Garcinia cambogia science facts
Other names for this fruit include brindleberry, Malabar tamarind, and kudam puli.
7 Amazing Garcinia Cambogia Benefits – Weight Loss, Stress Relief
The name Garcinia cambogia has become well known across the world in recent years for its health benefits, including its ability to aid in weight loss, increase metabolism, boost energy levels, reduce stress, fight depression, lower cholesterol, and regulate blood sugar, among others.
What is Garcinia Cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is a small pumpkin-shaped fruit which is typically light green or yellowish in color. Garcinia cambogia was formerly the scientific name, but it has since been changed to Garcinia gummi-gutta. It also has a number of other common names, such as Malabar tamarind and Brindleberry.
This particular genus of plants has as many as 300 different species within it, but garcinia cambogia is the one that receives the most attention for its healthy properties. Thriving in tropical settings, this tree is primarily grown in Southeast Asia, India, and central Africa, and it is widely used in traditional recipes, as well as curries in a number of Asian countries. Various parts of the fruit and its extracts can be used for different flavor profiles, and it is also known as a traditional remedy for a wide range of afflictions.
Nutritional Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia
The active ingredient in garcinia cambogia, which makes it appealing for weight loss and health enthusiasts alike, is called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). The HCA, combined with the other nutrients and organic compounds found in the extract, do have the potential for powerful effects on the body. However, excessive consumption of the extract has also been linked to liver toxicity, so moderation is key.
Garcinia cambogia was largely unknown, but it exploded onto the international scene following claims of its miraculous effects on weight loss. Since then, it has become available all across the world, and while its proposed effects on weight loss are still hotly debated in many fitness and health fad circles, the extract of garcinia cambogia does appear to have a number of other health effects on the body that are beneficial in various ways.
Health Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia
Let’s take a closer look at some of the impressive health benefits of garcinia cambogia.
Promotes Weight Loss
Garcinia cambogia extract, often considered a miracle cure for obesity, affects weight loss in a number of ways. Firstly, the hydroxycitric acid (HCA) found in garcinia cambogia can prevent calories from being stored as fats. Certain enzymes slow down the metabolism, which is when the body “gets lazy” and starts storing calories as fat. However, HCA blocks the production of these enzymes. So instead of fat, those calories are converted into glycogen, which is necessary for building muscles.
HCA, found in garcinia cambogia, helps improve your stamina and eliminate fatigue, while also motivating you to lead a healthier lifestyle as your physical appearance begins to change.
If you want to boost your metabolism, which means even faster results in the weight-loss realm, adding garcinia cambogia to your daily routine is a wise choice. An increased metabolism means more immediate energy and less packaging of calories into adipose fat.
Many people experience fatigue and muscle weakness after they begin to shed those extra pounds. Garcinia cambogia extract can help to combat this, by giving an energetic burst that can overcome those weight-loss moments of exhaustion.
This is another way that garcinia cambogia is able to help people lose weight, which is why it is now included in dozens of different weight loss supplements and products. By suppressing the appetite, it trains the body to eat only at certain times, and in specific amounts. If you are trying to lose weight, those in-between snacks can be the hardest things to avoid, so keeping your appetite in check with this extract is very wise.
The compound HCA present in the extract has also been directly linked to regulating cortisol levels in the blood, which is one of the most common stress hormones. By reducing the level of stress hormones and controlling anxiety, this herbal supplement can help improve the health and functioning of all your organ systems, and cut down on oxidative stress throughout the body.
The organic compounds found in garcinia cambogia can act as anti-depressants by releasing serotonin into the body, which is the “satisfaction” or “pleasure” hormone. This can work as a self-fulfilling cycle. Using this herbal extract, one can lose weight, feel uplifted and encouraged, and then determined to continue on and achieve the goal. This ability to stabilize the mood is based on the effect of HCA on neurotransmitters, and the lowered levels of stress can often contribute to treating long-term depression.
The other major way that garcinia cambogia is able to help those who use it for weight loss is by optimizing the cholesterol balance in the body.
