The truth about garcinia cambogia extract

The truth about garcinia cambogia extract
When you’re satisfied with your very first bites, the easier for you to eat less because you’ll feel that you’ve already had enough to eat.

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. 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.

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."

Don’t believe the LIES about Garcinia Cambogia

Popular, but…

For more than a decade Garcinia Cambogia has been included in various weight loss products, but exploded in popularity in 2012 when Dr Julie Chen talked about it on the Dr Oz TV show.

Unfortunately, there is an avalanche of faulty information about Garcinia Cambogia on the web that we attempt to clean up here.

What The Research Says?

Several studies on rats have demonstrated significant weight loss, belly fat reduction, and lowered blood glucose levels (4, 5, 6).

We looked at all the randomized, double-blind clinical studies on humans.

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.

Some we excluded were either too short (2 weeks), used too small a dose, or had other flaws such as a low fat, high carb diet which researchers believe had a negative impact on the results.

This chart shows the results from the most relevant clinical studies on Garcinia Cambogia, encompassing 307 participants (7,8,9,10).

All of these were Double Blind,Randomized Controlled Trials, with subjects given Garcinia Cambogia or Placebo over 8-12 weeks.

The average for these 4 studies was 4.1 pounds lost vs 1.7 for those taking Placebo.

It should be noted that studies #3 and 4 used the highest dosages of 2800 mg daily, and showed the greatest amount of weight loss compared to placebo.

Studies #1 and 2 showed the least amount of weight loss benefit, and also used the lowest amount of Garcinia Cambogia, at 1200 mg per day.

Conclusion: The average for the 4 relevant clinical studies on humans showed weight loss of 3 pounds more than placebo. Studies that used higher doses of HCA recorded more weight loss.

Choose a Reputable Supplier

What brand of Garcinia Cambogia should you Buy?

You really need to read the label. Many brands are pushing inferior products. If they don’t show you the label, chances are they are trying to push you some crappy, useless stuff and don’t want you to realize it until you take it and don’t get any results.

Always Look for the HCA!

HCA, or hydroxycitric acid, is the active ingredient. You need to make sure it has at LEAST 60% HCA in it – Higher is better. Also check to make sure they don’t use a lot of added ingredients – especially if they’re hard to read, nearly impossible to pronounce ingredients.

What We Recommend

We’ve looked at all the leading brands sold on Amazon. There are several that are good, and dozens that are garbage.

Reasons why we recommend it:

  • Has 90% HCA!
  • No filler ingredients – all natural only
  • 600mg per capsule
  • Has been PROVEN to be effective
  • Has NO additives, fillers and other low-quality ingredients

Garcinia Cambogia

90% HCA 600 mg 90 V-caps

Garcinia Cambogia (3pk)

90% HCA 600 mg 90 V-caps

Pharmaceutical Companies Hate Garcinia Cambogia

According to this article in Washington Post, it cost between $800 million and $2.6 BILLION to bring a new prescription drug to market.

Once they start clinical trials, the pharmaceutical company only has 20 years of patent protection to recoup that cost, so they have to charge exorbitant prices to make that back and pay their shareholders a good return on their investment.

Of course they don’t want potential customers to think a natural product that cost a tiny fraction of what they charge can be effective at all.

Hence pharmaceutical manufacturers often fund research studies they hope will cast the competition in a bad light. A few million dollars to fund a study on a competitor is nothing compared to the billions it cost to develop a drug.

For example, this meta-review that examines existing clinical studies on Garcinia Cambogia is funded by GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of the prescription weight loss pill Orlistat, marketed under the name Alli.

For reference, Alli cost $60 for 120 capsules! The literature claims it can block 25% of the fat you eat from being absorbed.

Not surprisingly, the research they pay for often finds mixed results, with some studies showing positive effects for Garcinia Cambogia and some not.

The academic editor for that meta review was also the lead author for a few of the studies that found Garcinia to be ineffective. He also was the lead author for several studies that showed positive results for Orlistat (1,2,3).

Conclusion: Big Pharma spends hundreds of millions of $$$ funding research to cast doubt on the effectiveness of natural weight loss products like Garcinia Cambogia.

HOW DOES IT HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS?

Garcinia Cambogia is somewhat unique in that there are 2 pathways the HCA utilizes to help with weight loss

1. It May Help Reduce Hunger

Studies with rats have shown those given Garcinia Cambogia tend to eat less than those in the control group(11, 12).

How it works isn’t fully known, but those studies seem to indicate it increases levels of serotonin in the brain.

You are stressed about your weight and then the stress causes you to gain weight.

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

(13, 14).

Likewise, some clinical studies with humans has shown it tends promote feeling of satiety (fullness), so you eat less. (15, 16, 17, 18, 19).

