Garcinia cambogia helps lose weight

Garcinia cambogia helps lose weight
This is one of the main concerns people have before they buy it.

Garcinia Cambogia: Does This Hyped Weight Loss Supplement Really Work?

Garcinia cambogia (GC) is a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit that grows in Southeast Asia and India. The key active ingredient found in the rind of garcinia cambogia is hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which some research suggests can help certain people lose weight. (1)

Currently, there are at least 14 separate HCA-containing products sold over-the-counter to consumers labeled as “garcinia cambogia.” Most people are drawn to the idea of using GC because of the potential that it can provide near-effortless, quick weight loss without the need to change someone’s overall diet or lifestyle very much.

GC itself is not a new product; in fact, it’s been consumed in parts of Asia for many years, although not for the purpose of losing weight. Since GC (traditionally also known as the Malabar tamarind) first began to gain popularity in the U.S. several years ago — after appearing frequently in the media and on popular health-related TV shows — sales have gone up dramatically. More and more people are purchasing this so-called “weight loss miracle drug” in hopes of losing stubborn body and stomach fat they’ve been struggling with for years.

But just like most other weight-loss supplements, pills and products, studies regarding GC’s effects and safety have been mixed. While there’s some evidence that HCA might be able to aid in weight loss even when someone does not exercise often or change his or her diet very much, there’s also concerns regarding serious side effects that can occur, including liver damage or failure, anxiety, fatigue, dizziness, and digestive problems.

Remember that just because GC is derived from a natural fruit doesn’t mean it’s always completely safe. So is garcinia cambogia ultimately worth trying? What’s the truth with this purported weight-loss supplement? Let’s take a look at how HCA works, in what situations GC might be helpful, and what adverse reactions are possible when using any type of weight loss drug.

Finally, it’s worth considering the fact that time and time again we see various fad diets and products publicized to help boost weight loss — but what really works in the end is living a healthy lifestyle long term.

Does Garcinia Cambogia Work? What the Studies Tell Us

Garcinia cambogia reviews, research results and weight loss testimonials have been mixed to say the least. By far the most well-publicized benefit of using garcinia cambogia is its ability to increase weight loss. Other claims that are commonly made about garcinia cambogia’s effects include:

  • loss of appetite or less of a desire to eat than usual
  • reduced cravings for unhealthy foods, such as sugar addiction
  • a more positive mood (including feeling happier, more energetic and less tired)
  • increased energy and concentration
  • stabilized blood sugar levels
  • improved bowel movements
  • reduced joint pains
  • improved cholesterol levels
  • stronger desire to be physically active

Most of the claims above have not been backed by scientific studies, however some have. Let’s review the benefits of garcinia cambogia that actually have some merit and seem to be effective in some manner.

Some studies have found that garcinia cambogia might, in fact, be able to help with low amounts of fat loss, plus some of the other health concerns mentioned above, although its effectiveness is rarely strong or consistent. For example, research suggests that HCA works by blocking a certain enzyme called adenosine triphosphate-citrate-lyase, which contributes to the formation of fat cells. But studies comparing GC’s effects to controls have found that it might only increase weight loss by a mere one to two pounds on average.

These findings are exactly what researchers published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011. When they compared people who took garcinia cambogia extract to those who didn’t, the weight difference was very small (on average just about two pounds). Plus, it wasn’t even possible to conclude that GC was directly responsible for the additional pounds lost.

The meta-analysis reviewed results from 12 different trails involving GC and revealed a small, statistically significant difference in weight loss favoring use of garcinia cambogia products containing HCA slightly over use of a placebo. However, the analysis also found that some studies showed digestive side effects (“gastrointestinal adverse events”) were twice as common in HCA groups compared with placebo.

Results from various weight loss studies involving GC have been very mixed. One study in the meta-analysis reported a significant decrease in fat mass in the HCA group compared with placebo, two studies reported a significant decrease in visceral fat/subcutaneous fat/total fat areas in the HCA group compared with placebo, but two other studies found no significant difference at all between HCA and placebo.

Garcinia cambogia continues to be the most widely used supplement in studies for providing HCA, however aside from GC, HCA can also be found in supplements made from the plant Hibiscus subdariffa.

