Garcinia cambogia medical opinion

Garcinia cambogia medical opinion
Some independent tests showed that even some companies that claimed they had 60% HCA weren’t even close to that amount.

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Other Names:

Brindal Berry, Brindle Berry, Cambogia binucao, Cambogia gemmi-guta, Garcinia affinis, Garcinia Cambogi, Garcinia cambogia, Garcinia gummi-guta, Garcinia sulcata, Gorikapuli, Kankusta, Kudam puli, Malabar Tamarind, Mangostana cambogia, Tamarinie.

See All Names Brindal Berry, Brindle Berry, Cambogia binucao, Cambogia gemmi-guta, Garcinia affinis, Garcinia Cambogi, Garcinia cambogia, Garcinia gummi-guta, Garcinia sulcata, Gorikapuli, Kankusta, Kudam puli, Malabar Tamarind, Mangostana cambogia, Tamarinier de Malabar, Vrikshamla.

GARCINIA Overview Information

Garcinia is a small to medium-sized tree that grows in India and Southeast Asia. The fruit rind contains the chemical hydroxycitric acid (HCA) and is used to make medicine. Don't confuse Garcinia with Garcinia hanburyi (gamboge resin).

How does it work?

Garcinia contains the chemical hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Developing research suggests that HCA might prevent fat storage, control appetite, and increase exercise endurance; however, whether these effects occur in humans is unclear.

GARCINIA Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Exercise performance. Taking a chemical compound found in Garcinia called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) might increase how long untrained women are able to exercise. However, it does not seem benefit men in the same way.
  • Weight loss. Research on the effect of Garcinia on weight loss is inconsistent. Some research shows that taking Garcinia extract that contains 50% hydroxycitric acid (HCA) for 8-12 weeks doesn't decrease fat breakdown or energy expenditure in overweight people. However, other research suggests that it might improve weight loss when taken for 12 weeks. Taking a specific Garcinia product containing 60% HCA (Super CitriMax InterHealth Nutriceuticals) by mouth in three doses daily 30 to 60 minutes before meals for 8 weeks, together with a healthy diet, seems to improve weight loss more than just diet alone. But other research shows that adding this specific Garcinia product to cereal bars or tomato juice and consuming them before lunch and dinner for 2 weeks does not improve weight loss. Reasons for the inconsistent results might be the dose, duration of treatment, or formulation of Garcinia extract that was used.
  • Joint pain.
  • Treating worms and parasites.
  • Emptying the bowel.
  • Severe diarrhea (dysentery).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of garcinia for these uses.
GARCINIA Side Effects & Safety

Garcinia is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for 12 weeks or less. Long-term safety is unknown. Garcinia can cause nausea, digestive tract discomfort, and headache.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

GARCINIA Interactions

We currently have no information for GARCINIA Interactions

GARCINIA Dosing

The appropriate dose of garcinia depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for garcinia. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Bunchorntavakul, C. and Reddy, K. R. Review article: herbal and dietary supplement hepatotoxicity. Aliment.Pharmacol.Ther 2013;37(1):3-17. View abstract.

Jena, B. S., Jayaprakasha, G. K., Singh, R. P., and Sakariah, K. K. Chemistry and biochemistry of (-)-hydroxycitric acid from Garcinia. J Agric.Food Chem. 1-2-2002;50(1):10-22. View abstract.

Kriketos, A. D., Thompson, H. R., Greene, H., and Hill, J. O. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid does not affect energy expenditure and substrate oxidation in adult males in a post-absorptive state. Int J Obes.Relat Metab Disord. 1999;23(8):867-873. View abstract.

Actis GC, Bugianesi E, Ottobrelli A, Rizzetto M. Fatal liver failure following food supplements during chronic treatment with montelukast. Dig Liver Dis. 2007 Oct;39(10):953-5. View abstract.

Allen SF, Godley RW, Evron JM, et al. Acute necrotizing eosinophilic myocarditis in a patient taking Garcinia cambogia extract successfully treated with high-dose corticosteroids. Can J Cardiol 2014;30(12):1732 e13-1732 e15. View abstract.

Badmaev V, Majeed M, Conte AA. Garcinia cambogia for weight loss. JAMA 1999;282:233-4; discussion 235. View abstract.

Chuah LO, Yeap SK, Ho WY, et al. In vitro and In vivo toxicity of Garcinia or hydroxycitric acid: a review. Evid Based Compl Alt Med 2012;2012:197920. View abstract.

