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Does Garcinia Cambogia Really Work?

Updated on November 8, 2015

Garcinia Cambogia and Weight Loss

We live in a world where personal image has become a major issue. This has led some people to come up with extreme measures to achieve the so called ‘perfect’ face, body or even lifestyle. These measures include plastic surgery, diets and use of weight loss supplements. One of the most commonly used dietary supplements is the Garcinia Cambogia fruit.

This small tropical fruit is usually green or yellow in color and has a shape similar to that of a pumpkin. It is natively found in Indonesia and was up until recently not regarded as anything more than a little sweet yellow fruit. In 2012, the idea of using it as a weight loss supplement was introduced sparking the debate about whether or not it actually works. To answer this question, we must consider the mechanism of action of its contents and the documented success.

How does Garcinia Cambogia help with weight loss?

Garcinia Cambogia contains an organic acid that is known as hydroxycitric acid. This acid is in a lot of ways similar to citric acid which accounts for the similarity in taste between this fruit and other citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. The acid is what is extracted and used to make the supplements. Those who believe that the Garcinia Cambogia fruit can actually help you lose weight have suggested three main mechanisms by which it works. These are:

1. Breakdown of fats

The hydroxycitric acid is believed to have the ability to take part in different metabolic pathways involved in energy production. These work by breaking down fat to produce glucose that is used to produce the energy needed. By taking part in fat burning processes, the Garcinia Cambogia extracts help in weight loss.

2. Reduce the rate and amount of fat formed and stored

This is a more complex mechanism of action. In the body, excess carbohydrates and lipids are converted into fats and stored as adipose tissue under the skin and around major organs. These processes are usually heavily dependent on enzymes and one such enzyme is the citrate lyase enzyme. The hydroxycitric acid inhibits the action of this enzyme. In so doing, it slows down the rate and extent of formation and storage of fat. This translates to weight loss and maintenance of a lean form.

3. Reducing appetite

Last but not least, dietitians and other people who swear by Garcinia Cambogia believe that it helps to reduce appetite. Appetite is controlled by several factors but one of the main controllers is the brain. It does this through the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin reduces appetite under normal conditions. When one takes Garcinia Cambogia dietary supplements, the hydroxycitric acid increases the amount of serotonin in the system and as a result amplifies the inhibitory effect on appetite. This comes in very handy with people who are trying to lose weight by reducing the amount of unhealthy foods they consume.

Success of the Garcinia Cambogia dietary supplement

So does Garcinia Cambogia really work? Yes. The three mechanisms of actions have all been scientifically tested and confirmed. However, the Garcinia Cambogia will not be successful if used alone. This means that if you intent to do nothing but take the supplements then you are setting yourself up to fail. For the best results, it is important to include the good old fashioned weight loss techniques; diet and exercise. The exercise will help in fat burning while taking proper and balanced diet will help the appetite inhibiting mechanism.

Is it safe? Possible side effects of Garcinia Cambogia

There is no good thing without its cons. Garcinia Cambogia supplements are not an exception to this unfortunate fact. It is important to remember that the supplements are made from acid extracts. If you overuse them then there is a huge possibility of the acid building up in your body and causing major side effects. One of these includes hepatotoxicity. This is a condition where the liver is damaged due to build-up of toxins in the body. It is the most vulnerable as it is the organ that is responsible for getting rid of all toxins and is therefore the most exposed.

Bottom line

There is no denying that Garcinia Cambogia does have a role to play in weight loss. It should, however, be used moderately. After all is said and done, no matter what method you might opt for in your weight loss plan, it is important to include a balanced diet and regular physical exercise.


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    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      I actually tried the GNC's version of GC and it works. But I also do my regular yoga and spinning/rpm (indoor cycling at the gym) exercises. I tried two bottles, but decided to stop when my daughter repeatedly told me not to use it due to its side effects as mentioned in your article. Will I try again? At my tender age of 62 years old, liver health is more important, so I don't think I will.

      Good article and very well researched.

    • VationSays profile image

      VationSays 2 years ago

      Thanks Dana and Carolyn for the feedback....a fruit a day keeps the weight at bay :) Just be sure to get the extract from a reliable source. Physical activity is also always a determinant.

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 2 years ago from South Dakota, USA

      Thank you for this. I have wondered about it. The bottom line seems to be that it can help - a LITTLE. You still need to watch your diet, and get more activity. The simple equation - use more calories than you take in. No getting around that. But if Garcinia Cambogia can help - let's say 5% on top of that - I'll take it. Good hub!

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      nice and well-written hub. I never heard of this fruit, but if it's good for weight loss I may seek it out. Thanks for the introduction.