If you’ve spent any time in the fitness space, you’ve heard more weight loss pitches than a TV-loving insomniac.

You know, stuff like…

“This powder is the ‘secret’ to losing 10, 20, even 30 pounds in just a month!”

“This pill blocks the absorption of carbs and suppresses your appetite!”

“A few of these per day and you can eat anything and still lose weight!”

And if you’re like most people, you’ve probably gone in for a few.

“Who knows?” you’ve thought. “Maybe it actually works?”

Well, it’s okay. We’ve all been there. And now we’re skeptical of anything that claims to help us lose weight faster.

That’s good. We should be.

(We should be equally skeptical of any supplement that claims to help with muscle building, too.)

That brings us to this article and to the supplement synephrine.

It’s commonly found in pre-workout supplements because it’s a light stimulant and in fat burner supplements because it purportedly accelerates weight loss.

How beneficial is it really, though, and what kind of results can you really expect? And what about dosages and side effects?

Let’s tackle all those questions and more and find out if synephrine is worth your money and attention.

(If you’d prefer to skip all of the scientific mumbo jumbo, though, and you just want to know if you should take synephrine or a different supplement to reach your goals, no problem! Just take the Legion Supplement Finder Quiz, and in less than a minute, you’ll know exactly what supplements are right for you. Click here to check it out.)

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What Is Synephrine?

Synephrine is a naturally occurring substance known as an alkaloid that’s found in plants.

It’s particularly abundant in the bitter orange fruit, which is why it’s often referred to by that name.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, synephrine has been in use for thousands of years, obtained mainly via citrus peels.

It’s chemically similar to the ephedrine and pseudoephedrine found in many over-the-counter cold/allergy medications and weight loss and energy supplements that contain ma huang.

Accordingly, synephrine impacts the adrenal system of the human body and increases basal metabolic rate, which accounts for up to 70% of your daily caloric expenditure.

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Why Do People Supplement With Synephrine?

Supplement With Synephrine

Studies show that synephrine speeds up your metabolism, which contributes to fat loss and weight management.

The reason for this is simple:

If you want to lose fat, you need to burn more energy than you eat.

Thus, anything that helps you burn more energy (like synephrine, caffeine, and exercise), can help you lose fat faster.

Synephrine is also often sold as a “stubborn fat burner.”

This sounds like hooey, but there’s science to back it up, which we’ll get to in a minute.

The bottom line is most people supplement with synephrine to lose fat of all kinds faster.

How well does it work, though?

What Are the Benefits of Synephrine?

Benefits of Synephrine

As you would expect from a mild stimulant that increases energy expenditure, the main benefit of synephrine supplementation is faster weight loss.

For example, one study found that a single dose of 50 milligrams of synephrine increased basal metabolic rate by 65 calories over the course of the next 75 minutes.

Research shows that this metabolic boost can be significantly increased to over 180 calories by combining synephrine with two other molecules found in the bitter orange fruit: naringin and hesperidin.

That’s the same amount of calories burned in about 20 minutes of jogging. That’s an additional 1,300 calories burned every seven days–a little more than one-third of the calories in a pound of fat. That matters.

Furthermore, studies show that synephrine works synergistically with caffeine to enhance both caffeine’s and its own fat loss properties.

That is, if you take caffeine and synephrine together, you’ll burn more fat than if you took them separately.

It’s also worth noting that the synergism noted in a standard “ECA” (ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin) stack also applies to synephrine.

Research shows that another benefit of synephrine is it can increase the thermic effect of food, and especially in women. This means even more energy expenditure and thus more fat loss.

Yet another benefit is something we already touched on–synephrine’s effects on stubborn fat.

The physiology is fairly complex, but here’s the long story short:

The fat-burning process in your body is regulated by chemicals called catecholamines. These molecules bind with receptors on fat cells and trigger the release of stored energy for burning.

The problem, though, is some fat cells are resistant to mobilization. That is, they don’t respond to the catecholamines like other fat cells, which are easier to burn.

This is why, when you start a fat loss regimen, you see immediate results in certain areas of your body like your chest, arms, and face, but next-to-nothing in other areas like your stomach, hips, and thighs.

The reason for this is fat cells have two different types of receptors for catecholamines:

  1. Alpha-receptors
  2. Beta-receptors

These receptors are diametrically opposed in function in that alpha-receptors hinder fat mobilization and beta-receptors activate it.

Thus, fat cells with a high amount of beta-receptors are relatively easy to burn (shrink, really, but you get the idea) whereas those with a high amount of alpha-receptors aren’t.

Well, synephrine can aid in mobilizing stubborn fat cells by blocking the activity of alpha-receptors in fat cells.

In other words, synephrine can help prevent the alpha-receptors in your fat cells from putting the brakes on fat mobilization.

Last but not least is the fact that anything that has the ability to increase catecholamine activity can also suppress hunger between meals (a component of the fight or flight response).

