Is garcinia cambogia any good

Is garcinia cambogia any good
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Garcinia Cambogia: Safe for Weight Loss?

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

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.

31 , 32 Antiulcer activity was observed against induced gastric mucosal injury in rats with pretreatment of G.

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. 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.

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Preuss, H. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research, February 2005. "Garcinia (hydroxycitric acid)."

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

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

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Medscape: "Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists."

The Truth About Garcinia Cambogia

If you ask me, there's really only one way to lose weight and keep it off, and that's to adopt a healthy lifestyle. That includes eating nutritious meals and exercising daily.

But there are plenty of marketers out there would vehemently disagree – because magic pills make money. Acai berry, green tea extract and capsaicin all had their time in the spotlight.

But, let's explore a supplement that has exploded on the weight loss scene more recently: Garcinia cambogia.

Garcinia cambogia is a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit.

Lose up to 10 lbs Order 2 bottles and get 1 bottle FREE($33.00 each, $99.95 total)!

This means that for garcinia cambogia to be effective in helping with weight loss, you must change your daily habits in order to fully absorb all the benefits.

You may know it as tamarind. The extract of the fruit is called hydroxycitric acid, and that is what the "magic pills" are made from. But do they work? [9 Meal Schedules: When to Eat to Lose Weight]

Let's explore the research:

1998 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: After a 12-week randomized, double-blind study of overweight men and women, researchers concluded that Garcinia cambogia did not produce significant weight or fat loss above the placebo.

2013 review in the journal Complementary Theories in Medicine: Researchers evaluated clinical trials that used plant extracts as potential treatment for obesity, and found that the evidence was not convincing in most cases. One exception was a combination of Garcinia cambogia taken with another herb called Gymnema sylvestre, which showed a slight increase in weight loss results. It's a glimmer of hope, but surely, more research needs to be done on the subject.

2005 study in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology: Researchers tested a high dose of Garcinia cambogia extract on obese male rats. The good news? The rats lost weight! The bad news? Extremely high doses seemed to cause testicular atrophy and toxicity. Yikes!

If you do decide to hop on the latest bandwagon, whether it is Garcinia cambogia or some other plant-based extract, proceed with caution. If you're talking any prescription medications, talk to your doctor before adding any herbal supplement. There may be dangerous interactions. And as researchers saw in the 2005 study on rats, there may be consequences to taking large doses. [Related: Garcinia Cambogia Supplement Often Lacks Active Ingredient, Study Finds]

Until we have more research to draw from, we can't know what is truly safe.

Healthy Bites appears weekly on LiveScience. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience.

Whether as food or drinks, the young and the old alike feast on them every single day because they are delicious and convenient too.

Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!

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.

That is true because you would likely limit or remove carbohydrates in your diet since it is one of the root causes of weight gain.

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. Capsules should be taken on an empty stomach, 30 minutes to an hour before a meal.

21. According to, many garcinia cambogia supplements don’t contain the amount of garcinia cambogia listed on the label.

Both types of teas use a combination of natural ingredients such as peppermint, guarana fruit, yerba mate, green tea and more.

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, 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.