Does Garcinia Cambogia Work for Losing Weight?

Garcinia Cambogia Fruit
Garcinia Cambogia Fruit | Source

With many people around the world looking for a simple way to lose weight, without onerous exercising and dieting, there seems to be no shortage of diet products to choose from.

But, with so many new diet products constantly entering the marketplace, it's important for consumers to make intelligent choices about which ones they try. Not only can the wrong diet product be a waste of money, it can also potentially have a negative impact upon your health.

One of the newest and most promising of these diet products, and one of the least expensive too, is Garcinia Cambogia extract. The obvious question here is, does Garcinia Cambogia work? Well, according to many of those who have tried it and several recent studies, the answer to this question may be 'yes.'

In this article you'll discover the facts about this product to help you make a more informed decision on whether or not Garcinia Cambogia could work for you.

Story-at-a-Glance

  • Garcinia Cambogia extract is one of the newest and potentially most effective of weight loss supplements to date.
  • It's made from the fruit of the Garcinia Cambogia tree which grows in SE Asia, India and Central and West Africa, where it has been used for culinary and natural medicinal purposes for centuries.
  • It is claimed it works by blocking the body's ability to absorb fat, and, by boosting serotonin levels to reduce emotional eating.
  • Several serious clinical studies back this up, but others say that more needs to be done to prove the claims absolutely conclusively.
  • Anecdotal evidence, by actual users, seems to be positive with, for example, over 1,000 users of a particular brand on Amazon giving it 5 stars.

What is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia Cambogia (Garcinia Gummi Gutta) is a large evergreen tree, native to Indonesia, but which can be found across SE Asia, India, and Central and West Africa. Other common names are Malabar tamarind, Northern tamarind, Pot tamarind, Assam fruit, Gambooge, Brindle berry, and Brindall berry.

The Garcinia produces orange/grapefruit-sized fruit, similar in shape to a small pumpkin. The fruit can be greenish, yellowish or reddish in color when ripe, although the actual color can vary a lot. When dried for transport and processing the rinds attain a black / dark brown color.

The processed rind has been used for centuries in these regions for preserving and curing foods, flavoring food, as a spice, and even as a natural remedy for things like constipation, gas and bloating, bowel problems, diarrhea, intestinal parasites, problems with menstruation, fever control and rheumatism.

The rind is rich in hydroxycitric acid (HCA), a derivative of citric acid, that, when extracted, is the active ingredient in Garcinia Cambogia weight loss supplements.

Source

How Does Garcinia Cambogia work?

Studies have shown that HCA may prevent fat production by inhibiting the Citrate lyase enzyme which is needed to convert carbohydrates to fat in your body. HCA may also be able to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.

In addition, studies indicate that HCA may actually be able to help increase serotonin levels in the brain, thus improving your mood and helping to suppress the compulsion to eat.

As a result of this, it is said that what makes Garcinia Cambogia so effective is that it helps those who take it to lose weight in two ways...

First, it boosts serotonin levels in the brain resulting in a more positive and balanced mood for those who use it and it also reduces their stress levels.This helps to reduce 'emotional' or 'reactive' eating as folks under stress or feeling down or depressed are wont to do.

In other words, instead of trying to artificially mask hunger as with other products, Garcinia Cambogia extract helps to promote a general feeling of well being that helps those who use it to be more in control of their eating habits.

So, instead of reaching for a candy bar, someone taking Garcinia Cambogia is more likely to make a healthier choice such as a fruit or vegetable, or a lean protein source.

Secondly, Garcinia Cambogia works by helping to block your body's ability to absorb fat. This is significant since it means that even without wholesale changes to your eating habits, or increased exercise, you will still lose weight.

It's also important because it means that weight lost while taking it will be predominantly fat. Since most people who choose to use diet products are not likely to change their eating habits, this means that Garcinia Cambogia is a product that could potentially work for anyone.

It is these two natural processes working together that makes this supplement so effective.