This acid possesses a potential of modulating lipid metabolism.
HCA and other compounds in this herb are able to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This will help reduce your likelihood of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes, while also lowering blood pressure and giving you more energy for your daily tasks.
Regulates Blood Sugar
For people suffering from diabetes, turning to garcinia cambogia is an excellent choice to control blood sugar levels while regulating metabolism as a complementary treatment. It can ensure that there are no unexpected drops or spikes in blood sugar, which can have terrible consequences.
Word of Caution: Again, while it can be tempting to overdo things that we know are good for us, there is still quite a bit we don’t know about garcinia cambogia. What is clear is that excessive consumption of this plant can cause liver toxicity, so even after adding it to your health regimen, it should be taken in moderation.
29 Things You Didn’t Know About Garcinia Cambogia
What do tapeworms, arsenic, vinegar, and Twinkies have in common? They’ve all been used as weight-loss aids. A supplement produced from an exotic fruit, garcinia cambogia, is the latest weight-loss craze. But the Internet and television are filled with misinformation and hype. Let’s take a look at facts about garcinia cambogia.
1. Garcinia cambogia is grown in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and parts of Africa.
2. It’s not technically called garcinia cambogia anymore. The tree has a new proper name: Garcinia gummi-gutta.
3. Other names for it are: red mango, Malabar tamarind, pot tamarind, brindal berry, gambooge, and kokum butter oil tree.
4. The fruit of the garcinia cambogia looks like a multi-lobed pumpkin, and is usually green, yellow, or red.
5. It’s normally the size of a large tomato but can grow to grapefruit size.
6. The sour flesh of the garcinia cambogia will pucker your lips. It’s often pickled and used as a condiment.
7. After it’s sun-dried and smoked, the blackened fruit, called kodampoli, gives a tart, smoky flavor to curries. It’s most common in fish curry.
8. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the seeds have a 30 percent fat content. The seeds are sometimes used as a substitute for ghee, clarified butter that’s a common ingredient in Indian food.
9. A number of health claims are made about garcinia cambogia extract. Among the conditions people use it for are: diabetes, cancer, ulcers, diarrhea, and constipation.
10. Its biggest claim to fame is that extract supplements can help speed up weight loss, reduce appetite, and boost exercise endurance.
11. Garcinia cambogia contains a compound called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) that may inhibit an enzyme that helps your body store fat. Theoretically, the fat would instead be burned as calories.
12. Allegedly, garcinia cambogia can increase the levels of the neurotransmitter, serotonin — a feel-good messenger in your body. This may enhance your mood and reduce stress-related eating.
13. The first rigorous research on the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia was conducted in 1998. The study concluded that it doesn’t perform any better than a placebo when it comes to helping you lose weight.
14. A 2011 research review showed that it can cause short-term weight loss, but the effect was small and the studies were flawed.
15. Garcinia cambogia can be found in Hydroxycut. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer warning in 2009 cautioning consumers to immediately stop using Hydroxycut products after reports of jaundice and extreme liver damage in people who used Hydroxycut surfaced.
16. Other health problems associated with Hydroxycut included seizures, cardiovascular disorders, and rhabdomyolysis. However, because Hydroxycut contains many ingredients, it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause.
17. A study from Japan found that rats fed high doses of garcinia cambogia lost significant fat. However, the high doses also caused testicular atrophy.
18. In 2012, pop television doc, Mehmet Oz, announced to his audience that garcinia cambogia is a revolutionary fat buster. The show’s graphics read: “No Exercise. No Diet. No Effort.”
19. In June 2014, Dr. Oz was chided for making unwarranted claims about garcinia cambogia and other products in an appearance before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security.
20. Garcinia cambogia is available in capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids.
11 Flavonoids from the plant reduced lipid levels in normal and hypercholesterolemic rats.
Hepatoxicity associated with weight-loss supplements: a case for better post-marketing surveillance.
Capsules should be taken on an empty stomach, 30 minutes to an hour before a meal.
