The Truth About Garcinia Cambogia (Miracle Fruit or Scam?)
Have you ever heard of Garcinia Cambogia? It is a tropical fruit that claims to help support weight loss. It is a citrus fruit that comes from Southeast Asia. Although many people have turned to this fruit as a weight loss supplement, scientific research behind the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia for weight loss has been mixed. (1)
“Does garcinia Cambogia live up to its hype? Maybe a little, but it might not be worth it.” (2)
What you Need to Know About Garcinia Cambogia
- It’s a citrus fruit that has been historically used for cooking, but more recently use for weight loss.
- It is an extract from the fruit rind hydroxycitric acid (HCA).
- This fruit can be purchased in most health food stores, or online as a pill or in powder form.
- You will sometimes find this listed as an ingredient in some snack bars in health food stores.
- Even though garcinia cambogia is a plant and is therefore viewed as natural, does not necessarily make it effective or safe.
Health Claims of Garcinia Cambogia & Are These Claims True?
This plant extract has been the topic of conversation as to whether or not the health claims stand true. Some of the health claims include:
1. The acid HCA in Garcinia Cammbogia can help to make you feel full, which would reduce your appetite, and affect metabolism.
Fact or Fiction: When it comes to whether or not the HCA plays a role in making you feel more full or not is not very conclusive. There have been no human studies that have been able to replicate some of the studies that have tested positive for suppressing rodents appetite. The bottom line is that there just isn’t enough evidence to prove that garcinia cammbogia can help you to feel full, and reduce appetite.
2. Garcinia cambogia can help to lower body weight
Fact or Fiction: JAMA published a 12 week study that was randomized and found that supplementing with garcinia cambogia did not cause a drastic difference in weight loss or even a decrease in ones fat mass.
3. Garcinia cambogia can speed up metabolism.
Fact or Fiction: When it comes to this health claim, and increased metabolism actually does have some evidence to back it up. Some evidence has shown that supplementing with HCA, the acid in garcinia cambogia can help to speed up fat metabolism. HCA has also been shown to block an enzymes called citrate lyase, which is one of the enzymes your body uses in order to make fat. At the same time, this enzyme raises serotonin in the brain which can result in you feeling less hungry.
4. Garcinia cambogia can enhance athletic performance.
Fact or Fiction: One particular study was able to show that garcinia cambogia may be able to increase the amount of time it takes to reach exhaustion during physical activity and exercise.
5. Garcinia cambogia can improve cholesterol levels.
Fact or Fiction: Some studies have shown that garcinia cambogia can help to improve cholesterol by reducing the bad cholesterol, LDL and raising HDL cholesterol which is the kind we want more of. Although garcinia cambogia has been shown to improve cholesterol it is important to know that this should not be used if you are currently taking a cholesterol medication.
6. Garcinia cambogia can help control Type II Diabetes
Fact or Fiction: Studies performed on mice showed that mice that received garcinia cambogia had lower insulin levels than the mice that did not receive garcinia cambogia. The studied showed that garcinia cambogia may make it easier for your body to actually use glucose. This however would not be worth it if you are currently taking medication to control your blood sugar, because mixing the two can cause you blood sugar to become so low that it actually reaches a dangerous point.
Contraindications & Side Effects
Although garcinia cambogia may have some scientific research to back some of it’s health claims it is important to know that there is not enough evidence to prove that HCA is safe for long term use. The studies that have been done on garcinia cambogia have never been any longer than 12 weeks, so the health risks of supplementing with garcinia cambogia long term are unknown.
Possible Side Effects:
As with any medication, or supplement natural or not there are generally going to be some kind of side effects that you will want to be aware of before taking it. Another important thing to know is that using garcinia cambogia with antidepressants can pose serious health risks. Combining the two can potentially cause a serotonin toxicity. This can happen since both antidepressants and garcinia can increase seritonin. Before taking any supplement you will also want to be sure that it does not interfere with any current medications you may be on. If you are thinking about supplementing with garcinia cambogia check with you doctor first, and remember that dietary supplements are not actually approved by the FDA.
- Dry mouth
- Upset stomach
The Bottom Line on Garcinia Cambogia
If you decide to supplement with garcinia cambogia it’s best to look at your current situation. Is it worth the possible side effects, or worth the risk that it may not even work? Many of the health claims are not backed by enough scientific research to make the claim true. When it comes down to it, there is truly no magical potion to help with weigh loss. Weight loss comes from hard work, improved dietary habits, and exercise. If you are looking to boost your metabolism or athletic performance garcinia cambogia may be beneficial if you take it along side of living a healthy lifestyle and are able to supplement without any other medication interactions. At the end of the day, there is still no pill that is going to magically work as a quick fix, you have to make the changes first and supplementing if appropriate can sometimes be complimentary to your healthy lifestyle.