Garcinia cambogia, a pumpkin-shaped fruit, grows in the wild in India and Southeast Asia. It has a chemical structure rather similar to citric acid. It is also known as the malabar tamarind, and is widely used as a condiment in Indian and Asian curry dishes. The extract of the fruit used for weight loss is known as hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, and is meant to suppress appetite and enhance fat-burning, in a similar way to hoodia and guarana.
Garcinia Cambogia Benefits?
Several scientific studies do seem to indicate that garcinia cambogia may reduce appetite and work as a weight loss aid in animals. However, human trials suggest otherwise, and several found hydroxycitric acid did not burn excess calories. In fact, it was deemed no better than a placebo. Many of the manufacturers of HCA diet and weight loss products claim there are no side effects. However, there seems to be no hard evidence Garcinia Cambogia Extract either way, which doesn't look very good for HCA as a natural weight loss remedy.
Garcinia Side Effects
It is really unclear whether or not garcinia cambogia works as a weight loss aid. The best that can be said about it is that it is unlikely to do any harm, unlike other natural weight loss supplements, such as hoodia or guarana. Both hoodia and guarana can cause jitteriness, nervousness, or heart palpitations. However, bear in mind there are no real studies addressing whether or not it's safe to take long term, or even take at all.
Does Garcinia Work?
As far as its weight loss properties go, one double blind study found 60 overweight people who used 440 mg of hydroxycitric acid three times a day had some weight loss success. Yet another study (also double blind) of 135 overweight individuals who were either given 500 mg of HCA, or a placebo three times a day, showed no effects on weight loss at all. The best available data to date, shows garcinia cambogia is not effective for weight loss.
The Bottom Line
You should definitely have a long and hard think before using garcinia as a weight loss aid, even if you choose to use it in combination with other weight loss remedies. If you are going to be spending money on buying products with dubious track records, then you are likely to get what you pay for. Do some more research on HCA, or any other natural weight loss aids, to find out more about the pros and the cons. Remember, there really is no substitute for a healthy diet and proper exercise, before you take a leap of faith into something that probably will not work.
Preuss HG et al. An overview of the safety and efficacy of a novel, natural(-)-hydroxycitric acid extract (HCA-SX) for weight management. J Med. 2004;35(1-6):33-48.
Heymsfield SB et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1596-600.