Garcinia Cambogia: Safe for Weight Loss?
- 1 In this Article
- 2 How It Works
- 3 What is garcinia cambogia?
- 4 Weight loss
- 5 Other benefits
- 6 Type 2 Diabetes and High Cholesterol
- 7 How much garcinia cambogia should you take?
In this Article
Garcinia cambogia, a tropical fruit also known as the Malabar tamarind, is a popular weight-loss supplement. People say it blocks your body’s ability to make fat and it puts the brakes on your appetite. It could help keep blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check, too. You’ll find it in bottles on the shelf at the store as well as mixed with other ingredients in diet products.
Does it live up to its hype? Maybe a little, but it might not be worth it.
How It Works
The active ingredient in the fruit’s rind, hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, has boosted fat-burning and cut back appetite in studies. It appears to block an enzyme called citrate lyase, which your body uses to make fat. It also raises levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which may make you feel less hungry.Continue Reading Below
But actual weight loss results aren’t impressive. A review published in the Journal of Obesityfound that people who took garcinia cambogia in studies lost about 2 pounds more than people who didn’t take it. The reviewers couldn’t say for sure that the weight loss was because of the supplement. It could have been from the lower-calorie diet and exercise programs the people in the studies typically followed. Better studies are needed to find out if HCA really helps people lose a lot of weight and keep it off.
What is garcinia cambogia?
The garcinia cambogia fruit is native to India and Southeast Asia and is marketed as a natural weight loss food.
Finding out what garcinia cambogia is and how it works can help people understand whether the weight loss claims are true and whether the supplement will work.
It is also important to realize that there are some risks and interactions to be aware of when using garcinia cambogia.
Garcinia cambogia contains an ingredient called hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which has been used to aid weight loss. The extract of HCA is available in powdered form or pill form and can be purchased online or in health stores.
Claims of garcinia cambogia
The use of garcinia cambogia and its extracts has been the subject of many health claims over the years. These claims range from mild to incredible, so it is important to separate fact from marketing when considering using supplements, such as this.
Garcinia cambogia is primarily marketed as a way to lose weight naturally with little to no additional effort. Some companies claim the supplement can help people lose weight without additional exercise or dieting.
It is true that the HCA in garcinia has been found to boost the fat-burning potential of the body.
One review posted to Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that garcinia did promote weight loss in many cases. But results vary widely.
Some studies using HCA have produced amazing weight loss results, while others showed the supplement had little to no effect.
Researchers note that the majority of the studies done on garcinia or HCA used animal models. The little research that has been done on humans has found that the effects of the fruit are too widespread to call beneficial. It may work, and it may not.
A review posted to the Journal of Obesity compiled the results of nine different studies using garcinia for weight loss in humans. The findings confirmed mixed results of the supplement, with some studies producing significant results and others showing little difference.
The average reduction in body weight was small, as the studies were only done for short periods of time. A study posted to Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition pointed out how short most of the studies into garcinia cambogia were.
Studies in humans have been done on a small number of people for a short amount of time. Longer tests need to be carried out on bigger groups of people to understand the safety and effectiveness of garcinia or HCA fully.
Does diet matter?
Garcinia cambogia extract may reduce weight gain alongside a high fat diet.
Researchers looked at how a person’s diet affected the supplement, noting that it was not as effective in people whose diets were low in fat and high in carbohydrate.
Another study, posted to the Journal of Clinical Diagnostic Research found that taking garcinia cambogia extract along with a high-fat diet did reduce weight gain.
However, a high-fiber diet may also reduce how well HCA works in the body.
This research suggests that the garcinia and HCA depend upon a proper diet to be effective, which is the opposite of how it is marketed by manufacturers. The secret to avoiding weight gain: Don’t diet Click here to learn why dieting may not always be the best option for great weight loss results. Read now
Curbs appetite and makes the body feel full
Another claim is that using garcinia or HCA can help the body feel full throughout the day. Reviews have found positive results in animal studies, but no human studies have found similar results.
The absence of studies on humans to prove these claims does not mean that garcinia does not work. Some people who have used the supplement maintain that it helps them feel full all day and supports their weight loss.
Garcinia cambogia is also marketed as a supplement that enhances athletic ability. Researchers found that both animal and human models provided some evidence for this claim.
Using garcinia or HCA may increase endurance levels during exercise and stop people feeling exhausted too quickly. Long-term studies need to be carried out to support these claims, however.
Older studies have supported the claims that garcinia may be useful for lowering cholesterol. Again, these claims are not proven, and the results of studies are inconsistent. As such, it is not advised to use garcinia to lower cholesterol.
Similarly, garcinia may be able to lower blood sugar levels in some people. Doctors do not recommend that those who have diabetes take garcinia cambogia, as it may affect their medication, and cause their blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels.
Type 2 Diabetes and High Cholesterol
Garcinia cambogia may make it easier for your body to use glucose, the sugar your cells need for energy. Mice that got garcinia cambogia in one study had lower insulin levels than mice that didn’t. That’s another reason, besides weight loss, that people with diabetes are interested in it. However, if you’re taking garcinia cambogia along with a medication to control your blood sugar, your glucose could get dangerously low.
Side effects of garcinia cambogia may include nausea and headaches.
Anyone choosing to take garcinia cambogia should be aware of the potential side effects.
Side effects of garcinia cambogia may include:
- skin rash
- common cold symptoms
- digestive upset
- lower blood sugar
Certain products containing garcinia cambogia and HCA have also been linked to liver damage. However, there is conflicting evidence on whether or not garcinia cambogia caused the liver damage that was observed.
As a rule, before taking any supplements, always talk to a doctor first.
Garcinia or HCA may interact with certain drugs.
Some research shows that the supplement lowers blood sugar, so it may affect people with diabetes. It is always best to consult a doctor before starting any new drug or supplement.
Anyone with prior liver or kidney damage may want to avoid garcinia.
Also, there have not been enough studies done to determine if garcinia is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. As such, these women should avoid it.
How much garcinia cambogia should you take?
There is no standard dose when it comes to supplements.
A recent review posted to Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine compiled the research on the toxicity of the garcinia cambogia supplement at various levels.
They concluded that no research had shown direct adverse effects in levels up to 2,800 milligrams each day.
The best dose to take will vary significantly from person to person, and people should always discuss their options with a doctor beforehand.
Garcinia cambogia supplements are available for purchase online.
Some research has found that garcinia cambogia can also improve cholesterol levels, lowering triglycerides and LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol). But you shouldn’t use it if you’re already on a prescription for your cholesterol.