Serotonin is the “feel good” hormone that promotes feelings of satisfaction and is well known to be an appetite suppressant. (20).

Those studies are in contrast to some others that found no benefit for suppressing appetite vs those given placebo. (21, 22, 23, 24). Its not clear why studies have shown such a difference and more study is needed.

Conclusion: Some studies have shown garcinia cambogia increases serotonin to suppress appetite, but there have been other studies that could not replicate this effect.

2. It May Block Fat Production and Reduce Belly Fat

The effect HCA has on fatty acids in the bloodstream is the most important factor in its ability to aid weight loss.

Human and animal studies has shown HCA helps lower levels of triglycerides in the blood, reducing the oxidative stress throughout the body. (25, 26, 27, 28, 28).

It is even more attractive as a weight loss aid as it helps reduce belly. (29).

Another study gave moderately obese individuals 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia daily for eight weeks (30).

After completion, participants had dramatically lower markers of metabolic disease such as:

  • 6.3% LOWER Total cholesterol levels
  • 12.3% LOWER LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol levels
  • 10.7% HIGHER HDL (the “good”) cholesterol levels
  • 8.6% LOWER Blood triglycerides

This is due to the inhibition of the enzyme citrate lyase, which signals the production of fat in the body (32, 33, 34, 35, 36).

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 (37).

Conclusion: 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.

OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS

Animal and test-tube studies suggest that garcinia cambogia may also have some anti-diabetic effects, including (38, 39, 40):

  • 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 (41, 42).

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

Conclusion:Garcinia Cambogia may help lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity to combat diabetes

Side Effects

Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)

Garcinia Cambogia is recognized as GRAS by the FDA, meaning it has

been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use.

There have been several studies to test the effectiveness of these products and in these controlled quantities there were no significant side effects.

This meta-analysis examined all published research on Garcinia Cambogia, and found garcinia to be free from any major side effects when taken at dosages up to 2800 mgs per day (with 60% HCA)

At least 15 clinical studies involving approximately 900 patients document mild adverse reactions. Most adverse reactions included headache, dizziness, dry mouth, and GI complaints such as nausea and diarrhea.

Who Should Not Take

GARCINIA CAMBOGIA?

It IS safe for most people. But there are a few cases where you wouldn’t want to take it:

Garcinia Cambogia boosts serotonin levels in the brain (which triggers the satisfied, full feeling that helps suppress appetite).

For this reason, it is not advised for patients with neurological disorders such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons, or other forms of dementia.

DOSAGE AND WHEN TO TAKE IT

Dr Harry Preuss is a researcher and pathologist at Georgetown University past president of the American College of Nutrition who has led 2 of the studies on HCA that showed the best results (43,44).

You have to take the right dose of the right product, and you have to take it properly.

– Dr Harry Preuss

The 4 studies that were included in the meta-analysis referenced above noted that 1 to 2.8 grams daily were used in testing, and that 2.8 grams seemed more effective (45)

Different studies that have been performed to focus on side effects found no major side effects at dosages up to 2.8 grams daily (46).

Dosage recommendations from those studies are:

  • 500 to 1000mg capsules
  • 70% or higher HCA
  • 3 times a day
  • 30-60 minutes before meals
  • taken with 8 ounces of water

70% HCA means that the manufacturer has standardized the extract to be 70% Hydroxycitric Acid by volume.

50-60% was the highest purity commercially available until recently, so has been the standard used for testing.

The higher percentage provides more total HCA per capsule, but is not more effective otherwise.

In other words, the higher HCA % is not “better”, you just need less of it.

For proper dosage, you should lower the quantity if you use a product with HCA % higher than the 60% used in studies.

For example, the maximum recommended dosage of 3 grams per day of a 60% HCA product would yield 1800 mg of pure HCA – the same as 2 grams of 90% HCA.

**** DAILY MAXIMUM RECOMMENDED DOSAGE ****

3,000 mg x 60% HCA = 1800mg pure HCA

2,000 mg x 90% HCA = 1800mg pure HCA

With any popular diet product, there are lots of scams that sell crappy product at ridiculous prices, and some that disappear with your money.

It is becoming more common now with Garcinia, so beware, and read some of our reviews of brands like Ultra, Extreme, Purely Inspired, Miracle, Whole Body, Natural, and Pure Garcinia Cambogia.

Amazon is super convenient, and great at making sure you get what you order.

You want to take a capsule with a minimum of 60% HCA.

But they don’t do anything to ensure the quality of a product.

Any brand that just popped up yesterday and will be gone tomorrow is NOT concerned with quality.

DR OZ WARNS ABOUT FAKE PRODUCTS

There are now dozens of new “Brands” of Garcinia Cambogia sold on Amazon that just make up a name and throw a label on some garbage product. And, they LIE about what is in the bottle!