21. According to ConsumerLab.com, many garcinia cambogia supplements don’t contain the amount of garcinia cambogia listed on the label. Instead, they found the doses were either too low or too high. If you take the capsules, buy a reputable brand and make sure they contain at least 50 percent HCA.
22. Most garcinia cambogia supplements also contain other ingredients, some of which might not be listed.
23. When it comes to a recommended dose, most sources provide the recommended dose of HCA rather than garcinia cambogia itself. According to ConsumerLab.com, the recommended dose of garcinia cambogia is 900 mg to 1,500 mg of HCA a day. This is consistent with doses used in a number of studies.
24. Side effects of garcinia cambogia may include: headache, nausea, dizziness, and dry mouth.
25. It isn’t known if garcinia cambogia is safe during pregnancy or while you’re breastfeeding, so it’s best to discontinue use of the supplement during these times.
26. Garcinia cambogia may cause a decrease in blood sugar levels. People who have diabetes should discuss this with their doctor before taking the supplement.
27. People with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia should not take garcinia cambogia because it increases acetycholine levels in the brain. Many people with these conditions are given medications to lower acetycholine levels.
28. Garcinia cambogia may interfere with the following medications and supplements: iron, potassium, calcium, antidepressants, statins, montelukast (Singulair), and warfarin (Coumadin).
29. As with other nutritional supplements, keep in mind that garcinia cambogia is not monitored by the FDA for safety and effectiveness.
Garcinia Cambogia – Hydroxycitric Acid Extract For Weight Loss?
Up until October 28th, 2012, few people around the world knew about ‘garcinia cambogia' and would have lost first round of a national spelling bee if asked what it was. But thankfully there is always hope for tomorrow, and for garcinia, the future would get much brighter.
Remembering the day so clearly, being October 29, 2012 – when Doctor OZ's Garcinia Cambogia extract episode airing for no more than 6 minutes became a world-wide sensation and phenom in a matter of New-York marketing minutes – fast forward from Oct 28 to Oct 29 to 2017; this is our assembled garcinia story of facts, figures and semi-unfortunate fallacies surrounding the most popular diet pill, phrase and product ever created…
Origins Of Garcinia (Malabar Tamarind/Gummi-Gutta)
Garcinia Cambogia is one of the most controversial dietary nutrition supplements in the world today. Some people swear a pure extract of Garcinia Cambogia is an extremely effective weight loss tool and appetite suppressant – and others, not so much reporting negative side effects galore like dry mouth, dizziness, toxicity and stomach aches – but for us, no matter where on the scale of effectiveness and results, it was only the start of the surface level conversation as most of hard to swallow at face value heresay is based on a 5 to 6 minute video clip produced by Dr Oz TV Show (much like forskolin).
So what’s the real one-size-fits-all truth about Garcinia Cambogia HCA extract and its potential weight loss qualities? What does science have to say about this unique malabar tamarind tropical plant?
Today, we’re going to round up every updated 2016 and 2017 credible medical science resource we can find has to say about the facts vs fiction of garcinia cambogia extract for weight loss and natural appetite suppressant.
What is Garcinia Cambogia?
Although the term “Garcinia cambogia” is no longer used by the scientific community, it’s the primary term used by the nutritional supplement community. Other names for this fruit include brindleberry, Malabar tamarind, and kudam puli.
The Garcinia cambogia fruit itself looks like a small pumpkin. It typically features a greenish, pale yellow color and has wrinkled, grooved skin. In terms of size, it’s somewhere between an orange and grapefruit.
Today, Garcinia cambogia is grown for its fruit in tropical climates around the world, including Southeast Asia, south India, and west and central Africa. That fruit is used in cooking and is especially popular in curries.
History of Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia cambogia is a relatively new trend in the dietary supplement community. However, it’s been well-known in the traditional medicine community for quite some time.
For thousands of years, Garcinia cambogia remained relatively unknown.
This is why a lot of experts push for more physical activities, as burning fats can be quite challenging.
