Garcinia Cambogia for Weight Loss, Benefits and Side Effects

Garcinia Cambogia is a popular weight-loss supplement. Sales of this supplement have increased considerably in recent years.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world search the Internet every month for reviews on the effectiveness of the supplement Garcinia Cambogia.

The Interest in this product increased especially after Dr. Oz recommended it in his American talk show. The claim is that Garcinia Cambogia promotes weight loss. But is that also scientifically proven?

This article gives the facts about Garcinia Cambogia extract, including its advantages, disadvantages and possible risks according to independent studies.

In this article you will discover, among other things:

  • How the Garcinia Cambogia hype arose
  • Exactly what the active ingredient HCA does
  • Whether Garcinia Cambogia can help with weight management and weight loss
  • The potential side effects of Garcinia Cambogia
  • 3 ways to lose weight without weight loss supplements

What’s Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia is a collective name for specific trees. Garcinia Cambogia is a tropical fruit that grows particularly in Southeast Asia and India.

The skin of the fruit is used, among other things, to flavour fish curries and preserve food.

There is also a Garcinia Cambogia Ultra fruit which comes from South America.

The Garcinia tree grows very slowly, and after 15 years, can bear tropical fruits two to three times a year that can grow up to 5 centimeters in size. This gives rise to fruits that are reminiscent of a pumpkin on the outside. On the inside they look very different.

The fruit is also called Garcinia gummi-gutta or Malabar tamarind. Garcinia gummi-gutta is a small greenish, pumpkin-shaped fruit.

The skin of the fruit can be up to 1.5 centimeters thick, but once you have removed it, you will find up to 8 seed coats that are very juicy. The taste reminds a bit of lychee, they have a slightly sweet and sour taste.

The fruit is so sour that it is generally not eaten fresh, but rather used for its sour taste in cooking (source).

In some villages in Malaysia, it is also used to make a soup that is eaten before main meals because of its appetite-suppressing properties.

The fruits were mainly eaten by the locals until someone came up with a different idea…

How does Garcinia Cambogia work?

There are several theories on how Garcinia Cambogia weight loss can promote ranging from ‘suppressing the appetite’ to ‘preventing fat storage’.

Manufacturers use an extract of the skin of the fruit as an ingredient for so-called ‘slimming supplements’.

The special thing about Garcinia Cambogia is that the skin contains high concentrations of a substance called hydroxycitric acid (in English: Hydroxy Citric Acid) (often abbreviated to HCA). Many people claim that HCA has several benefits for weight loss and general health.

The specific extract used in Garcinia Cambogia supplements is called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA, or hydroxycitric acid (in English: Hydroxy Citric Acid) is the active ingredient in the crust of the Garcinia Cambogia fruit. This substance has been studied for its effect on appetite (source).

HCA is claimed to have several benefits for weight loss and overall health (source, source).

Garcinia Cambogia should help with losing weight in three ways:

  • Appetite suppression
  • Prevent excess carbohydrates in your body from being put into fat
  • Prevent emotional eating by increasing serotonin production

All these health claims make Garcinia Cambogia an interesting supplement to try. But what does science say about Garcinia Cambogia?

Blood sugar level

First of all, you should know that the results of several studies are divided on the effects of Garcinia Cambogia.

Several studies show that Garcinia Cambogia extract slows glucose uptake in the stomach and intestines (source, source).

The net effect of this is a decreased blood sugar level (and subsequent insulin) after consuming food.  As a result, there is an indirect effect on appetite suppression.

This happens because large peaks and troughs in blood sugar and insulin levels induce feelings of tension or hunger. A stable blood sugar level, on the other hand, reduces the appetite (source, source).

Appetite

Scientists have looked at whether HCA, the active ingredient of Garcinia Cambogia, affects the suppression of appetite. In animal studies, HCA appears to reduce appetite. This led to weight loss in animals (source, source).

The effect of Garcinia Cambogia on appetite suppression may be due to the increase of serotonin in the brain (source).

Fat production

Another health claim is that Garcinia Cambogia ‘inhibits fat production’ in our body.

So how does this work? HCA blocks an enzyme we call adenosine triphosphate citrate glyase. This is quite a mouthful, so let’s call it ATP citrate glyase. ATP citrate glyase is an essential enzyme for the synthesis of fatty acids.

