For those looking into supplements or natural extracts that can help with weight loss, you may have heard of Garcinia Cambogia. With so many different names, it can be confusing to find information about this appetite-suppressing fruit.
Luckily, this beginner’s guide will help answer questions you may have about this fruit and its extracts, which are commonly found in many weight loss or fat burner supplements.
What is Garcinia Cambogia?
The Garcinia Cambogia goes by several names. It is also called the Malabar tamarind. Others call it the Bindleberry, the Kudampuli. Garcinia gummi-gutta is the current scientific name.
The Garcinia Cambogia, or gummi-gutta, is a greenish or pale-yellow fruit grown on trees. It looks like a small pumpkin. In size, it can be as small as an orange or as large as a grapefruit. As the fruit is harvested and cured, it takes on a darker brown and sometimes blackish color.
As a tropical fruit, it is grown in Southeast Asian countries, Africa, and India. It is usually used in curries, especially fish curries. The rinds and extracts taken from this fruit are known to be sour, and adult Garcinia Cambogia cannot be eaten directly off the tree, as they are too acidic.
How Does it Work?
Both the rind and extract of the Garcinia Cambogia are used in several different ways to aid the body. The rind of the fruit is known to contain hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, which can help in weight loss.
Primarily, Garcinia Cambogia helps to suppress appetite by controlling processes and balances in the body that affect feelings of hunger. This fruit can help stabilize sugar levels, helping you to feel energetic, and helping your stomach feel fuller longer.
At the same time, stabilizing sugar levels will reduce cravings for sugary foods and other unhealthy snacks. Feeling full for longer periods of time will cause you to eat less than usual or reduce your desire to eat. This means this fruit may also help your portion control.
Keep in mind that Garcinia Cambogia is not to be used to treat blood glucose problems, nor is it a way to manage blood sugar. Talking with professionals about your needs and your body’s sugar levels is an excellent way to gauge whether or not Garcinia Cambogia is good for you.
Aside from controlling appetite through HCA, this fruit helps to improve overall health and weight maintenance. HCA can help to reduce fat absorption, increase metabolism, and lower bad cholesterol levels.
Is it Safe? What are the Side Effects?
The National Institutes for Health suggests that there are minimal to no negative side effects when consuming Garcinia Cambogia. The side effects that have occurred are generally mild. This is partly due to its natural derivation.
The side effects may include headaches, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, and respiratory upset. Some of these side effects may be caused by changes in glucose levels that are not observed and significant reductions in food consumption that go unnoticed.
For those that experience an upset stomach or digestive problems caused by taking a supplement or consuming the fruit, there are different ways to absorb this extract. Creams and patches can be used to absorb the supplement through the skin rather than through the digestive tract.
In very rare cases, this fruit and its extracts may cause changes in mental state and moods. Very few individuals experience irritability, insomnia, manic energy, and increased speed of speech.
The side effects of Garcinia Cambogia increase when combined with other botanical ingredients or taken with other supplements. The chances of negative chemical reactions increase with combinations of ingredients.
Ten cases involving Garcinia Cambogia show damage to the liver and liver toxicity. These individuals were taking a combination of ingredients along with Garcinia Cambogia extracts.
This extract is not safe for those already taking cholesterol medication. Since it can help reduce cholesterol and promote good cholesterol, this extract is ideal for those looking to maintain their cholesterol instead of treat existing conditions. Garcinia Cambogia should be used carefully for those with cholesterol problems and for those who are taking cholesterol medications.
Does it Work for Weight Loss?
Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is the most active ingredient in this fruit. HCA is a salt that comes from the drying and curing process. Traditionally, this salt is used to treat joint pain, arthritis, and stomach issues. This salt is sometimes labeled under different names, like Citrine and Citrulline.
HCA is significantly effective in weight loss for some but not effective in others. When effective, Garcinia Cambogia can help achieve significant weight loss. When less effective, this fruit and its extract may only assist in shedding a few pounds.
What do the Studies Say?
Studies have shown that this fruit’s pulp and rind contain enough HCA to “inhibit lipogenesis, suppress food intake, and reduce weight gain.” However, this fruit’s pulp and extract can cause other chemical reactions in the body that can assist with weight loss or maintenance.
HCA can also interact with citrate lyase, which is an enzyme that is used by the body to build fat. HCA can help block this enzyme, which means it is harder for the body to build fat stores.
Microbiologists note that this fruit minimizes appetite by filling the glycogen levels in the liver and surrounding tissues, which both boosts energy levels and reduces the urge to eat.
Some studies suggest that Garcinia Cambogia can help the body increase the production of serotonin in the brain. This is the chemical that promotes happiness and feelings of calmness and reduced anxiety.
Therefore, those who feel happier with themselves, their bodies, and their environments are less likely to overeat. It can also help those who eat due to negative self-image by promoting positivity. The studies showing this show that increased serotonin occurs in some individuals but not others.
You should discuss Garcinia Cambogia with a medical professional to see if it will work for your body. You can also slowly introduce the extract and track the side effects on your body, appetite, and mood.
The best way to experience results is always a combination of use and fat-burning exercise, as well as a portion or calorie control.
The Bottom Line?
Garcinia Cambogia shows many positive effects on the body and can help with weight maintenance. With that being said, as a natural ingredient, this fruit and its extracts may not work with all body type.
Depending on your body and its balances, you may take Garcinia Cambogia with no positive or negative effects.
For those looking for a natural way to help with portion control, appetite control, overeating, or weight maintenance, Garcinia Cambogia offers a potentially natural way to help you reach your weight goals.
The bottom line is that you have very little to lose when trying Garcinia Cambogia. It is easy to find, and it can be absorbed into the body through a variety of methods. The minimal side effects offer a low-risk supplement that could help you achieve your goals.
Adam Steel is the Chief Editor at Legwork. He is an aspiring personal trainer, sporadic runner, avid gym-goer and is currently training to do his first marathon and a 100-mile sportive.
National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. (2019) “Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss.” NIH, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-HealthProfessional/#en129
Geetha, R. V., Lakshmi, T., & Anitha R. (2011). “Garcinia Cambogia: A Pharmacological Review.” Journal of Pharmacy Research, 4(5), 14, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/74c0/e59a573e6b249e35745422d2af842b188027.pdf