But in 2012, the trajectory of Garcinia cambogia changed forever when world-famous TV personality Dr. Oz claimed that Garcinia cambogia could be used for natural weight loss with “no diet or exercise” required.
Since 2012, a number of scientific reports have been published examining the effectiveness of Garcinia cambogia and its rumored health benefits.
The weight loss claims of Garcinia cambogia have faced a lot of criticism, and we’ll take a look at the rumored weight loss benefits of Garcinia cambogia below.
Health Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia
Those who support Garcinia cambogia claim that it has been linked to a number of powerful health benefits.
Now, there are two different types of health benefits of Garcinia cambogia.
However, many of the weight loss benefits of Garcinia cambogia are said to come from the rind of the fruit, which contains a compound called hydroxycitric acid (HCA).
Ultimately, the rumored health benefits of garcinia cambogia include:
- Weight Loss
- Appetite Suppression
- Reduced Risk Of Heart Disease And Better Cardiovascular Health
- Reduced Risk Of Diabetes
- Reduced Fat Buildup And Reduced Abdominal Fat
- Better Metabolism
- Reduced Risk Of Ulcers
- Healthier Digestion
These are the rumored health benefits of Garcinia cambogia. Below, we’ll see if any of those health benefits come with real scientific evidence.
Scientific Evidence for Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia cambogia hasn’t been extensively studied. However, the studies on Garcinia cambogia that have been published have demonstrated mixed results. Instead of telling you whether or not Garcinia cambogia works, I’m going to summarize the scientific studies on Garcinia cambogia below:
In 1998, a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This study was published in response to a flurry of promising reports on HCA, the active ingredient in Garcinia cambogia.
Unfortunately for HCA supporters, the 1998 study showed that “Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo.” 1
The study took place over 12 weeks and involved a total of 135 subjects. Some of the subjects took HCA, while others took a placebo. By the end of the 12 week period, the HCA group had not exhibited a statistically significant difference in terms of percentage body fat loss or weight loss.
Some thought this would be the end of HCA as a dietary supplement. But other studies have offered conflicting results.
Criticisms Of This Study
One of the main criticisms of this study comes from Harry Preuss, a researcher at Georgetown University who claims that the JAMA study “used whatever the dose was at the time, and they never mentioned the type of citrate they used.” In other words, they may have been using the wrong HCA.
Additionally, others have criticized this study for its heavy use of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is thought to interfere with HCA, which could have inhibited weight loss in the HCA group.
In 2003, Japanese researchers published a study in Fitoterapia. This study examined the effects of Garcinia cambogia extract on mice over a period of 4 weeks.
The research concluded by stating that treatment “was found to have no effect on body weight, fat pad weight, or serum glucose level.”
However, Garcinia cambogia was shown to have other physiological effects. Treated mice displayed lower levels of serum insulin and leptin, for example, as well as a lower ratio of leptin/WAT.
This led researchers to conclude that “G. cambogia extract efficiently improved glucose metabolism and displayed leptin-like activity.”
Dr. Preuss, the guy we just motioned above, decided to lead his own study on HCA. Dr. Preuss’s study involved 30 “healthy but overweight people” between the ages of 21 and 50. The study took place over an 8 week period. 2
Dr. Preuss and his team found some surprising results. All of the subjects were told to consume a diet of 2,000 calories per day and walked for half an hour five days per week.
One group was given Super CitriMax, a patented form of HCA bound with calcium and potassium. The other group was given a placebo.
By the end of the 8 week period, the placebo group had lost an average of 3 pounds. However, the HCA group had lost an average of 12 pounds – a 400% difference.
Additionally, the HCA group saw their BMI fall by an average of 6.3% compared to the placebo group’s average of 1.7%.
Another interesting effect of the study was that the HCA group saw their serotonin levels double compared to the placebo group.
Vorsicht vor gefälschten Erfahrungen und Berichten Neben den Verfehlungen der Anbieter sorgt zu allem Überfluss eine Schar an Marketingspezialisten mit unzähligen Garcinia Cambogia Erfahrungen und Testberichten auf falschen Ratgeberseiten und Magazinen für stetige Besucherzahlen.