In particular, it plays an important role in the conversion of carbohydrates into fat storage (lipogenesis). Because HCA blocks this enzyme, Garcinia Cambogia extract suppresses lipogenesis, which probably translates into reduced fat storage (source, source).

Although hydroxycitric acid appears to be a promising experimental weight control tool, studies in humans are limited and the results are contradictory (source). You’ll read about that in a minute.

Garcinia Cambogia and Dr. Oz Show

Garcinia Cambogia is not completely new on the market, but only took off after a broadcast of Dr. Oz

In The Dr. Oz Show, the controversial doctor Mehmet Oz Garcinia announced Cambogia to the general public. He promoted supplements with Garcinia Cambogia and interviewed a woman who claimed to have lost 4.5 kg with the supplement.

In November 2012, Doctor Oz said that Garcinia Cambogia “could be the magic ingredient that allows you to lose weight without diet or exercise (source)”. The supplement was touted as a pill that could help you lose pounds without having to do anything.

Dr. Oz was accused in 2016 of making unfounded statements about Garcinia Cambogia and other products in his TV show (source).

Although Dr. Oz has never specifically advertised a Garcinia Cambogia supplement brand, his image is often used to help promote the sale of supplements. After his broadcast on Garcinia Cambogia, sales of the supplement shot up like a rocket (source).

Smart HCA

Slim HCA is a weight loss supplement that contains only natural ingredients. The product advertises mainly with the claim that it helps the user to control the appetite.

Slim HCA contains 250 mg HCA per capsule, obtained from the Garcinia Cambogia fruit. For weight loss, the makers recommend taking two capsules of Slim HCA daily.

Crystal Garcinia

Crystal Garcinia is another popular slimming remedy that has come overblowing from America. The supplement contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA) to “burn fat and prevent the formation of fat”.

In the case of Crystal Garcinia is also claimed that HCA works as an appetite suppressant so you consume less calories. The capsules should be taken with water.

The manufacturer of Crystal Garcinia makes a lot of claims with no evidence to support them.

Natusor Garcinia Cambogia 60%HCA

Garcinia cambogia 60% HCA from Natusor are slimming pills with several natural ingredients.

It is a supplement containing HCA (1000 mg Garcinia Cambogia extract per 2 capsules with a high dose of green tea 150 mg green tea extract per 2 capsules) .

The capsules of Natusor Garcinia Cambogia 60%HCA should be taken three times a day.

Garcinia Cambogia available?

Here are the most popular Garcinia Cambogia producs available on amazon;

Is Garcinia helping Cambogia lose weight?

The key question of this article is whether Garcinia Cambogia can help with losing weight.

Knowing how the extract supposedly works is useful, does it actually cause weight loss? And if so, how much?

Despite the hype, there are not many recent, reliable studies that have been able to confirm its effectiveness.

Below are some findings from various human studies:

In a small study, overweight female participants were given a Garcinia Cambogia extract or a placebo for 60 days (source). The triglyceride levels (a type of fat in your blood) of the women who received Garcinia Cambogia decreased by almost a third.

Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood and high triglyceride levels can increase the risk of heart disease. However, the HDL cholesterol of the participants (the ‘good cholesterol’) and the LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad cholesterol’) total cholesterol and body weight did not change.

In 1998 Heymsfield published the first randomized controlled study on the effectiveness of Garcinia Cambogia in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

His research, conducted by the Obesity Research Center of Columbia University, looked at 135 obese male and female participants aged between 18 and 65.

The participants were divided into two groups. One group got Garcinia Cambogia and the other half a placebo three times a day before the meal.

Both groups ate a high-fiber diet and returned every two weeks for evaluation. At the end of the 12-week study, there were no significant differences in weight loss between the two groups. He found no advantages of the supplement over weight loss (source).

Heymsfield, who is still researching supplements that can promote weight loss, says that since then several studies have been published on Garcinia Cambogia, with almost all the same negative results.

But that has not stopped marketers and manufacturers from continuing to promote the supplement. In an interview with Consumer Reports, Heymsfield says: “There are no credible studies showing that garcinia Cambogia causes weight loss in humans. (source)”

In a 2001 study, the researchers studied 11 men (small sample size) with a 2-week supplementation of HCA or HCA plus MCT (medium-chain triglycerides as found in coconut oil). The men were allowed to choose their own meals but were served the same snacks with the same amount of calories every day. What were the results of the research?  HCA supplementation did not result in more weight loss than the men on a placebo (source).

