When you follow the supplement and weight loss world as critically as I do, there certainly is no lack of hard to pronounce “breakthrough” herbal weight loss supplements coming across my desk. I put that breakthrough in quotes, because most times there is nothing “new” about these products, and in fact, they have been used effectively in other cultures for centuries.
That certainly describes Garcinia Cambogia, an Indonesian pumpkin-like fruit that has been getting quite a lot of attention over the last few years as the “next big thing in weight loss.” So, I thought it was high time that I took a closer look at this amazing little fruit, and see what all the buzz is all about.
So, let’s take a look at Garcinia Cambogia. As a weight-loss supplement, an extract is made from the rind of the fruit, which is also called a tamarind, and is usually marketed as Garcinia Cambogia HCA. Like many such extracts, the claim is that Garcinia Cambogia HCA, suppresses appetite, boosts metabolism, and burns fat.
The HCA in the name is the key to those claims. You may recognize it. HCA stands for hydroxycitric acid, and you may know that HCA is an ingredient in many supplements used by athletes looking for fast weight loss. Unlike many other supplements or extracts that contain ingredients or chemical compounds that cannot be shown to have any specific mechanism of action – we actually do know a lot about what HCA is and exactly what it does.
In the presence of HCA, citrate lyase, a key enzyme that your body needs to create stored fat from carbohydrates is blocked. When HCA keeps citrate lyase from doing its usual job, your body’s process of making fat from carbs is slowed or stopped altogether, and the production of LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides decrease.
HCA delivers the double-punch of also being a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. That means, much like prescription antidepressants, it increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Higher serotonin levels mean better moods, and fewer chances of stress overeating.
These two clinically proven effects is what prompted Dr. Oz to declare on one of his recent TV shows that Garcinia Cambogia HCA could be “the holy grail” of weight loss supplements.
One randomized placebo-controlled study followed 60 obese people for 8 weeks, with a calorie-restricted diet of 1200 calories/day, and an HCA dose of 1320 mg/day. The experimental group lost an average of twice as much weight as those in the placebo group. The participants also reported marked reductions in appetite. Several other studies and ongoing research verify these findings, and indicate that HCA has much promise as a weight-loss supplement.
How to Use Garcinia Cambogia HCA
Garcinia Cambogia is sold online and anywhere supplements are sold as an extract in capsule form. You may sometimes simply see it as “GCE.” Be sure to check the ingredients for at least 50% HCA as the active ingredient. As always, avoid any Garcinia supplement that has added sugars, fillers, or artificial colors.
For weight-loss the usual dose is to take 500-1000 mg before each meal. Do not take more than 3000 mg total per day.
Who Should Use It?
Anybody who is struggling with weight loss, or needs to boost his or her metabolism, or is one of those dieters that simply cannot kick the carbs, should consider adding HCA to their fitness and diet regimen. However as with any supplement, speak with your healthcare professional before taking Garcinia Cambogia.
Clinical research seems to back up many of the claims made about Garcinia Cambogia HCA.
Since Garcinia Cambogia Extract is derived from the tamarind, a fruit that is commonly eaten in Southeast Asia, there are little or no side effects associated with it. However, it could cause stomach upset, or gastric distress in those that have shown food sensitivity to similar produce such as pumpkins or squash. There is no information on interactions of HCA with other supplements or medications. I found one report that said it should not be taken by Alzheimer’s patients, as it could make that condition worse.
The Bottom Line
HCA is generally safe, and seems to show a lot of promise as a weight loss supplement, especially when combined with sensible eating and exercise.