What is Garcinia Cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is a small, sweet, purple fruit also known to some as Malabar tamarind. People who live near where it grows have used the fruit for hundreds of years because over time they have noticed certain beneficial properties after daily consumption.
Today, modern science has caught up to traditional wisdom about the human body. The result is an understanding of Hydroxycitric acid, which is able to be extracted from garcinia cambogia and used in nutritional supplements.
What is HCA Extract?
Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is a derivative of citric acid that is extracted primarily from the rind of the garcinia cambogia fruit. This is primarily what offers benefits to the human body.
Garcinia cambogia-derived (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is a safe, natural supplement for weight management. HCA is a competitive inhibitor of ATP citrate lyase, a key enzyme which facilitates the synthesis of fatty acids, cholesterol and triglycerides. Previous studies in our laboratories have demonstrated the superior bioavailability of a novel calcium-potassium salt of HCA derived from Garcinia cambogia (HCA-SX, Super CitriMax). Greater bioavailability of HCA-SX was observed when taken on an empty stomach (Source: An overview of the safety and efficacy of a novel, natural(-)-hydroxycitric acid extract (HCA-SX) for weight management )
While HCA extract works as an appetite suppressant, other benefits may be seen when Hydroxycitric acid based supplements are taken on a daily basis.
What are the Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia?
The benefits of garcinia cambogia are plentiful. Here are some of them.
Slow Fat Production – One of the benefits of garcinia cambogia extract is that it helps slow down fat production in the body through working with the carbohydrates you eat during the day.
More Efficient Metabolism -Hydroxycitric acid is thought to help the metabolism by helping control how carbohydrates are used by the body. Instead of excess carbs being turned into fat cells for later use they are used throughout the day. This can lead to loss of existing fat cells.
Cholesterol Control – More studies need to be done in this area, but some people have suggested HCA extract causes carbohydrates to be converted into glycogen instead of fat and that this disrupts the production of triglycerides – the bad cholesterol.
Increased Serotonin – HCA extract may also help with serotonin production in the body. When serotonin levels are low problems with anxiety, insomnia or even depression may develop. Serotonin is an essential hormone for happy and healthy humans.
Appetite Suppression – Proper amounts of HCA extract can also work as a natural and effective way to suppress the appetite. This is one of the ancient uses of garcinia cambogia and one of the major reasons HCA supplements help people lose weight.
Other benefits of garcinia cambogia may exist, but the ones mentioned above are the ones most people are interested in HCA.
Garcinia Cambogia for Weight Loss
While other benefits are known, there is no verdict on whether HCA extract can help with weight loss efforts. NYU Langone Medical Center has mentioned these HCA studies.
In an 8-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 60 overweight individuals, use of HCA at a dose of 440 mg 3 times daily produced significant weight loss as compared to placebo.(Source: Thom E. Hydroxycitrate (HCA) in the treatment of obesity [abstract]. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996;20(suppl 4):75.)
In contrast, a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 135 overweight individuals, who were given either placebo or 500 mg of HCA (as Garcinia cambogia extract standardized to contain 50% HCA) 3 times daily, found no effect on body weight or fat mass. (Source: Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, Vasselli JR, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA.1998;280:1596-1600.) However, this study has been criticized for using a high-fiber diet, which is thought to impair HCA absorption. (Source: Badmaev V, Majeed M, Conte AA, et al. Garcinia cambogia for weight loss [letter]. JAMA. 1999;282:233-234.)
A 12-week double-blind trial of 89 individuals found that HCA had no effect on appetite.(Source: Mattes RD, Bormann L. Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables. Physiol Behav . 2000;71:87-94.) Another study tested HCA to see if it could cause weight loss by altering metabolism, but no effects on metabolism were found.(Source: Kriketos AD, Thompson HR, Greene H, et al. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid does not affect energy expenditure and substrate oxidation in adult males in a post-absorptive state. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord . 1999;23:867-873.)
Many other studies have been conducted. Some of them have been on rats, but all the information has been useful to learn more about HCA extract and the ways in which it might affect the human body.
Does HCA Extract Have Side Effects?
As with anything ingested into the body, some people may develop side effects after taking supplements with HCA extract. If this is the case, consulting a doctor is recommended.
Here are some of the possible side effects of garcinia cambogia when taken in high doses.
Gastrointestinal problems including intestinal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Lower blood sugar levels
Additionally, some people may have an allergic reaction to Hydroxycitric acid. Many find the side effects associated with garcinia cambogia to be less than those that may occur when using other drugs to help with health or weight loss efforts.
What About Garcinia Cambogia Drug Interactions?
Currently, no information is known about possible interactions between HCA extract and other drugs. This may change as further studies are conducted. Those who are considering taking a garcinia cambogia supplement and are taking other medications should consult a physician.
What is the Recommended Dose of HCA Extract?
A standard recommended dose of HCA extract will range from 200 mg to 1,000 mg up to three times per day. Taking more than 3,000 mg of Hydroxycitric acid in any 24 hour period is not recommended. For the most benefit, supplements should be taken a half hour before meals throughout the day. The exact dosage for any person may vary according to a variety of different variables and circumstances.
Sources and References
Thom E. Hydroxycitrate (HCA) in the treatment of obesity [abstract]. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996;20(suppl 4):75.
Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, Vasselli JR, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA.1998;280:1596-1600.
Badmaev V, Majeed M, Conte AA, et al. Garcinia cambogia for weight loss [letter]. JAMA. 1999;282:233-234.
Mattes RD, Bormann L. Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables. Physiol Behav . 2000;71:87-94.
Kriketos AD, Thompson HR, Greene H, et al. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid does not affect energy expenditure and substrate oxidation in adult males in a post-absorptive state. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord . 1999;23:867-873.
Physiol Behav. 2000 Oct 1-15;71(1-2):87-94. (Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables.