Garcinia cambogia, also known as malabar tamarind, brindleberry and kudam puli, is a fruit that looks like a small pumpkin that is green to pale yellow in color. It is native to India and Southeast Asia and is exported all over the world. It is a common ingredient in a lot of Indonesian cooking and has a distinctive sour taste.
What Does Garcinia Cambogia Do?
In recent years this unusual fruit has gained a lot of media attention due to its supposed weight loss properties. It exploded in popularity when Dr Julie Chen talked it about it on the American TV show ‘Dr Oz’.
This received a lot of controversial backlash when it was found that products Dr Oz was promoting as weight loss supplements were not effective. One of these products contained garcinia cambogia. People say that consuming this fruit puts the brake on fat production, curbs your appetite and even keeps your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check.
However, there is little concrete evidence to back this claim up and even reason to believe it may be harmful to our liver and not fit for human consumption. With so much conflicting information out there, we must ask ourselves: it is worth taking quality encapsulations garcinia?
How Can You Take Garcinia Cambogia?
Garcinia Cambogia can be consumed in two different ways. It can be taken in a tablet form – either a pill or a capsule – or in a liquid form. It is generally consumed three times a day before each meal.
Garcinia cambogia can be bought online, in some pharmacies or at health food shops. Most products will give dosage instructions on the label but if not a doctor should be consulted. The wrong dosage could result in damaging adverse side effects.
Does Garcinia Cambogia Work?
The rind of garcinia cambogia is composed of various chemicals, one of which being an active ingredient which is called hydroxycitric acid (or HCA for short). Scientists think that this acid blocks an enzyme called citrate lyase which is essential in your body’s process of making fat. It also increases the levels of serotonin – a chemical in your brain which makes you feel less hungry.
Although, the scientific results published linking the fruit’s properties to weight loss are not impressive. Many look at its weight loss effect in animals such as rats, not humans.
A preliminary study was published in the Journal of Obesity in 2010 which looked at the use of garcinia extract as a weight loss supplement. In this study, the people who took garcinia cambogia extract lost around 2 pounds more than the people who did not take it. The scientists say that they cannot be certain this was the result of the garcinia extract – it may of been from the lower calorie diet and exercise plans the people in the study were following.
Better scientific studies are needed to find out if garcinia cambogia really does help people lose weight and keep it off. It is quite possible that it is no more effective than a healthy balanced diet alongside regular physical activity.
Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe?
Many people safely eat the fruit garcinia cambogia and clinical trials have shown that it is safe to eat its extract by mouth, at least for the length of the studies – 12 weeks.
But it is advised to take caution of potential adverse side effects it may have. It may lower your blood sugar and so can interfere with diabetes treatments. Also, the effect of the fruit has not been studied in pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding.
It may also hold problems for patients with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia according to Catherine Ulbricht, senior pharmacist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and co-founder of Natural Standard Research Collaboration.
In 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration released a safety warning following more than 20 reports of people having severe reactions to it, which included damage to the liver, in people taking the dietary supplement hydroxycut. At this time hydroxycut contained garcinia cambogia extract along with other compounds.
A case study published in 2016 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology by Keri E. Lunsford examined an instance where Garcinia hepatic failure resulting in the need of a liver transplant. The subject had taken the supplement for several months before his liver had failed. The researchers report that this is the first known case of acute liver failure known to be tied to Garcinia cambogia. Liver damage due to other drugs and alcohol had been ruled out, and Garcinia cambogia was the only supplement or drug that the patient had ingested. Much more research is needed in this area, according to the researchers, and in the meantime, the public should be made aware of the potential risks of taking this supplement.
Potential Side Effects of Garcinia Cambogia
Common side effects caused by ingesting garcinia cambogia are feelings of nausea, an upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches and a dry mouth. Garcinia should not be taken with certain medications as the interactions with them can have a counteractive or even harmful effect.
At a Glance:
- Upset stomach
- Dry mouth
The Bottom Line
There is very little research to support the health benefits that some claim garcinia cambogia possesses and so it probably is not worth taking it regularly. The most effective method of promoting weight loss is to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle with a nutritious diet and regular physical activity. If you do wish to take this supplement, you should speak to your doctor first.