The researchers of the above study did a similar study with 7 men and 14 women and again saw that many participants lost weight, but those with HCA supplementation lost no more than those without supplement (source).

From a meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials published in the Journal of Obesity (the official journal of The Obesity Society), the researchers found that Garcinia Cambogia showed no statistically significant long-term effects on weight loss (source). She discovered that there were a number of short-term effects, but those effects were insignificant.

The conclusion of the researchers was as follows:

“The evidence (of the studies) suggests that Garcinia Cambogia extracts / HCA can create short-term weight loss. However, the magnitude of this effect is small, and no longer statistically significant when only qualitative studies are considered, and its clinical relevance seems doubtful.

Another study from 2013 concluded that the evidence for Garcinia Cambogia was generally “unconvincing” (source).

In summary, Garcinia Cambogia has been researched for weight loss, but there is no convincing evidence that Garcinia Cambogia helps to lose weight or control cholesterol. In general, the effect on weight loss seems to be small.

Do you want to lose weight on a pill?

An effective and powerful supplement that supports weight loss is glucomannan. This is because the fibres of glucomannan absorb a lot of water and thus contribute to a reduced appetite and an increased feeling of satiety.

Find out exactly how glucomannan works here.

The side effects of Garcinia Cambogia

Most studies have concluded that Garcinia Cambogia is safe for use at the recommended doses, or up to 2800 mg HCA per day (source, source).

A review article of Garcinia Cambogia studies showed that “to date, there is no study report or report that demonstrates the direct negative effect of HCA (source)”.

It has to be said, however, that the supplements are not regulated by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that there is no guarantee that the actual content of HCA in the Garcinia Cambogia supplements corresponds to the HCA content on the label. Therefore, make sure that you buy supplements from an approved manufacturer.

Some users experience unpleasant side effects after using Garcinia Cambogia.

The most common side effects are (source, source):

  • Inflated feeling and gas formation: the fat blockers themselves will not be digested properly and will end up in the intestines. Undigested food in combination with the intestinal flora, will cause irreversible gassing and bloating.
  • Nausea and eventually vomiting: by blocking the fat, it stays for a large part in your stomach. Too much fat in the stomach will inevitably cause nausea and eventually vomiting. this nausea will continue until the stomach is empty again, and the fats have left the body by natural means.
  • Diarrhea: The fat released in the body will no longer be able to bind to other substances. That’s why it floats through your body like a kind of oily substance. This can result in uncontrollable diarrhea.
  • Shortage of essential vitamins: many important vitamins are fat-soluble vitamins. Due to the action of the fat blockers, these vitamins will not, or only partially, be able to do their job. In the long run, symptoms such as lower resistance, problems with your teeth, osteoporosis and even night blindness can occur.
  • Shortage of good, healthy fats: Fat blockers do not know the difference between good and bad fats. As a result, there is a good chance that you will have to deal with a shortage of good fats such as Omega-3. This can have major consequences, especially for your resistance.
  • Testicular shrinkage: animal studies have shown that a very high intake of Garcinia Cambogia can lead to testicular atrophy. Studies in rats have shown that Garcinia Cambogia can also have a negative influence on sperm production (source, source).

Serious side effects

Although rare, there are also reports of serious side effects from the use of Garcinia Cambogia extract. These include liver damage and serotonin poisoning.

Liver disorders

A 52-year-old woman experienced liver failure after supplementation of Garcinia Cambogia (source). The lady in question was getting sicker and sicker and eventually needed a liver transplant because of liver failure. There’s no definitive evidence that this was due to the supplement she took.

Scientists did investigate this incident and came to the conclusion “that Garcinia Cambogia was the most likely cause of liver failure (source). There have also been several cases of liver damage in people who used Hydroxycut, a supplement that also contains HCA (source, source).

Serotonin syndrome

Garcinia cambogia can help increase the amount of serotonin in the body. A woman who used Garcinia cambogia also took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). As a result, she suffered from serotonin syndrome and suffered from hypertension and rapid heart rhythms (source).

If you have any medical conditions or are taking any medication, always be careful and consult a doctor before taking this supplement.

Is Garcinia Cambogia extract safe for consumption?

Taking Garcinia cambogia for a short period of time (12 weeks or less) seems safe for most people. Despite the fact that there are mild and cases of very serious side effects observed when using Garcinia Cambogia, they are also very rare.