It's Use As A Weight Loss Supplement

Losing weight is not an easy process. Ideally, anyone looking to lose weight will adopt a healthy diet and a regular exercise program. Unfortunately not everyone has the time and discipline it takes to undertake the kind of life style changes necessary for weight loss.

But, according to the supporters of Garcinia Cambogia, it isn't necessary to change the way you live. They say that Garcinia Cambogia has been proven to help people to control their appetite and lose weight all without making changes to their diet or exercise routines.

They say that this is what makes Garcinia Cambogia extract such a remarkable product. It allows you to lose weight and body fat by simply taking it and going about your normal daily activities. And since Garcinia Cambogia targets body fat you won't only lose weight, you will lose the type of weight that has the biggest impact upon your health.

That being said they note that, even though you can lose weight without changing your diet or exercise habits, making healthier choices in addition to taking Garcinia Cambogia will only help you to reach your weight loss goals more quickly and effectively.

Clinical Studies

With it's major upswing in popularity it should come as no surprise that there have been several clinical research studies into the potential benefits of Garcinia Cambogia.

For example, in one of these, 60 people who were classified as obese were studied over an 8 week period.

For a baseline, all were put on the same calorie restricted diet, then half were given 1320 mg of HCA per day, whilst the other half were given a placebo.

At the end of the study, those on HCA had lost an average of 14 lbs compared with 6 lbs for the placebo group.

This suggests that the additional 8 lbs weight lost by the experimental group was lost due to the HCA. In addition, the experimental group reported loss of appetite.

Perhaps, not unexpectedly, Garcinia Cambogia extract exploded into the greater public arena by being featured on the Dr.Oz show where he referred to Garcinia Cambogia as...

"The newest, fastest, fat buster."

And...

"Revolutionary new research says it could be the magic ingredient that lets you lose weight without diet or exercise."

He added that ...

"It might just be the most exciting breakthrough in natural weight loss to date."

Dr. Harry Preuss, Georgetown University Medical Center, who is at the forefront of the research, and was featured on the show said...

"The ideal weight loss program is one in which you lose fat and retain your muscle or even build it. With Garcinia we can make that happen."

In an interview with Dr. Oz, Dr. Julie Chen M.D., who is fellowship-trained and is board-certified in integrative medicine, said that the average woman would lose about 4 lbs per month with the supplement alone. Interestingly, she went on to say that by combining the supplement with diet and exercise, they could lose 2 or 3 times more than they would lose with just diet and exercise.

She noted that the supplement can reduce levels of the stress hormone called 'cortisol' which will show up as a decrease in belly fat.

Dr. Chen also referred to a study which found that participants who took Garcinia Cambogia not only experienced fat loss, but they also increased lean muscle mass. She argued that this was...

"...important because muscle burns about 30 to 50 calories per day, and fat only about three."

and that...

"If you're getting more of the lean muscle mass and less of the fat, you are a fat-burning machine."

However, not all studies have come up with such positive results. As Marquez, et al, at the Human Nutrition Unit, Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Rovira i Virgili University, Reus, Spain, concludes...

"Although several studies have found that the administration of G. cambogia extracts is associated with body weight and fat loss in both experimental animals and humans, we should be cautious when interpreting the results as other randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials have not reported the same outcomes."

So, on the one hand, you have respected professionals who believe that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Garcinia Cambogia extract does work, and on the other hand, equally respected professionals who advise caution before accepting its efficacy without further, more expansive, clinical studies.

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Users' Experiences with Garcinia Cambogia Extract

As well as the scientific evidence, there is also actual users' experiences with Garcinia Cambogia extract to be considered and we can get these by referring to user ratings on the likes of Amazon, as long as the sample size is large enough to be statistically significant.

If there were only 3 or 4 product reviews then, not only are these numbers insignificant, the sample is small enough that they may not be bona fide users, even although they would have had to have bought the product in order to be able to leave a review.

However, if there were over 1,000 rated reviews then this would be considered significant and would give a high level of confidence that if the entire population of users were to be asked to rate a product, they would mirror the ratings given by the sample group, within a small margin of error.