A study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that GC used for 12 weeks (1,500 milligrams dosage) “failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo.” (2)

The conclusion of the meta-analysis regarding garcinia cambogia? Researchers summed up their findings by saying that “the magnitude of the effects are small, and the clinical relevance is uncertain. Future trials should be more rigorous and better reported.” (3) The bottom line is that if you’re struggling to lose weight, GC likely won’t be the answer, according to trial and controlled studies.

Studies have also suggested that it’s possible that HCA found in garcinia cambogia can help lower someone’s appetite by increasing production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with calm and happy feelings — and therefore, sometimes appetite suppression, less cravings and reduced desire for comfort foods. Animal studies show it might also help increase energy expenditure. (4)

Keep in mind, however, that this isn’t the case with all people, and there are other, potentially less risky ways to better manage your appetite and boost serotonin production (such as eating balanced meals with protein foods and healthy carbs at regular times throughout the day).

There’s some support for garcinia cambogia being able to improve cholesterol levels and lower high triglycerides. It might also be able to help raise HDL “good” cholesterol. It’s not safe for anyone already taking medications that affect cholesterol, however, and its effects don’t seem to be very reliable or strong.

Studies have found that GC has “no significant effect on anthropometric parameters, REE, triglycerides or glucose levels” but might have a small effect on lowering cholesterol. (5) Keep in mind that there are also plenty of other natural ways to improve cholesterol levels, including exercising and eating more dietary fiber from high-fiber foods like veggies, nuts, seeds and beans.

Finally, what about CG’s effects on blood sugar levels? Some evidence exists showing that garcinia cambogia can help control blood sugar by improving how cells take up glucose (sugar) to be used for energy. One way in which it might improve weight loss is through inhibition of pancreatic alpha amylase enzymes, changes in intestinal alpha glucosidase and alterations in fatty acid synthesis. This might be able to change how carbohydrates are metabolized. (6)

This might possibly help your body respond to insulin better, although it can raise the risk for having low blood sugar levels in some people, too. If you have a history of blood sugar swings, you’re prediabetic, diabetic or taking medications that alter insulin’s effects, GC might make your blood sugar drop dangerously low. While this doesn’t appear to happen in everyone who takes GC, it’s something else to consider and something to discuss with your doctor.

Potential Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects

While some people claim they don’t experience any side effects at all from using GC, others have had very different experiences. Here’s one disturbing account regarding the use of garcinia cambogia extract that you might not have heard about: It’s contributed to at least several patients winding up in the hospital with liver failure and needing emergency liver transplants.

A 2016 article published by the Transplantation Center at the Mayo Clinic reports that millions of Americans regularly use herbal supplements, often in pill form, but aren’t aware of their full effects. Many weight loss drugs pose potential hidden dangers and are “associated with hepatotoxicity and acute liver injury.” (7)

In the case of garcinia cambogia, it can easily be overused and is not very well-regulated. Some manufacturers recommend taking high doses multiple times per day, for example 30 to 60 minutes before every meal for eight to 12 weeks straight. (8) Aside from liver damage, other garcinia cambogia side effects that can occur include:

  • becoming fuzzy or weak
  • fatigue and brain fog
  • skin rashes
  • an increase in catching colds/lower immune function
  • dry mouth and bad breath
  • headaches
  • digestive issues like nausea, trouble eating or diarrhea

Something else to consider about GC is the long list of its potential medical/drug interactions. Many people should avoid garcinia cambogia due to how it can affect other medications, pregnancy, nutrient levels, blood sugar and more.

And because it’s 100% all-natural and truly effective in weight loss even without the help of diet and exercise, garcinia cambogia has become the best selling and most recommended natural weight loss supplement in the industry today.

If you just try to make some positive changes in your lifestyle, you will eventually see the difference.

Garcinia cambogia can potentially interact badly with: (9)

  • pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • existing cases of liver or kidney damage
  • medications that are taken to control asthma and allergies
  • diabetes medications and insulin
  • iron supplements (usually taken by people with anemia)
  • pain medications
  • medications used to control mental disorders like anxiety and depression
  • statin drugs that lower cholesterol
  • blood thinning drugs (like warfarin)

How Much Garcinia Cambogia Should You Take?

