Garcinia Cambogia Extract: Can It Really Help You Lose Weight?

by Dr. Ahmed Zayed on December 5, 2018

The weight loss supplement industry is thriving more than ever before, estimated to grow by 4.8% to 7.2% per year (1). The industry is already worth over $70.3 billion (2), and people from all over the world are rushing to online and physical supplement stores to get their hands on a product that might help them lose weight.

One of the major issues that people face when they reach a supplement store is the fact that there are simply too many different options on the shelves. When each of these supplements claims to contain the perfect formula to help you lose more weight in a shorter amount of time, how do you really know which one you should buy? Unfortunately, even though every supplement claims to be better than all of the other ones that you can buy, only a handful of them can really give you the results that you desire.

Hundreds of different natural extracts have already been presented to be useful in reducing body weight, but many of them do not have significant scientific evidence to back up the claims that have been made. Garcinia Cambogia might well be the most popular natural weight loss supplement to hit the shelves, but the ingredient remains a controversial topic. While some say it works wonders, others say it is a complete waste of your money. Scientific evidence is available to support some claims, but these studies present limited findings.

In this post, we are going to take a closer look at what Garcinia Cambogia is, why people are raving about this weight loss supplement, what scientific studies say about its effectiveness, and we are going to look at some possible side-effects that you should keep in mind if you want to give supplements that utilize this ingredient a try.

What Is Garcinia Cambogia And What Claims Have Been Made About This Natural Extract?

We should first take a look at what exactly Garcinia Cambogia is before we consider how it works, what it can do for you, and if there are any possible dangers you should know about. Even though these supplements have become excessively popular over the last decade or so, most people still do not fully understand what this ingredient is.

Garcinia Cambogia is a fruit that is classified as citrus. It is native to the South Asian region. The fruit is also called the Garcinia Gummi-Guta and is used in a variety of ways in food, as well as in supplements. When it comes to weight loss, it is the rind of the Garcinia Cambogia fruit that is used in the preparation methods of these products, due to the natural compounds and chemicals that are contained in the fruit’s rind. The Garcinia Cambogia fruit is small and has an appearance similar to a pumpkin.

Supplements that contain Garcinia Cambogia extracts are mainly promoted to help the user lose weight. Medical experts have suggested different ways in which the plant extract could assist in reducing body weight among people who take supplements that contain this fruit extracts as an active ingredient. The majority of the benefits associated with the Garcinia Cambogia fruit extract is claimed to be due to the presence of a natural chemical found in the fruit rind, known as Hydroxycitric Acid, or HCA for short.

Scientists who specialize in the development of natural supplements claim that Hydroxycitric Acid contains anti-obesity properties (3). What this means is that the supplement is expected to reduce body weight and help a person who is currently obese lose weight to the point where they can reach a healthier and more ideal total weight.

Different suggestions have been made in regards to how the Hydroxycitric Acid is able to yield these anti-obesity effects. There are many experts that believe the supplement is able to inhibit the activity of a specific enzyme that creates fat in the body, which is then distributed to different areas like the stomach, legs, buttocks, and arms. When fat production is halted, or at least reduced, it means the food a person eats will not cause them to gain as much weight as they would without using a supplement that contains Garcinia Cambogia extracts.

Additionally, suggestions have also been made that the Hydroxycitric Acid found in the rind of a Garcinia Cambogia food can regulate the secretion of serotonin in the user’s body. Serotonin is a hormone that plays several crucial roles in the body – and one of these roles include the regulation of the user’s satiety and appetite. Thus, the idea behind this “weight loss theory” of Garcinia Cambogia is that the regulation of serotonin production would result in a lower appetite and, in turn, the user will eat less food.

Other claims have also been made in regards to the Garcinia Cambogia plant and, as scientists make more discoveries with this plant’s active compounds, supplements are increasingly starting to target markets outside the weight loss sector when it comes to using the ingredient in supplements.

In addition to possibly providing effects in the body that may lead to more effective weight loss, the supplement has also been suggested to be effective for:

  • Reducing inflammation in the body
  • To reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and to increase levels of HDL cholesterol
  • To help reduce triglyceride levels in the blood system
  • To assist in the regulation of blood glucose levels, making it a possibly effective solution for people with diabetes who are looking to lose weight

Some experts also believe that the active compounds in this fruit extract have properties that can fight against parasitic worms, as well as against cancer cells. Furthermore, there have also been suggestions that Garcinia Cambogia extracts may possess anticholinesterases effects. This means that extracts of this plant could reduce acetylcholine breakdown in the brain and possibly be useful in the treatment and prevention of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

What Does Scientific Studies Say About The Effectiveness Of Garcinia Cambogia Extracts?

