Garcinia cambogia is a fruit that grows in India, Southeast Asia, and some regions of Africa. Long used in herbal medicine, garcinia cambogia is thought to offer a variety of health benefits.
A number of studies have shown that garcinia cambogia contains compounds with antioxidant effects. In addition, garcinia cambogia contains hydroxycitric acid (a substance often touted as a natural weight loss aid).
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.
It is found in the rind of the fruit and reportedly blocks the accumulation of fat, induces satiety (i.e. giving the feeling of fullness and therefore suppressing the appetite)2 and is the active agent responsible for the various health effects of Garcinia cambogia.
The rind of the fruit of Garcinia cambogia is powdered and made available in either tablet or powder form, it is also used in teas, lotions and various other extracts.
Garcinia belongs to family Guttiferae (Clusiaceae), which includes over 200 species, today mostly found throughout Asia and Africa. Garcinia Cambogia, also known as Garcinia gummi-gutta or Malabar tamarind, originated in Southeast Asia, India, and Africa [1, 2].
The plant rind is used to polish gold and silver, while the plant resin is used as a pigment for paintings and watercolors, and the gum is used as a varnish .
Hydroxycitric acid is a derivative of citric acid, which is also found in certain other citrus and tropical fruits. The promise of HCA working for fat loss is mostly based on animal studies that show it has multiple sites of action, primarily in the liver and brain. Hydroxycitric acid is an inhibitor of citrate-cleavage enzymes (ATP-citrate lyase). In other words, some studies have shown that HCA can reduce the conversion of carbohydrates into stored fat by inhibiting certain enzyme processes. Others suggest that HCA suppresses appetite.
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.
Many high-quality human studies have tested the weight loss effects of garcinia cambogia.
On average, garcinia cambogia has been shown to cause weight loss of about 2 pounds (0.88 kg) more than a placebo, over a period of 2–12 weeks (3Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10, 11Trusted Source, 12, 13Trusted Source, 14, 15Trusted Source).
- Decreasing insulin levels
- Decreasing leptin levels
- Reducing inflammation
- Improving blood sugar control
- Increasing insulin sensitivity
Additionally, garcinia cambogia could boost your digestive system. Animal studies suggest that it helps protect against stomach ulcers and reduce damage to the inner lining of your digestive tract (35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source).
In a 6-week study on 24 overweight adults, hydroxycitric acid, the main component of Garcinia cambogia, reduced the food consumption while maintaining the feeling of satiety compared to placebo .
After 8 weeks, hydroxycitric acid decreased food consumption in a study of 60 moderately obese adults .
In a 3-month study on 99 obese men, Garcinia cambogia together with a weight-loss drug (orlistat), reduced total cholesterol levels and increased HDL-cholesterol levels .
In an 8-week study on 82 obese adults, hydroxycitric acid (the main component of Garcinia cambogia) decreased LDL-cholesterol levels by 12.9% and increased HDL-cholesterol levels by 8.9% .
Garcinia Cambogia has once been associated with reduced brain oxidation and pathology of neurodegeneration, but was said to be working vicariously through reduced food intake and body weight (with the study concluding that the state of obesity and a high fat diet impairs neural function).
When you take garcinia cambogia, you might get:
In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration warned everyone to stop using a weight-loss product that contained garcinia cambogia because some people taking it got serious liver problems. The product had other ingredients, too, so it’s not clear that garcinia cambogia was to blame. While some research suggests the supplement is safe for your liver, other research says no.
- Studies using GC have used a wide range of doses, anywhere from one gram to 2.8 grams daily. Typical doses are usually between 250–1,000 milligrams per day. Up to 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia per day seems to be safe for most adults.
- Study durations have also varied widely, ranging from using GC between two to 12 weeks at a time.
- The optimal dose of HCA is currently still* unknown. It’s not clear if a higher HCA dosage even means a higher bioavailability of HCA once consumed.
- There does seem to be a significant correlation between the dosage of HCA and body weight loss, meaning higher doses have slightly more effects.
*as of 05.06.2019