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Synephrine vs Ephedrine: What You Need to Know

Bitter orange fruit - Background


synephrine vs ephedrine Bitter orange - used in Marmalade

The bitter orange fruit is a common source of synephrine. Bitter orange is used in a variety of products in industries. Neroli oil and petitgrain oil, which are used in the fragrance and food industries, are extracted from the bitter orange fruit. The peels of the bitter orange are also commonly used to make traditional marmalade.


The bitter orange fruit is high in p-synephrine. This compound is chemically very similar to ephedrine. However, synephrine is considered much safer for use than ephedrine.[1]

Ephedrine effects


Ephedrine is a very strong stimulant found in the Ephedra herb. It has potent weight loss effects:

  1. Increases metabolism by around 5%
  2. Increases the availability of fat to burn
  3. Increases energy expenditure


This compound has some serious side effects. It has been known to increase blood pressure and heart rate and has a long list of substances that it interacts with.


Ephedrine products are now banned in the United States. There were a number of reported heart palpitations as a side effect from ephedrine, which is clearly a very dangerous effect for people with underlying cardiac problems.

Synephrine vs Ephedrine Ephedrine affects heart rate and blood pressure. Synephrine does not.


Ephedrine is a substance that can be used in the production of methamphetamine, which further helps to solidify its legal status.[2]


Synephrine vs Ephedrine: Synephrine Effects


Since the ban on ephedrine, people have been looking for a natural metabolic stimulant without negative side effects. That’s where synephrine comes in. Synephrine’s main effects are similar to ephedrine’s:


  1. Increases resting metabolic rate and energy expenditure
  2. Increases weight loss
  3. Boosts power and performance

synephrine vs ephedrine Synephrine increases power and energy

Studies and reviews done on synephrine have found that this substance is very safe when used in moderation.


Synephrine may not be quite as effective as ephedrine. However, it has still been found to be very effective, and doesn’t appear to produce negative health effects![3]


Synephrine vs Ephedrine: Safety


There is a lot of information on the internet relating to the safety of synephrine compared to ephedrine. Many blog posts and articles quote studies which apparently indicate the hazards of synephrine. So it’s important to note that there is still, at this point, some controversy about the use and safety of synephrine.

synephrine vs ephedrine 'Synephrine-based' is not the same as pure synephrine

We looked into the sources of many of these claims and found studies examining mostly ‘synephrine-based’ supplements. These are supplements that contain synephrine as well as a combination of other similar substances. Side effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure - not unlike the side effects of caffeine.


The same studies that many blogs and government websites reference to aid in warnings about the dangers of synephrine actually seem to state that synephrine use alone is safe and free from side effects.[4]



synephrine vs ephedrineLiftmode Synephrine is 98+% pureThe most recent review of all published and unpublished human studies on synephrine has found that synephrine is an effective substance at promoting weight loss and stimulating the metabolism. It can also be used as an effective pre-workout supplement.


There is a lot of information about the apparent safety hazards of synephrine, which compare synephrine to ephedrine. However, inspecting many of these sources reveal biased accounts which often completely misrepresent scientific information.


For more information relating to the safety of synephrine, see our article here. Otherwise, read through either of these two publications:


  • Stohs SJ, Preuss HG, Shara M. A Review of the Human Clinical Studies Involving Citrus aurantium (Bitter Orange) Extract and its Primary Protoalkaloid p-Synephrine. Int J Med Sci 2012; 9(7):527-538. doi:10.7150/ijms.4446. Available from http://www.medsci.org/v09p0527.html




[1] Bitter Orange Peel and Synephrine, American Botanical Council, Mark Blumenthal, 2005 original print in WholeFoods, 2005.

[2] Ephedrine, Examine.com: https://examine.com/supplements/ephedrine/, retrieved June 21, 2016

[3] Stohs SJ, Preuss HG, Shara M. A Review of the Human Clinical Studies Involving Citrus aurantium (Bitter Orange) Extract and its Primary Protoalkaloid p-Synephrine. Int J Med Sci 2012; 9(7):527-538. doi:10.7150/ijms.4446. Available from: http://www.medsci.org/v09p0527.html

[4] McGruffin M, Media Spins Numbers on Bitter Orange AERs Based on Erroneous Information from FDA Review Finds All But One "Report" Associated with Ephedrine or Caffeine, American Botanical Council, Issue: 69 Page: 52-55, available from http://advantraz.com/advz/Studies2011/Safety/S12%20AHPA%200904.pdf