If you decide that you still want to try taking GC for weight loss or its other benefits, here’s what you need to know about dosage recommendations for products containing HCA:

  • Studies using GC have used a wide range of doses, anywhere from one gram to 2.8 grams daily. Typical doses are ususally between 250–1,000 milligrams per day.
  • 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.
  • Garcinia cambogia continues to be the most widely used supplement in studies for providing HCA, however aside from GC, HCA can also be found in supplements made from the plant Hibiscus subdariffa.
  • Because most studies have investigated the effects of GC taken for about eight weeks, researchers believe this is ultimately “too short a time to assess the effects of HCA on body weight.”

To err on the safe side, avoid buying garcinia cambogia “formulas” or “supplement blends,” which might fail to report all of the other ingredients included or accurate levels of HCA. Many proprietary formulas are made by manufacturers that only use a fraction of the active ingredient or standard dose to keep costs down. Always read labels and look for the words “pure garcinia cambogia” and “hydroxycitric acid (or HCA) extract” (this should be around 50 percent to 60 percent of the product). If you purchase a blend and see an ingredient listed without an amount, that can be a red flag that you don’t know exactly what you’re getting.

11 Weight Loss Methods That Really Do Work

In just about all studies involving garcinia cambogia, researchers note that it’s hard to tell if any demonstrated benefits (weight loss, reduced cholesterol, etc.) are really due to GC or are actually influenced by other factors like the subjects eating lower-calorie diets or exercising. It’s always possible for any supplement to cause a “placebo effect,” where subjects wind up changing their outlook and habits simply because they believe the product is helping them (even if it isn’t actually doing anything).

Another interesting fact that the Journal of Obesity meta-analsis reports is that most of the included studies “failed to indicate whether or not outcome assessors were blinded, and seven studies did not even specify who funded the garcinia cambogia studies.” While it’s possible that garcinia cambogia might help you lose an additional one to two pounds if you take it regularly, most experts don’t think it’s worth the money or the risk — especially considering its effects are so small and inconsistent.

Ultimately, taking weight loss supplements won’t teach you much about eating an overall healthy diet, finding ways to enjoy exercise, or practicing “intuitive eating” and managing cravings. So what can you do to move in the right direction of losing weight safely? Weight loss efforts should always be realistic, safe and sustainable. Remember that the real goal is to reach a healthy weight and stay there for life. That’s why quick fixes and fad diets have been shown in studies to fail in the long run over 95 percent of the time.

Here are some of my favorite tips for losing weight using reliable methods that really work:

  1. Get good sleep! A lack of sleep (less than seven to nine hours nightly for most people) can mean a lack of weight loss.
  2. Eat more fiber: Adults need to aim for at least 25–30 grams daily from things like veggies, fruit, ancient grains, sprouted legumes and seeds.
  3. Use healthy fats: Coconut oil has natural fat-burning effects just like GC does, plus many more benefits like improving gut health, too.

    They probably have even made your problem worse because you starved yourself for a while and now your body is asking for more food to compensate.

    Other healthy fats that can help control your appetite include real olive oil, avocado, fats from grass-fed beef, nuts and seeds.

  4. Utilize adaptogen herbs: Adaptogen herbs like maca, ginseng and rhodiola can help control health conditions that can make it hard to lose weight (like high amounts of stress, thyroid issues, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, cellular toxicity and candida).
  5. Don’t skimp on protein: Protein foods are satisfying and essential for building muscles. Regularly include proteins like cage-free eggs and wild-caught fish in your meals.
  6. Consume probiotics: Probiotic foods and supplements not only help balance improve digestive health, but they also balance hormones, raise immunity, control your appetite and play a part in weight control.
  7. Switch up your exercise routine: Try burst-training exercises and other forms of high intensity interval training (HIIT) to keep challenging your muscles, work in with a group, add in weight training, and relax with yoga in between workouts.
  8. Stand up more during the day: Sitting for long periods of time is associated with being overweight and a higher risk for obesity.
  9. Sneak more fitness into your day: Take the stairs, do body weight exercises at home. or try wearing a fitness tracker for motivation — try some of these exercise hacks.
  10. Schedule your workouts ahead of time: This makes it much more likely you’ll follow through.
  11. Useessential oils for weight loss: Natural oils including grapefruit, cinnamon and ginger oil can help control your appetite, hormones and digestive symptoms.