Synephrine’s appetite blunting effects have been demonstrated in animal research and have a fair amount of anecdotal support as well (many people find it’s an effective appetite suppressant).

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What’s the Clinically Effective Dosage of Synephrine?

synephrine dosage

“The what?” you might be thinking.

The clinically effective dosage of a supplement is the amount used in the scientific studies proving the benefits.

You see, it’s not enough to just know that synephrine can improve fat loss. You need to know how much is needed to see results.

And when you review the literature, you find a wide variety of dosages of synephrine used for weight loss purposes.

The most effective dosages were in the range of 25 to 50 milligrams per day, though, with 50 milligrams significantly outperforming 25 milligrams.

What Types of Results Should I Expect from Synephrine?

synephrine review

Like all natural supplements, don’t pin unrealistically high expectations on synephrine.

Remember that supplements don’t build great physiques. Dedication to proper training and nutrition does.

That said, here’s what you can expect from synephrine supplementation:

  • A slight increase in your basal metabolic rate.
  • A slight decrease in the activity of fat cell receptors that prevent fat mobilization.
  • A slight increase in the thermic effect of food, or the “energy cost” of metabolizing food.

If that doesn’t sound all that sexy to you, I understand. I’m just calling it like it is.

That said, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t supplement with syneprhine. It just means you shouldn’t supplement only with synephrine if you really want to see improvements.

The same can be said about most natural supplements.

By themselves, individually, they are underwhelming. Take the right ones together, though, and the cumulative effects can become noticeable.

For example, if you pair synephrine with naringin and hesperidin, you can triple the metabolic boost. And if you add caffeine as well, the effects become even more pronounced.

In terms of actual fat loss, if you took these four supplements every day (and especially before working out), it’s reasonable to assume an additional 0.5 pounds of fat loss per week.

And that’s enough to matter if you also consistently train hard and eat right.

(I should mention that you can lose fat–and stubborn fat in particular–even faster when you add yohimbine into the mix.)

Does Synephrine Have Any Side Effects?

synephrine side effects

If you poke around on the Internet for an answer, you’ll find dire warnings that synephrine can increase the risk for high blood pressure, fainting, heart attack, stroke, and “other severe side effects.”

Well, several studies have demonstrated that synephrine doesn’t increase blood pressure, and research shows that it is generally safe and well tolerated.

The reality is if you’re like most people, you’re not going to notice much when you take synephrine. Most report a slight increase in energy with none of the downsides generally associated with stimulants (jitters, nausea, rapid heartbeat, etc.).

That said, if you have any medical conditions or take any medications that might contraindicate supplementation with synephrine, consult your doctor before use, of course. Examples are high blood pressure, anti-depressants, and HIV/AIDS.

The Best Synephrine Supplements

Best Synephrine Supplements

As you probably know, synephrine is primarily sold as a fat burner.

You now know why.

And the first thing you need to understand about these types of supplements is this:

No amount of weight loss pills and powders are going to make you lean.

Trust me.

If you’re trying to lose fat, pill popping, even to excess, is not going to be enough.

There just aren’t any safe, natural “fat burning” compounds powerful enough to, all on their own, cause meaningful weight reduction.

Now the good news:

If you know how to drive fat loss with proper diet and exercise, certain supplements can accelerate the process.

Based on my experience with my own body and having worked with thousands of people, I feel comfortable saying that an effective fat loss supplementation regimen can increase fat loss by about 30 to 50% with little to no side effects.

That is, if you can lose 1 pound of fat per week without supplements (and you can), you can lose 1.3 to 1.5 pounds of fat per week with the right ones.

Another big benefit of taking the right fat loss supplements is they are particularly effective for reducing stubborn fat, which is usually belly fat for us guys and hip and thigh fat for girls.

Well, synephrine is one of those supplements.

The problem, though, is its effects are rather mild and inconsequential when taken by itself. We recall that 50 milligrams can increase the basal metabolic rate by 60 to 70 calories. That’s not going to move the needle much.

Fortunately, these effects can be safely and greatly amplified by several other molecules (naringin, hesperidin, and caffeine).

Thus, if you decide to supplement with synephrine to maximize fat loss, make sure you choose a supplement that also contains clinically effective doses of naringin, hesperidin, and caffeine. 

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The Bottom Line on Synephrine

synephrine weight loss

Synephrine is one of the few fat loss supplements that are affordable and proven to accelerate weight loss (and especially when combined with several other supplements, as we’ve discussed).

If your budget permits, they’re a worthy addition to your supplement cabinet.

Don’t buy into the hype, though. Synephrine isn’t going to “triple your fat loss” or “melt stubborn fat off your body.”

It can help you burn more calories and thus more fat, however, and attack the blubber covering your abs, hips, and thighs.

And that, in time, can result in greater progress toward the body you really want.

What’s your take on supplementing with synephrine? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

+ Scientific References