Many scientific studies have been performed in order to help the general population understand whether or not Garcinia Cambogia is, indeed, an effective supplement that can be used to deliver effective results in weight loss. In one publication (4), scientists explain that at the moment, the results are mixed in terms of whether Garcinia Cambogia is effective or not. They do note that there have been studies in the past where positive results were noted among participants.

In one study (5), scientists looked at how Garcinia Cambogia affected the energy intake, or calorie consumption, among a group of participants. There were two groups of participants involved in the study. After the study, participants who took the Garcinia Cambogia supplements had a reduction in their daily energy intake that varied between 15% and 30%, which was quite significant compared to the placebo group. Body weight among the participants who took the supplements provided by the scientific researchers also experienced a slight reduction in their body weight, but this could have been attributed to the reduced daily caloric intake among the Garcinia Cambogia group.

In addition to the energy intake of the participants affected and, of course, the reduction in their weight, another major benefit that was noted among the group that took the Garcinia Cambogia supplements were that their appetite was also reduced. This would be the primary factor behind the fact that these participants started to eat less. As their satiety was improved after each meal, compared to the placebo group, the Garcinia Cambogia group were less likely to binge eat during the day or get hungry between their meals. These individuals were, of course, also less likely to overeat when time had come for breakfast, lunch, or perhaps dinner.

When caloric intake is reduced, it also makes it easier for a person to create a negative balance that would ultimately lead to weight loss – where their daily intake of calories falls below the number of calories they exert.
Are There Any Side-Effects That You Should Know About?

Even though some studies have provided positive results in terms of how effective Garcinia Cambogia extracts could be in helping a person lose weight and even to provide them with other benefits, several side-effects have also been noted among people who have used supplements with this active ingredient.

In one scientific publication (6), a female patient, age 57, presented signs of liver problems and was diagnosed with acute hepatitis after several tests were performed by the patient. After extensive data was extracted and a full medical examination was conducted, the physicians in charge linked the case of the patient’s hepatitis to the use of a supplement that contained Garcinia Cambogia.

The patient was asked to stop taking the supplement. The symptoms started to reside after the patient stopped taking the supplement. Further evidence pointed to Garcinia Cambogia as a cause of liver-related problems when the same symptoms started to develop in the patient again when she decided to start taking the supplement at a later date again.

There is another scientific study (7) where a patient came into a hospital unit presenting multiple symptoms and was later diagnosed with hepatic failure. After numerous tests were performed on the patient, the doctors also linked the cause behind the hepatic failure to the use of Garcinia Cambogia supplements that the patient reported taking during a period prior to the development of these symptoms. The side-effects caused by these supplements were severe at a level where the patient had to undergo transplantation in order to treat the patient’s hepatic failure.

In addition to the fact that Garcinia Cambogia supplements have now been associated with liver damage and possibly hepatic failure, it should be noted that there are several common side-effects that may also be experienced by people who rely on these products to help them lose weight

Some of the more common side-effects (8) associated with the use of these supplements include:

  • Nausea, which may be accompanied by vomiting in rare cases
  • An upset stomach, which may lead to stomach cramps and pain
  • Diarrhea is another possible side-effect, especially during the first few days of use
  • Dry mouth is relatively common, which may lead to additional complications
  • Dizziness and headaches are also possible

Conclusion: Is Garcinia Cambogia A Safe And Effective Weight Loss Supplement?

While Garcinia Cambogia has been recommended as a weight loss supplement by world-famous physicians and even some celebrity doctors, such as Dr. Oz, the supplement still lacks appropriate scientific evidence to make a final conclusion as to whether or not patients should opt for tablets with this ingredient if they want to lose weight.

Limited evidence has suggested that the supplement may provide patients with improvements in their weight loss program, but the results were mostly insignificant. Some studies have also noted adverse effects, which need to be taken into account before relying on Garcinia Cambogia supplements for weight loss.

References

(1) https://blog.marketresearch.com/top-6-trends-for-the-weight-loss-market-in-2018
(2) http://businessresearcher.sagepub.com/sbr-1946-105904-2881576/20180305/the-diet-industry
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25732350
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3748738/
(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12037659
(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/30147968/?i=3&from=Garcinia%20cambogia
(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5143754/
(8) https://www.rxlist.com/consumer_garcinia/drugs-condition.htm

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