From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more. Because Leaky Gut is so common, and such an enigma, I’m offering a free webinar on all things leaky gut. Click here to learn more about the webinar.

Garcinia Cambogia: Safe for Weight Loss?

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Possible Side Effects

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.

Garcinia cambogia may interact badly with:

You definitely don't want to use it when you're pregnant or nursing, or if you have kidney or liver problems.

If you are suffering from obesity or heavy weight, you can try using Garcinia Cambogia made in UK.

It is possible that manic symptoms may emerge as a side effect.

To Buy or Not to Buy

Since study results are mixed, you should talk with your doctor to help you decide if taking garcinia cambogia is a good idea. Even if it's safe, it may not help you lose much weight. It's probably wiser to spend your money on healthy food or an exercise DVD.

Onakpoya, I. Journal of Obesity, 2011.

NYU Langone Medical Center: "Weight Loss Aids."

Byrne, S. Consumer Reports, March 24, 2014.

Wielinga, P.Y. American Journal of Physiology, June 1, 2005.

Leonhardt, M. Nutrition, October 2004.

Hayamizu, K. Fitoterapia, April 2003.

Preuss, H. Nutrition Research, January 2004.

Preuss, H. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, May 2004.

Preuss, H. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research, February 2005.

Drugs.com: "Garcinia (hydroxycitric acid)."

Kim, Y. World Journal of Gastroenterology, Aug. 7, 2013.

Stohs, S. Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, November 2010.

Clouatre, D. World Journal of Gastroenterology, Nov. 28, 2013.

Marquez, F. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Issue 7, 2012.

Medscape: "Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists."

How Garcinia Cambogia Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

Garcinia cambogia is a popular weight loss supplement.

It is derived from a fruit of the same name, also called Garcinia gummi-gutta or Malabar tamarind.

The peel of the fruit contains high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is the active ingredient believed to be responsible for most of the weight loss benefits ( 1).

This article is a detailed review of garcinia cambogia and whether it is something you should take in order to lose weight.

Garcinia gummi-gutta is a small, pumpkin-shaped, yellow or greenish fruit.

The fruit is so sour that it is generally not eaten fresh, but rather used for its sour flavor in cooking ( 2).

Garcinia cambogia supplements are made from extracts of the fruit's peel.

The peel of the fruit contains high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), an active substance that has been shown to have some weight loss properties ( 3, 4, 5).

The supplements generally contain 20–60% HCA. Nevertheless, studies show that those with 50–60% HCA may provide the most benefit ( 2).

Bottom Line: Garcinia cambogia supplements are made from extracts of the peel of the Garcinia gummi-gutta fruit. They contain high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which has been linked with weight loss benefits.

Many high-quality human studies have tested the weight loss effects of garcinia cambogia.

What's more, most of them show that the supplement can cause a small amount of weight loss ( 3, 6).

This graph summarizes the weight loss results from nine studies on garcinia cambogia ( 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14):

The blue bars show the results from the supplement groups, while the orange bars show the results of placebo groups.

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 ( 3, 15).

That said, several studies have not found any weight loss advantage ( 9, 11, 16).

For example, the largest individual study, which tested 135 participants over 12 weeks, did not find any difference in weight loss between the group that took garcinia cambogia and the group that took the placebo ( 9).

As you can see, the evidence is mixed. Garcinia cambogia supplements can produce modest weight loss in some people, but their effectiveness cannot be guaranteed.

Bottom Line: Some studies have found that garcinia cambogia causes modest weight loss, while other studies report no noticeable effects.

There are two main ways garcinia cambogia is thought to help with weight loss.

1. It May Reduce Your Appetite

Studies in rats have shown that those given garcinia cambogia supplements tend to eat less ( 17, 18).

Similarly, some human studies have shown that garcinia cambogia is able to suppress appetite and make you feel full ( 5, 13, 14, 19, 20).

