Synephrine and C. Aurantium extract in food supplements: analysis of safety and health claims

Authors: A. Stoimenova, G. Draganov, G. Petrova, M. Manova, P. Peikov,

Summary. Obesity is a major health problem facing both the developed and developing world. Food supplements are promising support in programs for weight control. A large number of food supplements containing sympathomimetic such as synephrine, octopamine and Citrus aurantium are used for weight loss. The aim of this work is to analyse claims of food supplements containing synephrine and C. aurantium extract, available on the Bulgarian market and to compare them with the results of the published studies of safety and health effects of the substances. It also aims to evaluate the risk for the consumers. Literature search of publication for safety and health effects of both products were performed and results were compared with the information in the product leaflets. A pharmacoepidemiology evaluation of the severity and outcomes of the reported adverse events was performed. Out of the 15 selected studies only 3 reported positive efficacy events. Although some evidences regarding the efficacy of these substances are promising, there is a need of more investigations in order to support the claims. On the other hand, out all 15 studies 12 reported adverse events. 3 of the adverse events were evaluated as very serious, 2 as serious and 3 were deadly. There is a need for tight control by the relevant authorities for justification of product claims. It is very necessary that physicians and pharmacists obtain up-to-date information in order to justify the claims and safety of food supplements for weight loss.

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