The table below shows figures for the #1 best-selling product on Amazon.com -- NatureWise Garcinia Cambogia Extract. At the time of writing there were 2,025 users who had rated this particular product.

Stars
Users
%
5
1,172
57.9
4
458
22.6
3
102
5.0
2
85
4.2
1
208
10.3
Total
2,025
100
80.50 % of users have given the product 4 stars or above with 60% giving it 5 stars.

Although the above results are in no way a clinical study they are, nevertheless, worthy of note since they reflect real users' experiences measured against their expectations. And, taken together with the body of positive clinical studies out there, you could conclude that Garcinia Cambogia does work as a weight loss supplement.

Benefits

According to its proponents, Garcinia Cambogia has many benefits as a fat loss supplement...

  • Craving / appetite control without artificial appetite suppressants.
  • Blocks fat production.
  • Burns fat without artificial stimulants.
  • Belly fat reduction through reduced cortisol levels.
  • One of the least expensive weight loss supplements out there.
  • No horrible headaches, nausea, etc., as with some other weight loss supplements.
  • No artificial stimulants or appetite suppressants, so no nervousness, no feeling jittery and no sleeping problems.

But they say the potential health benefits Garcinia Cambogia provides may go far beyond simple fat reduction...

  • Stress relief, mood stabilization and increased sense of wellbeing due to Garcinia's ability to boost serotonin levels.
  • Lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.
  • Optimized blood sugar balance.
  • Enhanced red blood cell production.

Where Can I Buy Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia Cambogia can be found in any health food store, and can also be purchased through any number of online distributors such as Amazon.

Although Garcinia Cambogia itself has proven to be safe, it's still very important for consumers to be careful when buying Garcinia Cambogia extract products.

You need to look for a product that comes from a reputable manufacturer, contains pure ingredients, has no added fillers / binders, chemical additives, nor any other unusual ingredients, and one that contains at least 50% HCA, preferably 60%.

Note that some products may contain calcium and potassium salts which are bound to the HCA to make the HCA more soluble and more easily absorbed.

Finally, check that it is manufactured by a GNP-approved laboratory with FDA approval and has the cGMP stamp of approval.

By following these simple guidelines you can make sure that the product you are buying is both safe and effective.

In terms of pricing, most bottles of Garcinia Cambogia extract average under $60. If you find a product that is more than this while shopping then you could be overpaying.

If you find one that is significantly less, then that may be due to the use of cheaper, impure ingredients and lower concentrations of HCA. Or, it could just be a special discounted price.

When comparing prices, ensure you are comparing like-for-like by noting the % HCA, the number of capsules per bottle and the amount of extract in each capsule.

So do your homework!

Recommended Dosage and How to Take It

Garcinia Cambogia extract is typically sold in capsule form and between 500 mg and 1,000 mg should be taken three times a day, before meals, with plenty of water. The maximum per day should be no more than 3,000 mg.

Of course you need to read the label of the product you purchase to make sure that you are taking the right amount for that particular manufacturer's product.

It's critically important to take the capsules on an empty stomach, since any residual food in your system will react with the supplement and significantly reduce its effectiveness.

So, in order to get the maximum benefit, you should make sure to take the capsules with a full glass of water on an empty stomach between 1/2 hour and 2 hours prior to eating.

It's also important that you take Garcinia Cambogia extract on a regular basis to ensure that it's mood stabilizing effects are working on a continuous basis.

Following these guidelines will help to ensure that you get the best possible results while taking Garcinia Cambogia.

Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe? Does it Have Any Side Effects?

The most important question that should be asked by anyone considering taking any weight loss product, is whether or not it is safe.

While people are often leery of spending their money on a product in case it doesn't work, far too often they fail to look at how safe a product is. When it comes to your health you cannot be too cautious...

The good news is that the research to date has not found evidence of any negative side effects for the vast majority of us when using pure Garcinia Cambogia.