Additionally, the HCA group had a 16% reduction in the amount of food they ate per meal, compared to no change with the placebo group.
Like all good researchers, Dr. Preuss tried to replicate his results in a follow-up study. That follow-up study involved more subjects (60 people in total, double the original study) and came to similar conclusions.
In this study, the HCA group lost an average of 10.5 pounds compared to the placebo group, which lost an average of 3.5 pounds.
Once again, in this study, the placebo group had no change in appetite, but the HCA group reported a 16% reduction in the amount of food consumed per meal.
Dr. Preuss also has his name attached to a 2005 research report on Garcinia cambogia and hydroxycitric acid. This time, Dr. Preuss collaborated with five other doctors to discuss the powerful health benefits of HCA. 3
Specifically, researchers demonstrated that HCA was much more effective when bound to certain other compounds. Naturally, HCA is bound to calcium, which reduces its bioavailability. Calcium is found naturally in Garcinia cambogia. So if you were to just eat the rind of Garcinia cambogia fruit, you would be eating HCA bound to calcium.
But when HCA is bound to salt, it makes the compound water-soluble, increasing its bioavailability. This compound is called HCA-SX, also known by its trademarked name, Super CitriMax.
When taken in the form of HCA-SX, this compound was shown to “increase serotonin availability, reduce appetite, increase fat oxidation, improve blood lipid levels, reduce body weight, and modulate a number of obesity regulatory genes without affecting the mitochondrial and nuclear proteins required for normal biochemical and physiological functions.”
In other words, this report demonstrated HCA had all of the powerful weight loss benefits it was rumored to have – with no major side effects. You just had to bind the compound to salt.
We can make a few broad conclusions about Garcinia cambogia from the studies listed above.
— First, we can conclude that hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is the most active ingredient within Garcinia cambogia and the one most intimately connected with weight loss.
Yes, there are other ingredients in Garcinia cambogia, including calcium, phosphorus, iron, and thiamine, but none of these ingredients are available in high enough doses to compete with the benefits provided by HCA.
— Second, we can conclude that HCA is not very effective when taken on its own. HCA is naturally bound to the calcium within Garcinia cambogia. This reduces bioavailability by at least 50%. This is thought to be the reason why many early studies on HCA failed to produce significant weight loss results.
— Third, we can conclude that, based on at least three separate studies, HCA is most effective when bound with salt, creating HCA-SX. HCA-SX has been clinically shown to promote weight loss, better metabolism, and reduced appetite.
— Fourth, we can conclude that more research needs to be done on Garcinia cambogia before any of these benefits can be definitively proven true. The early evidence of favor of Garcinia cambogia is positive. In several studies, participants have lost a significant amount of weight while taking Garcinia cambogia extract while also experiencing powerful appetite suppression effects.
The good news is that the medical community is actively researching Garcinia cambogia. We should know more about this unique tropical plant in the near future.
Why Garcinia Cambogia Supplements Can Be Dangerous
Garcinia cambogia supplements can actually be dangerous. Today, there are hundreds of shady internet companies selling Garcinia cambogia extract online. The vast majority of these products are totally unregulated and have not been approved by any regulatory body in the world – like the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
One of the problems with the FDA is that it regulates foods and drugs. For some bizarre reason, the FDA has decided that “supplements” are neither foods nor drugs, so it chooses to ignore the supplement industry.
That’s why Americans can purchase virtually any supplement they want online. That’s also why buying supplements online can be so dangerous.
Garcinia cambogia supplements, in many cases, contain very little Garcinia cambogia. Instead, they contain trace amounts of G. cambogia extract along with high levels of caffeine and other filler ingredients.
Ultimately, pure Garcinia cambogia extract has demonstrated some surprising benefits in clinical testing. However, you need to be careful where you buy from and which manufacturers you work with.