How it reduces appetite isn't fully known, but rat studies have suggested that the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia can increase serotonin in the brain ( 5, 21).

Theoretically speaking, since serotonin is a known appetite suppressant, higher blood levels of serotonin could reduce your appetite ( 22).

However, these results need to be taken with a grain of salt. Other studies have found no difference in appetite between groups taking this supplement and those taking a placebo ( 10, 11, 12, 23).

It may be that these effects depend on the individual.

Bottom Line: Some studies suggest that garcinia cambogia can suppress appetite by inhibiting serotonin uptake in the brain, while other studies have found no effects on appetite or hunger.

2.

The key active ingredient found in the rind of garcinia cambogia is hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which some research suggests can help certain people lose weight.

It May Block Fat Production and Reduce Belly Fat

The most important activity of garcinia cambogia is probably its effects on blood fats and the production of new fatty acids.

Studies in humans and animals have shown it may lower high levels of fat in the blood and reduce oxidative stress in the body ( 24, 25, 26, 27, 28).

One study also suggests it may be especially effective at reducing the accumulation of belly fat in overweight people ( 8).

Another study gave moderately obese individuals 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia daily for eight weeks ( 14).

By the end of the study, the group had drastically reduced several risk factors for disease:

The main reason for these effects is thought to be that garcinia cambogia inhibits an enzyme called citrate lyase, which plays an important role in the production of fat ( 2, 29, 30, 31, 32).

By inhibiting citrate lyase, garcinia cambogia is thought to slow down or block fat production in the body. This may reduce blood fats and lower the risk of weight gain, two major disease risk factors ( 33).

Bottom Line: Garcinia cambogia blocks the production of new fats in the body, and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides in overweight people.

Animal and test-tube studies suggest that garcinia cambogia may also have some anti-diabetic effects, including ( 2, 14, 34):

  • Decreasing insulin levels
  • Decreasing leptin levels
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Improving blood sugar control
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity

Garcinia cambogia may also have benefits for the digestive system. Animal studies have suggested it helps protect against stomach ulcers and reduce damage to the inner lining of the digestive tract ( 35, 36).

However, these effects need to be studied further before firm conclusions can be drawn.

Bottom Line: Garcinia cambogia may have some anti-diabetic effects and may also help protect against stomach ulcers and damage to the digestive tract.

Most studies have concluded that garcinia cambogia is safe for healthy people in the recommended dosages, or up to 2,800 mg of HCA per day ( 37, 38, 39, 40).

That said, supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

That means there's no guarantee that the actual content of HCA in your supplements will match the HCA content on the label.

Therefore, make sure to buy from a reputable manufacturer.

People have also reported some side effects of using garcinia cambogia. The most common ones are ( 3, 9):

However, some studies have indicated more serious side effects.

Animal studies have shown that a very high intake of garcinia cambogia can cause testicular atrophy — shrinking of the testicles. Studies in rats have shown it may also affect sperm production ( 38, 41, 42).

Additionally, there is one report of a woman who developed serotonin toxicity as a result of taking garcinia cambogia with her anti-depressant medications ( 43).

If you have a medical condition or are taking any medications, consult your doctor before you start taking the supplement.

Bottom Line: Some people experience digestive symptoms, headaches and skin rashes when taking garcinia cambogia. Animal studies suggest that a very high intake may cause toxicity.

Many health food stores and pharmacies offer several varieties of garcinia cambogia.

Choose one from a reputable manufacturer that contains 50–60% hydroxycitric acid (HCA).

Recommended dosages can vary between brands. Generally, it is recommended to take 500 mg, three times per day, 30–60 minutes before meals.

It is always best to follow the dosage instructions on the label.

Studies have only tested these supplements for up to 12 weeks at a time. Therefore, it may be a good idea to take a few weeks off every three months or so.

Bottom Line: Look for a supplement that contains 50–60% HCA and is made by a reputable manufacturer. Follow the dosage instructions on the label.

Existing studies don't agree on the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia for weight loss.

Some studies show it may cause slightly more weight loss than not taking any supplement. This effect is not confirmed, but it is promising.

The positive effects of garcinia cambogia on blood fats may be where this supplement really shines.

An evidence-based nutrition article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.