Naringin is a citrus flavonoid commonly found in grapefruit, and is responsible for grapefruit’s distinctive bitter taste.
Most of us have heard how it’s important to be careful consuming grapefruit juice along with certain medications — studies reveal that naringin interferes with some enzymes in the liver which can affect the metabolism and breakdown of these drugs. This can in effect lead to an inadvertantly higher dose of the drug, which may pose the threat of adverse reactions in some cases.
However, naringin displays many other interesting properties, some of which make it suitable for inclusion into the ingredients list of many popular fat burners.
One of the main reasons it’s included is because it has long been thought that naringin extends the effects and levels of caffeine when the two are combined together.
Since virtually 99% of the fat burners on the market contain caffeine (often derived from natural sources like kola nut, yerba mate, green tea, guarana and so on), and since caffeine does exhibit thermogenic (fat burning) properties, naringin seemed like a “no brainer” way to improve and extend its effects. A recent study (see Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2006 Apr;33(4):310-4) however, dispels naringin’s ability to extend the effect of caffeine—severely undermining its value in any weight loss compilation or diet pill.
Naringin has, on the other hand, been shown to exhibit cholesterol-lowering effects which is always a good thing for dieters (see Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2001 Sep;51(3):258-64). It’s also an aldose reductase inhibitor, which means it may also have a role to play battling retinal disease in diabetics.
Some data even goes so far as to suggest naringin may even play a role in the treatment of certain cancers (see Nutr Cancer. 2008 Jan-Feb;60(1):69-74).
While naringin may not be the most “sexy” ingredient in your favorite fat burner, it is a worthwhile one — although its role should only be a supportive one, in what is hopefully a much more comprehensive compilation! For more, see naringin in our glossary listing.