks after they stopped taking it. Occasionally, after completing the 20-day treatment period, some people may experience mild heartburn after eating foods they had previously avoided. The study scientists concluded these individuals overindulged on these "forbidden" foods. Taking a single orange peel extract capsule as needed usually solves this problem.
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