Fat Burning Abilities of Citrus Aurantium

If you’ve used a ‘fat-burner’ previously, you very likely have heard of citrus aurantium. In case you haven’t, here’s a little low-down on what citrus aurantium is and what makes it tick as a fat-burner. You may find the information contained herein valuable, especially if you are looking to buy a fat loss supplement.

Citrus aurantium has been extensively researched (especially by Korean scholars) for its fat burning abilities. Most studies (as outlined below) support the view that citrus aurantium is indeed an effective fat-burner. It is hardly surprising that it is an integral part of most thermogenic supplements available on the market today.

Sources of Citrus Aurantium

Citrus aurantium (as the name suggests) is derived from citrus fruits. Owing to the flavonoids, limonoids and polyphenols present in them, citrus fruits have always been thought to optimize human health (Kang et al., 2011; Jung et al., 2007) – prevent the development of metabolic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer (Kim et al., 2012).

Some flavonoids contained in citrus aurantium are (Jeong et al., 2011; Lee et al., 2012):

  • Naringenin
  • Hesperidin
  • Poncirin
  • Sinestin
  • Isosinnesetin
  • Heptamethoxyflavone
  • Tangeretins
  • Hydroxypentamethoxyflavone

Flavonoids like hesperidin, naringenin and nobiletin have been shown to be effective in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases (Jung et al., 2007; Liu et al., 2008).

Process of Fat Deposition (Adipogenesis)

As we all know, increase in body fat (adipose tissue) causes obesity which in turn increases the risk of metabolic disorders – Type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer (Schuster, 2010).

Increase in adipose tissue follows the path outlined below:

• multiplication of fat cells (adipocytes) a process, known as adipogenesis, coverts a ‘preadipocyte’ into a fully matured adipocyte (Otto & Lane, 2005). A mature adipocyte has the capacity to store large amount of fat within its interior. Adipogenesis, thus, effectively, leads to increase in the number of fat cells capable of storing fat.

• deposition of fat (triglycerides – TGs) within the cytoplasm of mature adipocytes (Lefterova & Lazar, 2009)

• increased expression of genes which support adipogenesis and fat deposition – thus a vicious cycle ensues (Kim et al., 2012)

Net effect of the above processes is obesity.

Fat Burning Action of Citrus Aurantium

Researchers at the Gyeongsang National University, South Korea studied the fat burning abilities of citrus aurantium (Kim et al., 2012). Their paper, published in BMC Complement Altern. Med, confirms that citrus aurantium is indeed an effective fat-burner. The study reports that bitter orange, in addition to causing fat loss, blocks fat deposition as well.

Some physiological actions of citrus aurantium are:

  • suppressed conversion of preadipocytes into mature adipocytes (suppressed differentiation of fat cells)
  • prevention of accumulation of fat within mature fat cells
  • suppression of genes and regulators responsible for adipocyte differentiation
  • stimulation of lipolysis (break-down of fat) in mature adipocytes

In a nut-shell, citrus aurantium seems to be effective at breaking down fat (pre-existing) and preventing deposition of fat (new). Additionally, it affords protection against metabolic diseases.

To conclude, based on current evidence, there seems to be ground enough for bitter orange to be recommended as an effective and safe fat-burner.


Jeong, W. Y., Jin, J. S., Cho, Y. A., Lee, J. H., Park, S., Jeong, S. W. et al. (2011). Determination of polyphenols in three Capsicum annuum L. (bell pepper) varieties using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry: their contribution to overall antioxidant and anticancer activity. J Sep.Sci., 34, 2967-2974.

Jung, K. H., Ha, E., Kim, M. J., Won, H. J., Zheng, L. T., Kim, H. K. et al. (2007). Suppressive effects of nitric oxide (NO) production and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression by Citrus reticulata extract in RAW 264.7 macrophage cells. Food Chem.Toxicol., 45, 1545-1550.

Kang, S. R., Han, D. Y., Park, K. I., Park, H. S., Cho, Y. B., Lee, H. J. et al. (2011). Suppressive Effect on Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Proinflammatory Mediators by Citrus aurantium L. in Macrophage RAW 264.7 Cells via NF-kappaB Signal Pathway. Evid.Based.Complement Alternat.Med, 2011.

Kim, G. S., Park, H. J., Woo, J. H., Kim, M. K., Koh, P. O., Min, W. et al. (2012). Citrus aurantium flavonoids inhibit adipogenesis through the Akt signaling pathway in 3T3-L1 cells. BMC Complement Altern.Med, 12, 31.

Lee, D. H., Park, K. I., Park, H. S., Kang, S. R., Nagappan, A., Kim, J. A. et al. (2012). Flavonoids Isolated from Korea Citrus aurantium L. Induce G2/M Phase Arrest and Apoptosis in Human Gastric Cancer AGS Cells. Evid.Based.Complement Alternat.Med, 2012, 515901.

Lefterova, M. I. & Lazar, M. A. (2009). New developments in adipogenesis. Trends Endocrinol.Metab, 20, 107-114.

Liu, L., Shan, S., Zhang, K., Ning, Z. Q., Lu, X. P., & Cheng, Y. Y. (2008). Naringenin and hesperetin, two flavonoids derived from Citrus aurantium up-regulate transcription of adiponectin. Phytother.Res., 22, 1400-1403.

Otto, T. C. & Lane, M. D. (2005). Adipose development: from stem cell to adipocyte. Crit Rev Biochem.Mol.Biol., 40, 229-242.

Schuster, D. P. (2010). Obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes: the effects of fatty tissue inflammation. Diabetes Metab Syndr.Obes, 3, 253-262.

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Dr. Deepak S Hiwale

Dr. Deepak S Hiwale, a.k.a "The Fitness Doc" specializes in sports medicine in addition to being an elite personal trainer. He currently runs an elite personal training company in West London. As a sports injury and fitness writer-presenter, he tries to disseminate as much knowledge as possible for the benefit of all. MBBS (University of Pune); MSC, Sports and Exercise Medicine (University of Glasgow); Diploma in Personal Training (YMCA Dip. PT, London).

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