Corey R, Werner KT, Singer A, Moss A, Smith M, Noelting J, Rakela J. Acute liver failure associated with Garcinia cambogia use. Ann Hepatol. 2016 Jan-Feb;15(1):123-6. View abstract.

Dara L, Hewett J, Lim JK. Hydroxycut hepatotoxicity: a case series and review of liver toxicity from herbal weight loss supplements. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Dec 7;14(45):6999-7004. View abstract.

Firenzuoli F, Gori L. Garcinia cambogia for weight loss. JAMA 1999;282:234; discussion 235. View abstract.

García-Cortés M, Robles-Díaz M, Ortega-Alonso A, Medina-Caliz I, Andrade RJ.

Non-Homeopathic HCG drops, however, are reliable alternatives that provide similar outcomes to injections.

Hepatotoxicity by Dietary Supplements: A Tabular Listing and Clinical Characteristics. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Apr 9;17(4):537. View abstract.

Hasegawa N. Garcinia extract inhibits lipid droplet accumulation without affecting adipose conversion in 3T3-L1 cells. Phytother Res 2001;15:172-3. View abstract.

Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, Vasselli JR, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 1998;280:1596-600. View abstract.

Ishihara K, Oyaizu S, Onuki K, Lim K, et al. Chronic (-)-hydroxycitrate administration spares carbohydrate utilization and promotes lipid oxidation during exercise in mice. J Nutr 2000;130:2990-5. View abstract.

Kovacs EM, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Saris WH. The effects of 2-week ingestion of (--)-hydroxycitrate and (--)-hydroxycitrate combined with medium-chain triglycerides on satiety, fat oxidation, energy expenditure and body weight. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2001;25:1087-94. View abstract.

Lim K, Ryu S, Nho HS, et al. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid ingestion increases fat utilization during exercise in untrained women. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 2003;49:163-167. View abstract.

Lopez AM, Kornegay J, Hendrickson RG. Serotonin Toxicity Associated with Garcinia cambogia Over-the-counter Supplement. J Med Toxicol. 2014 Apr 4. [Epub ahead of print]. View abstract.

Mansi IA, Huang J. Rhabdomyolysis in response to weight-loss herbal medicine. Am J Med Sci 2004;327:356-357. View abstract.

Marquez F, Babio N, Bullo M, Salas-Salvado J. Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of hydroxycitric acid or Garcinia cambogia extracts in humans. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2012;52:585-94. View abstract.

Mattes RD, Bormann L. Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables. Physiol Behav 2000;71:87-94. View abstract.

Melendez-Rosado J, Snipelisky D, Matcha G, Stancampiano F. Acute hepatitis induced by pure Garcinia cambogia. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2015 May-Jun;49(5):449-50. View abstract.

Preuss HG, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, et al. Effects of a natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX plus niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract on weight loss. Diabetes Obes Metab 2004;6:171-180. View abstract.

Rashid NN, Grant J. Hydroxycut hepatotoxicity. Med J Aust. 2010 Feb 1;192(3):173-4. View abstract.

Schaller JL. Garcinia cambogia for weight loss. JAMA 1999;282:234; discussion 235. View abstract.

Sharma T, Wong L, Tsai N, Wong RD. Hydroxycut(®) (herbal weight loss supplement) induced hepatotoxicity: a case report and review of literature. Hawaii Med J. 2010 Aug;69(8):188-90. View abstract.

Soni MG, Burdock GA, Preuss HG, et al. Safety assessment of (-)-hydroxycitric acid and Super CitriMax, a novel calcium/potassium salt. Food Chem Toxicol 2004;42:1513-29. View abstract.

Stevens T, Qadri A, Zein NN. Two patients with acute liver injury associated with use of the herbal weight-loss supplement hydroxycut. Ann Intern Med 2005;142:477-8. View abstract.

Vasques CA, Schneider R, Klein-Júnior LC, et al. Hypolipemic effect of Garcinia Cambogia in obese women. Phytother Res 2014;28(6):887-91. View abstract.

Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Kovacs EMR. The effect of (-)-hydroxycitrate on energy intake and satiety in overweight humans. Int J Obesity 2002;26:870-2. View abstract.

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.

The good news is that the medical community is actively researching Garcinia cambogia.

The extract contains the acid Hydroxycitric Acid or HCA, which is the key ingredient to weight loss.

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. 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.

If you are somebody who struggles to lose weight through just diet and exercise, this supplement is worth a try.

(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. 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.

Garcinia Cambogia is not recommended during pregnancy because using this supplement at this period would expose the unborn or new-born child to drastic effects.