The vast majority of people who use Garcinia Cambogia extract do not suffer from side effects.

Most studies on Garcinia Cambogia, including randomized, controlled studies, conclude that the extract is safe for human consumption (source, source).

On the other hand, the safety studies do not last longer than 12 weeks, so the long-term safety profile of Garcinia Cambogia extract is unknown (source).

If you do decide to try Garcinia Cambogia, choose a supplement that contains 50-60% hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Recommended dosages may vary from brand to brand. In general, it is recommended to take 500 mg three times a day 30-60 minutes before meals.

It is always best to follow the dosage instructions on the label.

In summary: Like almost all medicines and supplements, Garcinia Cambogia has potential side effects. Most side effects are mild to moderate, but in rare cases, there have been serious side effects. Apart from that, most studies claim that the supplement is safe.

Conclusion: does Garcinia Cambogia work?

Science does not support the claims made about Garcinia Cambogia. Does Garcinia Cambogia extract work? Probably not. And if it works, it doesn’t do much.

If we look at the studies done on Garcinia Cambogia, we can conclude that the effect on weight loss is nil.

There are some animal studies suggesting weight loss. However, there is very little evidence that Garcinia Cambogia is effective for people who want to lose weight.

How to lose weight without supplements

If you want to lose weight there are also effective ways to reduce weight and prevent weight gain in the future, this without pills or supplements.

Tip #1: Avoid all added sugars and refined carbohydrates

You will be aware that sugar is one of the major culprits of obesity, in addition to overeating.

Many people, therefore, switch from white, refined sugar to natural sugars such as honey and maple syrup. But you have to realize that this makes almost no difference to your body. Sugar remains sugar.

The only advantage of natural sugar, such as honey, lies in the fact that you also get a lot of good vitamins and minerals. And with refined carbohydrates and added sugars, that is no longer the case at all.

But in the end, you have to pay even more attention to the hidden sugars. These sugars, shielded by all kinds of beautiful names, can be found in many industrial products that are on the shelf at the super around the corner. Rather go for the more pure products, without unnecessary additives. Ok, it’s a little more expensive, but always cheaper than most diet pills.

In my video I tell more about the dangers of added sugar:

Healthy eating means conscious eating. Preparing food on the basis of fresh products. So this means that you have to teach yourself to read lists of ingredients when you go shopping. Don’t forget to bring your glasses with you, because the letters are sometimes painfully small.

Tip #2: Start with more exercise and sports

Depending on your current condition, it is advisable to at least start moving more. Losing weight in sports works much better than taking supplements with a dubious effect.

Losing weight and staying at a healthy weight are two different things that dieters often struggle with. Going to the gym to lift weights will help you burn calories and speed up your metabolism. It helps maintain your dry muscle mass and also leads to a higher metabolism.

You can go walking or jogging. But even better is to subscribe to a gym and burn calories. Not to become a world weightlifting champion, but to work a bit more on your muscles under supervision. Because growing muscle mass means that your body needs more calories at rest. You create your own calorie-burning body, even if you hang out on the couch for a good movie.

And if you don’t dare on your own, you can of course call on friends and family to support you. You can also consider calling in professional help. Of course, this starts with the general practitioner, but he or she can call in a movement expert or a dietician or other specialist for you. You’re never alone!

Tip #3: Get a good night’s sleep

Numerous studies have found a link between lack of sleep and obesity, but a recent study by the University of Colorado has shown that in just five nights you can increase your waist circumference due to lack of sleep (source).

“People who had five hours of sleep per night in a simulated working week gained nearly two pounds (1 kg). ” says Kenneth Wright, director of Laboratory of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of Calorado.

“Just getting less sleep won’t in itself lead to weight gain. But when people don’t get enough sleep, it leads to them eating more than they actually need,” says Wright (source).

A lack of sleep can disrupt your metabolism and encourage you to eat more, especially when you lie thoughtlessly on the couch in the evening and watch TV or surf the internet. Sleep is just as important for your health as healthy meals and sufficient daily physical activity.

Do you want to lose weight on a pill?

An effective and powerful supplement that supports weight loss is glucomannan. This is because the fibers of glucomannan absorb a lot of water and thus contribute to reduced appetite and an increased feeling of satiety.

Fan of everything health and fitness related. My mission is to share my knowledge and experience with as many people as possible and help them to find their ideal path to perfect health.

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