- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Mayo Clinic diet (1)
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Diet pills, supplements and surgery (14)
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Bitter orange weight-loss supplements: Do they work?
Is bitter orange safe and effective for weight loss?
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
While some research studies suggest that bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) can help with modest weight loss when combined with diet and exercise, it's probably not worth the risk. That's because bitter orange can cause a range of potentially serious health problems. So if you're trying to lose weight, stick to healthier methods and skip the bitter orange.
Bitter orange is an herb made from the bitter orange tree. Extracts from bitter orange peel are often found in weight-loss supplements and supplements sold for a variety of health concerns. Bitter orange gained popularity among dieters and weight-loss supplement manufacturers looking for alternatives after the Food and Drug Administration banned the herbal supplement ephedra (ma-huang) because of the health problems it caused.
But bitter orange poses some of the same serious health risks because of its stimulant-like effects. Among the many chemicals in bitter orange are synephrine and octopamine — chemicals similar to those in ephedra. These chemicals may speed up your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. Stroke and heart attack have been reported in some people using bitter orange alone or in combination with other stimulants such as caffeine.
Remember, just because an herbal supplement may be natural doesn't mean it's safe. Always check with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.Next question
Do weight-loss products such as Sensa work?
- Bitter orange. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/bitterorange. Accessed Dec. 9, 2011.
- Bitter orange. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Dec. 9, 2011.
- Lattova A, et al. Creatine and other supplements. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2007;54:735.
- Bent S, et al. Safety and efficacy of Citrus aurantium for weight loss. American Journal of Cardiology. 2004;94:1359.
- Bauer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Rochester, Minn. Dec. 12, 2011.
- Jordan S, et al. Products containing bitter orange or synephrine: Suspected cardiovascular adverse reactions. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2004;171:993.
- FDA acts to remove ephedra-containing dietary supplements from market. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2004/ucm108379.htm. Accessed Dec. 9, 2011.
- Bray GA, et al. Drug therapy of obesity. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 7, 2011.