The following quote is directly from the Dr Oz website where they warn about such deceptive marketing.

Sold Only On Web? Beware!

Our experience at ConsumerLab.com with herbal weight loss supplement suggests that you are more likely to get a bad product if it is sold only on web. Products sold in stores can also have problems (we have uncovered many), but this is less likely, probably because there is an extra layer of scrutiny by stores when deciding what they will carry, and the consequences of selling a bad product may be greater, for example, for a national retail chain, than a small web business. Products sold in mail catalogs also tend to have fewer problems than those sold only on the web. If you’re interested a supplement sold exclusively online, be particularly careful.

This doesn’t mean all products sold on Amazon are bad. It just warns that products sold ONLY on Amazon are a much higher risk for being very poor quality.

Conclusion: Beware any Brand or Product that is sold exclusively online and not in a brick in mortar store. Those that exist only on Amazon and do not even have a website of their own are very likely to sell a very poor quality product.

Choose a Reputable Supplier

What brand of Garcinia Cambogia should you Buy?

You really need to read the label. Many brands are pushing inferior products. If they don’t show you the label, chances are they are trying to push you some crappy, useless stuff and don’t want you to realize it until you take it and don’t get any results.

Always Look for the HCA!

HCA, or hydroxycitric acid, is the active ingredient. You need to make sure it has at LEAST 60% HCA in it – Higher is better. Also check to make sure they don’t use a lot of added ingredients – especially if they’re hard to read, nearly impossible to pronounce ingredients.

What We Recommend

We’ve looked at all the leading brands sold on Amazon. There are several that are good, and dozens that are garbage.

Fat-Loss Hope Or Hype: The Truth About Garcinia Cambogia

Some say it's hyped, but others say it's just misunderstood. Hear from the researcher behind the most important studies and make your own decision!

Garcinia cambogia, also known as the Malabar tamarind, is a small, sweet tropical tree fruit shaped like a pumpkin. In the late 1960s, scientists discovered an acid in the fruit somewhat similar to the citric acid found in fruits like oranges and lemons.

That acid—called hydroxycitric acid, or HCA—has ridden a rollercoaster ride of popularity over the last 20 years. It is alternately touted as a miracle weight loss supplement and derided as effective only in rats.

So where is the ride at now? Since late 2012, HCA has taken a steady ascent, and people around the world chat about "garcinia" like that's the name of their new personal trainer. (For the record, garcinia cambogia, hydroxycitic acid, and HCA all refer to the same thing. I'll stick primarily to HCA here to keep it simple). It can feel like anyone with even a passing interest in supplements has gotten asked by a small army of friends, loved ones, and cab drivers: "Is garcinia legit?"

So . is it? Knowing what I know now, this question sounds a little like asking, "Is a hammer legit?" It depends on the hammer and the person swinging it, right? So here's the deal: HCA isn't a miracle; it's a tool. Anyone who has ever suffered the indignity of smashing their finger with a hammer can attest that tools only work when you know what to do with them and then follow through on that knowledge.

Luckily, in recent years we've learned a lot about not only what HCA supplements do in the body, but also how you can make the most of them. Here's what you need to know about this blockbuster fat-loss supplement.

HCA's Early Promise

HCA got its first taste of widespread popularity back in the '90s, after a number of studies concluded that it causedВ weight lossВ in animals.

But the problem is that weight loss is just temporary, as mentioned earlier.

One thing we know is that HCA blocks a portion of an enzyme called citrate lyase, which helps turn sugars and starches into fat.

Block that enzyme, and carbohydrates get diverted into energy production rather than accumulating as body fat. Then, when you burn fat through effective training, there's less to replace it, and your overall fat level goes down.

HCA also seems to have an ability to help suppress the appetite, but not in the same way as a stimulant-based diet pill. Rather, it increases the level of satiety—satisfaction you receive from food—making it easier to eat less. The mechanism by which it achieves this isn't entirely clear yet. The late great nutritionist Shari Lieberman suggested that a metabolic change brought on by HCA may send an appetite-suppressing signal to the brain via the amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan, which is a direct precursor to the so-called "happy hormone," serotonin. Given that subsequent studies have shown elevated serotonin levels in subjects who took HCA supplements, she was likely on to something.

With these two impressive bullet points in its favor, HCA seemed on the verge of the big time, but the buzz faded quickly after a large study published in 1998 in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that it had "no effect" on human subjects.[1]

End of the line, right? Not quite. Subsequent research has produced some very different conclusions and helped convince me, among many other previously skeptical people, that HCA has real potential as a weight-loss supplement.

