Garcinia cambogia safe with antidepressants

Garcinia cambogia safe with antidepressants
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Issue 7, 2012.

Garcinia Cambogia: Weight-Loss Supplement May Be Toxic to Some

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. 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.

Simeons began experimenting with the weight-loss properties of hCG injections in 1930.

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.

With a calorie restricted diet, less fat is formed and the carbohydrates are efficiently burned off.

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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.

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. 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.

The effect of (-)-hydroxycitrate on energy intake and satiety in overweight humans.

"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.

The second way that it works is by sending signals to the brain that release more serotonin, our happy hormone, and this happiness stops us craving stress foods like sugar, carbs and salty foods and could have a positive impact on appetite suppression.

[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.

Garcinia Cambogia Supplement Can Be Toxic

Garcinia Cambogia is being sold in supplement form and is being touted as a weight loss miracle. It reportedly can help people lose a good deal of weight over a short period of time. Used with caution, it can provide impressive results, but as with any weight loss supplement, garcinia cambogia can be dangerous if used improperly. In fact, it can be toxic in some cases. It is specifically problematic when used with antidepressants.

A study was published in the April edition of the Journal of Medical Toxicology detailing the risk of serotonin toxicity associated with the combined use of garcinia cambogia and antidepressants. The weight loss supplement has shown to be toxic for those taking an antidepressant, which results in an abnormally high level of serotonin.

Dr. Robert Hendrickson, from the Department of Emergency Medicine of Oregon Health and Science University, is a toxicologist who confirmed that the combination of antidepressants that are designed to raise the feel good hormone serotonin levels with the garcinia cambogia supplement that also works to increase serotonin. The result is too much of a good thing. Serotonin toxicity may involve muscle spams, stuttering, excessive sweating, confusion, nausea, diarrhea, a rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure.

While this occurs, more carbohydrate calories can be stored as glycogen that can be used for energy production and less carbohydrate calories are converted to fat for storage.

Though serotonin is naturally produced by the brain and is a necessary hormone, too much of it can actually be fatal.

Due to the fact that supplements are not regulated by the FDA the same way that tradition prescription medicines are, there is no way to tell if a person is actually consuming the ingredients listed on the bottle’s label or some other medication or filler. These other ingredients may also interfere with prescription medicines and lead to toxicity.

Garcinia cambogia is a small round fruit that is shaped like a pumpkin. The rind of the fruit contains hydroxycitric acid and it is used to prevent fat storage. It is known to help people feel full longer so they do not overeat and it promotes lean muscle mass, which also helps burn fat and transform how the body looks. Because the supplement contains serotonin, it also helps improve mood, thus curbing the need for emotional eating. The extract gained national attention in 2012 when Dr. Oz brought discussed its benefits on one of his shows.

Though the weight loss supplement can cause nausea and headaches, according to WebMD, it is deemed safe for the most part, as long as it is taken as directed. It is recommended for short-term use for up to 12 weeks. It is not recommended for pregnant women and there has not been a definitive study that proves its effectiveness.

More research is needed to determine if the toxic level of serotonin is actually due to the combination of garcinia cambogia and antidepressants or if a particular antidepressant is responsible for the toxicity. Meanwhile, Dr. Hendrickson states that he is hesitant to label the weight loss supplement as “dangerous,” but it should be used with caution, especially when used along with prescription drugs. It is important to report the use of garcinia cambogia to the physician responsible for administering prescription drugs to avoid possible interactions and toxic levels of serotonin.

Journal of Medical Toxicology

Garcinia Cambogia Supplement Can Be Toxic added by Tracy Rose on April 29, 2014