What is Garcinia Cambogia?
But its sudden rise in popularity has to do primarily with its reputation as a dietary weight control supplement and appetite suppressant. Some research also shows garcinia cambogia is effective at controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Garcinia cambogia’s “active” ingredient – the one associated with its weight loss/control characteristics – is hydroxycitric acid, also known as HCA, which is found in the fruit's rind.
What is HCA?
Studies on Garcinia Cambogia and Weight Loss
The case for garcinia cambogia:
Some studies support garcinia cambogia's weight management value and safety:
- This research on the garcinia cambogia's HCA extract showed it to be safe when used in normal dosages.
- Research on several HCA studies concluded that garcinia extract showed a small but statistically significant amount of weight loss.
- This 2009 study showed that garcinia cambogia’s hydroxycitric acid and flavonoids can decrease lipid composition levels in blood and reduce fat deposition in the aorta of high cholesterol diet animals.
- Another study showed that high doses of garcinia cambogia suppressed fat accumulation in obese rats.
- This 1988 research on HCA showed that its inclusion in the diet significantly reduced food intake, body weight, and body fat in tested animals.
- Guinea pigs on a high cholesterol diet who were given the Garcinia species (atriviridis) had a tendency to decrease lipid composition levels and fat deposition in the aorta.
- One 1970 study with rats showed that HCA inhibit fat producing enzymes, making it more harder for the body to turn carbs into fat.
- Is it safe? Garcinia cambogia’s HCA, researched in this toxicity study using pregnant rats, showed no maternal toxicity and no external, skeletal, or soft tissue fetus abnormalities.
The case against garcinia cambogia:
It's important to note that much of the research on garcinia cambogia or HCA was not performed on human subjects. While the above data is promising, some studies say that it does not work; or, if it does work, may not be safe. For instance:
- An NYU medical report concluded that it “remains unclear whether HCA offers any weight-loss benefits.”
- In this study, HCA showed efficacy in terms of body fat accumulation suppression, but that the HCA also “caused potent testicular atrophy and toxicity.”
- The FDA issued a 2009 safety warning in response to a multitude of severe negative health reactions (ranging from jaundice and potential liver damage) to the supplement Hydroxycut, believed to be related to its garcinia cambogia extract (which has since been removed from Hydroxycut).
- Dr. Oz advises not to use garcinia cambogia if you have Alzheimer's or dementia, or if it’s in your family tree, as some studies show that garcinia cambogia can worsen it.
- This study, reported in JAMA, showed garcinia cambogia did not produce significant weight loss or fat mass loss. It found that the study group lost less weight than the placebo group.
- In a garcinia cambogia study involving overweight women, the study group lost more weight than the placebo group, but found no appetite curbing effect.