A pumpkin shaped fruit that grows in South East Asia and India, Garcinia Cambogia is a revolutionary breakthrough.
Garcinia Cambogia contains a key ingredient HCA (Hydroxycitric Acid), which is extracted from the rind of the fruit.
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 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?
Garcinia cambogia is the former scientific name of a tropical species of plant called Garcinia gummi-gutta. Garcinia gummi-gutta is simply a tropical species of Garcinia subelliptica tree native to Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Traditionally, due to its sharp sour taste and overall bitterness, it was used as a flavor enhancer in past times. There is also medical literature that discusses in-depth about it pro-digestive qualities and ability to remedy and treat bowel movement complaints and parasites (this is where the weight loss languaging might have started).
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.
It’s long been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, for example. Spiritual healers would use Garcinia cambogia to cure indigestion and create various “wellness” medicines. Garcinia cambogia extract would also sometimes be used to create a laxative or cleanser.
For thousands of years, Garcinia Cambogia remained relatively unknown. 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 rumoured health benefits.
The weight loss claims of Garcinia cambogia have faced a lot of criticism, and we’ll take a look at the rumoured 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.
First, according to a study from Purdue University, Garcinia cambogia is rich with compounds like calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin – all of which have been individually linked to health benefits.
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
- 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 summarise 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. 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 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.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.