It’s All About How You Take It
The information listed above isn’t designed to scare you away from Garcinia cambogia.
It’s safe to say that they really trying to help the consumer and not just pushing to make a sale.
It’s meant to educate you about one central concept:
The effectiveness of Garcinia cambogia depends entirely on how you take it.
In all of the successful clinical tests on Garcinia cambogia extract (HCA), participants were instructed to exercise and eat a healthy diet while restricting their caloric intake. Both the placebo groups and HCA groups in these studies lost weight, but the HCA groups consistently lost more weight and experienced powerful appetite suppression along with other health benefits.
This has led many to conclude that Garcinia cambogia is a powerful weight loss and appetite suppression tool, but it works especially well if you’re using Garcinia cambogia to complement an existing diet or exercise routine.
Will Garcinia cambogia help you lose weight without diet or exercise? Probably not.
But if you maintain a healthy diet and take the recommended dose of Garcinia cambogia per day, you may be able to lose more weight than someone who is eating the same diet and maintains the same exercise routine as you – at least according to current clinical studies.
How to Use Garcinia Cambogia
If you’re taking Garcinia cambogia for its weight loss benefits and appetite suppression effects, it’s recommended you find a Garcinia cambogia supplement with at least 50% hydroxycitric acid (HCA).
Typically, Garcinia cambogia comes in capsule form. When taking Garcinia cambogia capsules, you should take the capsules 30 to 60 minutes before each meal with a glass of water. The recommended dose is between 500mg to 1000mg, so you may need to take multiple capsules.
You should not eat or drink anything for 15 minutes after taking Garcinia cambogia in capsule form. This enhances bioavailability.
Repeat the above dose before every meal of the day.
You can also find Garcinia cambogia in liquid form. If you’re taking Garcinia cambogia as a liquid, you should place one serving under your tongue 10 minutes prior to eating a meal. Most Garcinia cambogia liquid supplements consider one serving to be 1ml, which works out to about 20 drops.
Just like with the capsule form, you should not eat or drink anything for 15 minutes after ingesting Garcinia cambogia in order to enhance bioavailability. You should also repeat the above dose before every meal of the day.
Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects
In clinical studies, Garcinia cambogia has proven to be a safe, well-tolerated oral supplement. Patients have exhibited no serious effects when taking Garcinia cambogia for up to 12 continuous weeks (which is the maximum length of studies performed so far).
Participants have reported some minor side effects from Garcinia cambogia, including nausea, digestive tract discomfort, and headaches.
If you’re experiencing painful side effects after ingesting Garcinia cambogia, then it’s probably not Garcinia cambogia that’s causing the problems. Instead, it’s the shady, low-quality pharmaceutical companies adding dangerous filler ingredients to their formulations.
Conclusion: Is Garcinia Cambogia Right for You?
Garcinia cambogia has an unfair reputation as a dietary supplement “scam”.
Unfortunately, that reputation comes from low-quality Garcinia cambogia extract manufacturers, many of which try to pass off dangerous caffeine-based formulations as some type of Garcinia cambogia extract.
In clinical settings, Garcinia cambogia has proven to be an effective weight loss and appetite suppression tool in at least three major studies. These studies relied on the active ingredient within Garcinia cambogia, hydroxycitric acid (HCA).
When you buy Garcinia cambogia extract supplements, pick a supplement with at least 50% HCA content. Buy from trusted manufacturers and trusted online sources.
Ultimately, the best Garcinia cambogia results have come from combining the supplement with diet and exercise.
Garcinia cambogia is not a miracle pill that will help you lose weight while eating pizza on the couch all day.
But when taken properly and intelligently, Garcinia cambogia and HCA can lead to some surprising weight loss results.
1. Heymsfield SB, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1596-600.
2. Preuss HG, et al. Efficacy of a novel, natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX, niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract in weight management in human volunteers: a pilot study. Nutrition Research. 2004 Jan; 24(1); 45-58
3. Preuss, HG, et al., Effects of a natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (CHA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX plus niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract on weight loss.