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. 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: Weight-Loss Supplement May Be Toxic to Some

By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, Staff Writer

Published: 04/28/2014 10:37 AM EDT on LiveScience

The use of Garcinia cambogia, a popular weight-loss supplement, may pose health risks to people who are taking certain antidepressants, a recent case report suggests.

Last year in Oregon, a 35-year-old woman who had been taking Garcinia cambogia supplements for two or three months while also taking an antidepressant started stuttering and sweating profusely.

Suppresses Emotional Eating Binge eating leads to fast weight gain because you are consuming food that are unhealthy such as sweets and processed food.

In the emergency room of a local hospital, the medical staff noted that the woman's heart rate and blood pressure were high, and that she had also developed foot clonus, involuntary muscle spasms that cause a person's foot to flex.

The woman's symptoms were characteristic of serotonin toxicity, a drug reaction that occurs when levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are too high. After the woman was given medication for serotonin toxicity and spent a few days at the hospital, her symptoms subsided and she eventually recovered. [14 Oddest Medical Cases]

"I am hesitant to label it [Garcinia cambogia] as a dangerous supplement, because until we see more than one case, we want to make sure that this actually is something that is going to occur," said Dr. Robert Hendrickson, one of the authors of the case report.

However, previous studies on people and animals have shown that Garcinia cambogia may, indeed, increase serotonin levels. And taking the supplement in combination with antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which also cause serotonin levels to rise, could lead to serotonin toxicity, said Hendrickson, a toxicologist at the Department of Emergency Medicine of Oregon Health and Sciences University.

Hendrickson added that, based on the animal and human data suggesting both SSRIs and Garcinia increase serotonin levels, he recommends that people who are taking an SSRI not use Garcinia, at least until further research is done. "Not because I know that it will be dangerous, but because there is a chance that it could be," he said.

"If I had a family member or a patient who was considering starting Garcinia and they were on an SSRI, I would recommend that they don't do it for now," Hendrickson told Live Science.

Garcinia cambogia, also known as tamarind, is a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit, and diet supplements made from it are touted for helping people lose weight. However, researchers have so far found only mixed results when looking at whether the supplement really helps weight loss. And one study in rats suggested that extremely high doses of Garcinia may cause testicular atrophy, and toxicity.

The woman in the case report had been previously diagnosed with serotonin toxicity while she was taking a different kind of antidepressant. At that time, she had also been taking Garcinia for a month or two, but she didn't tell the doctor who prescribed her antidepressant that she had also been taking the weight-loss supplement, Hendrickson said.

Therefore, her doctor attributed her first case of serotonin toxicity to her first antidepressant, and switched her to another one. Then, she developed her second case of toxicity, for which Hendrickson saw her.

"The question is whether this person was uniquely susceptible to this problem, or if this is a bigger problem," Hendrickson said. "And I suspect, over the next year or two, if this is a bigger problem — given the number of people taking Garcinia — we will see if there are a lot more people with this toxicity."

The researchers said they cannot be absolutely sure that it was, indeed, the use of Garcinia that caused the patient to develop serotonin toxicity. Another potential, but less likely, trigger of the reaction, could have been the SSRI that she had been taking. Moreover, it is also possible that although the supplement she was taking was labeled as Garcinia, it might not have contained the supplement, but rather some other substance, Hendrickson said.

"There is a big difference between a pharmaceutical, like a medication, and a supplement," Hendrickson said. Medications are highly regulated. "Supplements, on the other hand, are completely unregulated," he said. Whereas people can be relatively certain that a bottle of medication contains the ingredients that it is supposed to contain, the same cannot be said about supplements. [Aspirin to Zoloft: How 4 Common Medicines Work]

"There is no regulatory agency that's watching that says that you had to test it and prove that there is Garcinia in it," Hendrickson said, adding that there is also currently no way to test whether a certain pill really contains Garcinia or not.

Previous research has shown that some supplements did not contain the herbs or other substances that their bottles said they contained. Moreover, there have also been instances in which other substances sold as supplements contained pharmaceutical agents, Hendrickson said.

For instance, valerian root supplement pills that are sold as an herbal sleep aid have been found to contain valium, as it was cheaper for the pill manufacturer to use the drug than the herb, he said.

However, most capsules labeled Garcinia likely do include Garcinia, Hendrickson said. And because previous studies have shown that Garcinia causes a serotonin increase, it is quite likely that this also occurred in the case discussed in the study, the researchers said.

The study was published online April 4 in the Journal of Medical Toxicology.