Garcinia cambogia is a tropical exotic fruit that is growing increasingly popular as a weight loss aid. Also referred to as garcinia gummi-gutta, it has been implicated in reducing appetite and significantly reducing fat absorption in the human body.
The garcinia cambogia is native to Indonesia and loosely resembles the shape and texture of a pumpkin, but they’re often green, red, or yellow. They usually only grow to be the size of a tomato, but the small fruit packs a big punch. The beneficial effects of garcinia cambogia are attributed to its high hydroycitric acid (HCA) content, an active substance shown to have some powerful weight loss properties .
Despite the claims of appetite curbing, anti-obesity, anti-diabetic, performance enhancing properties and a quick-fix weight loss tool, clinical human research has yet to provide conclusive, clear-cut, evidence of each these effects. When it comes to garcinia cambogia across the mass market, these claims should be taken with a grain of salt.
Reported Effects of Garcinia Cambogia
1. Aid Weight Loss
The main benefit of supplementing with garcinia cambogia its ability to support and promote weight loss. On average, garcinia has been shown to cause weight loss of about 2lbs more than a placebo, over a period of up to 12 weeks . The evidence is mixed, but the theory is well researched. It’s suggested that it aids weight loss in two ways:
- Reduce Fat Production
Garcinia cambogia impacts the production of new fatty acids. Human and animal studies show that it may lower blood fat levels and reduce oxidative stress in your body. In one study, moderately obese people took 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia daily for eight weeks and drastically improved cholesterol levels and fat metabolites .
The main reason for these effects is the ability to inhibits citrate lyase, a pivotal enzyme in the production of fat.
By inhibiting citrate lyase, garcinia is thought to slow fat production in the body. This may reduce blood fats and lower the risk of weight gain.
- Reduce Appetite
Some human studies have found that garcinia cambogia suppresses appetite and makes you feel full .
The mechanism isn’t fully known, but it’s hypothesised that HCL, the active ingredient, can increase serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a known appetite suppressant.
Despite these findings, other studies have found no significant improvement and it’s safe to say that more research is needed to accurately deduce the effects of garcinia on fat loss .
2. Boost Digestive System
You may also hear garcinia cambogia enthusiasts claim that supplementing can help boost the digestive system. The research is early, but it’s definitely promising.
Animal studies suggest that it helps protect against stomach ulcers and reduce damage to the inner lining of your digestive tract .
Common Supplements that Contain Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia cambogia can be found in various supplements.
Most notably, it can be found in stand-alone capsules, powders and liquids, most commonly marketed as a weight management aid. It is also prevalent in fat burners, often combined with matcha green tea, glucomannan and konjac root extract.
When selecting a garcinia supplement, look for one with a 50-60% HCA formulation. As HCA is the main active compound responsible for the potential benefits of garcinia cambogia, having an adequate ratio of it in your supplement is key.
Side Effects of Garcinia Cambogia Supplementation
Garcinia cambogia is considered safe for healthy people when consuming moderate dosages, or up to 2,800 mg of HCA per day .
With that said, garcinia supplements are not yet regulated by the FDA.
This means that there’s no guarantee that the content of HCA in the supplement will match the HCA content on the label. Do your own research and be sure to buy from a trusted brand.
Mild side effects may include:
- Digestive discomfort
- Skin rashes
However, early animal research has indicated more serious side effects. Animal studies show that intake of garcinia far above the maximum recommended dosage can cause shrinking of the testicles. Studies in rats also suggested that it may also affect sperm production 
Garcinia Cambogia Dosage
The recommended dosage for garcinia cambogia can vary between brands – there is no ‘official’ recommended dosage.
Generally, it is recommended to take 500 mg, three times per day, 30–60 minutes before meals. It is always best to follow the dosage instructions on the label.
Studies have only tested these supplements over a short period of time; therefore, it may be a good idea to cycle these supplements off periodically.
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