In a review paper titled "In Vitro and In Vivo Toxicity of Garcinia or Hydroxycitric Acid: A Review," Li Oon Chuah, School of Industrial Technology, University Science Malaysia, et al, said that:

"Majority of reports demonstrated the efficacy of Garcinia/HCA without any toxicity found. However, a few clinical toxicity reports on weight-loss diet supplements of which some were combinations that included Garcinia/HCA as an active ingredient showed potential toxicity towards spermatogenesis. Nonetheless, it cannot be concluded that Garcinia/HCA is unsafe."

And concluded that:

"To date, there is no case study or report showing the direct adverse effect of HCA."

However, there are several groups who are advised to avoid taking the supplement either because further research is required or because the potential risk to a specific group is already known.

These groups are...

  • Pregnant women.
  • Women who are trying to become pregnant.
  • Women who are breastfeeding.
  • People with diabetes or hypoglycemia.
  • Those who have been prescribed Statins.
  • Patients suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

It should be noted that the research studies used pure ingredients under supervised conditions and to the extent that the product you buy has been manufactured with only pure ingredients under strictly controlled conditions, then your product will be generally safe.

But, should the product be of poor quality or include fillers, binders or other surplus ingredients, then there is no guarantee that the product will be safe. This is definitely so with fake products being sold in the market place today.

So, for your own safety always...

  • check on the brand.
  • check for the country the product is manufactured in.
  • check that it is manufactured in a GNP (Good Manufacturing Practices) approved laboratory.
  • check it has the cGMP stamp of approval.
  • check on the ingredients to make sure they are natural and pure.
  • make sure there are no fillers, binders, chemical additives, unnecessary ingredients, nor ingredients you know nothing about.
  • read lots of customer reviews looking for any safety issues.

Remember, do your due diligence.

Finally, it's also very important to remember that you should talk to your doctor before starting any weight loss product, and this one is no exception, even although it is a natural supplement.

Although Garcinia Cambogia has been proven to be generally safe, you should always follow the advice of your doctor / physician.

Conclusion

So, the question is...does Garcinia Cambogia really work?

Although there are professionals who remain unconvinced at this stage, they don't say that it doesn't work, only that more research needs to be done.

But bear in mind, just because there is an absence of proof doesn't mean that something is not true. For example, it's only fairly recently in the evolution of mankind that we have proved that the earth revolves around the sun.

And, there is a body of researchers that do believe that Garcinia Cambogia extract does work as a natural weight loss supplement and there is sufficient proof for them that it does so in the ways they describe.

We also cannot just ignore the feedback from thousands of users either, and these seem to be generally favorable.

On balance then, you can see why so many people may be willing to try Garcinia Cambogia extract.

If you do decide to try this supplement, remember to carry out your due diligence and consult with your doctor / physician to ensure that it's right and safe for you.

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garcinia_gummi-gutta

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12953793

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11758650

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22530711

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3848168/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=garcinia+cambogia+and+liver+fibrosis

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5139664_do-appetite-suppressants-work.html

http://blog.doctoroz.com/is-this-right-for-you/garcinia-cambogia-hca

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/garcinia-cambogia-side-effects-and-benefits-researched-reviews-236555831.html

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/197920/abs/

Disclaimer

The content of this Hub is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be a substitute for proper medical diagnosis, treatment or advice, and you should not assume that it is. Always consult your health-care provider / physician / doctor before taking any medications, natural remedies, supplements, or making any major changes to your diet.

© 2014 JCielo

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I look forward to your comments... 2 comments

JCielo profile image

JCielo 2 years ago from England Author

cathylynn99 - Thanks so much for your welcome input and the link to the source.

I had seen this, but I also read this later paper -- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC384816... -- which threw doubt on the Kim et al conclusion. Indeed, it asserts that several published studies "...indicate that HCA actually exerts a protective effect upon the liver."

Again, thanks so much for taking valuable time out to add to our knowledge.


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 2 years ago from northeastern US

g c has been shown to cause fibrosis of the liver. please add that to your list of side effects.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=garcinia+...

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