It's All About How You Take It

A few years after the lackluster results in the JAMA study, I had the opportunity to talk about HCA with Harry Preuss, a researcher and pathologist at Georgetown University, who saw enough to like about HCA to keep researching it after its popularity had waned. Preuss, a past president of the American College of Nutrition, told me he thought the previous studies were discouraging but not conclusive.

He decided to take a closer look. "You have to take the right dose of the right product, and you have to take it properly," he told me. "In the JAMA study, they used whatever the dose was at the time, and they never even mentioned the type of citrate they used. You have to give enough so that it reaches the sites in the body that it needs to reach." In recent years, Dr. Preuss has continued to hammer on the idea that maximizing bioavailability with HCA is crucial for its success. Fail to prioritize it, and you set yourself—or your study, in the JAMA's case—to fail.

It's an old story. Vitamin studies are often done by people who use the wrong dose or the wrong form, and then seem almost gleeful when they're able to proclaim that the supplements "don't work." Prejudice confirmed; case closed.

Dr. Preuss, who went on to lead the most promising human studies into HCA, points out that there are three different forms of hydroxycitrates: those which are blended with calcium, potassium, or magnesium salts. The reason to add these salts is to decrease the degradation of free HCA into HCA lactone, an inactive form of the compound. These salts, which are added at a 1-to-1 or higher ratio in most commercial HCA supplements, also help your body more easily absorb the hydroxycitrate.

"If you have almost a pure calcium hydroxycitrate, it's just not going to work," he told me. He said he prefers hydroxycitrate that is bound to both calcium and potassium; he says the bond dramatically increases the absorption and effectiveness of HCA.

Dr. Preuss and his colleagues put this premise to the test in a study where they followed 30 healthy but overweight people ages 21-50 over an 8-week period.[2] All of the subjects consumed 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 both calcium and potassium. The other group was given a placebo. At the end of the study, the placebo group had lost an average of three pounds, but the HCA group had lost an average of 12 pounds—a whopping 400 percent more weight. Their average BMI fell by 6.3 percent; in the placebo group, it fell only 1.7 percent.

To top it off, the HCA group experienced an almost double boost in serotonin levels compared to the placebo group. Higher serotonin levels are associated with fewer cravings, as well as a greater sense of calm. In a second similar study, Preuss and his colleagues tested 60 people, and this time, the HCA group lost an average of 10.5 pounds compared to the placebo group, which lost an average of 3.5 pounds.[3]

"Perhaps the most remarkable result was in appetite control," Preuss says of the second study.

You've heard it all before – weight loss supplements that promise overnight results but end up giving you a ton of headaches!

"The placebo group had no change, but the HCA group had a 16 percent reduction in the amount of food they ate per meal!"

The Right Way To Supplement With HCA

It's far too easy to view supplements purely from the perspective of either "I take it" or "I don't take it." With some supplements, that's precise enough to see an effect. But the lesson here is thatВ how you take HCA matters. As such, Preuss has taken the new wave of HCA popularity as an opportunity to remind us all about how to get the most out of this supplement, most recently in a paper he co-authored for the Alliance for Natural Health in 2013 titled "Garcinia Cambogia: How to Optimize its Effects."[4]

Here are Preuss' recommendations:

  1. Choose a preparation that is at a minimum 50 percent HCA and is not composed wholly of calcium salts: Make sure potassium (K) and/or magnesium (Mg) is present. If the product has a low lactone content, that is even better.
  2. Be sure to take an adequate dose. For a Ca/K preparation used successfully and reported in a peer-reviewed publication, the dose of extract was near 1.5 g, three times per day before meals. In this 60 percent HCA preparation, that approximates 0.9 g of HCA prior to each meal.
  3. Take the preparation on an empty stomach, i.e., 30-60 minutes before each meal.
  4. Remember, "If you don't comply, don't complain." Take the right dose at the right time.

Note that he says "near" 1.5 g three times daily. Why not exactly 1.5? Given that HCA supplements come in a range of potencies and mixtures, it can be hard to be exact. Aim for the 1.5 g benchmark, but don't be obsessive.

Why on an empty stomach? It takes advantage of the appetite-curbing effect of the supplement, but even more important, HCA needs some space to work its magic.

"In the presence of food, the hydroxycitrate salt can bind to some of the components in the meal and be inactivated," Preuss writes. "This is called the 'food effect' and can seriously reduce the bioavailability of a number of supplements, not just HCA."

Follow these guidelines, andВ HCAВ can be an addition to your arsenal. Side effects are rare at the kind of reasonable doses that Preuss recommends, and since it's not a stimulant, you don't need to worry about it affecting your sleep or mood. If you're looking to control your weight and are committed to eating right and working out, don't be afraid to add this popular supplement into the mix!