Garcinia cambogia is a small, pumpkin-shaped, yellow or greenish fruit.
The fruit is so sour that it is generally not eaten fresh but rather used in cooking.
Garcinia cambogia supplements are made from extracts of the fruit’s peel.
The peel of the fruit contains high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), an active substance that has been shown to have some weight loss properties
The supplements generally contain 20–60% HCA. Nevertheless, studies show that those with 50–60% HCA may provide the most benefit.
How Does It Aid Weight Loss?
There are two main ways that garcinia cambogia is thought to aid weight loss.
1. May Reduce Your Appetite
Studies in rats show that those given garcinia cambogia supplements tend to eat less.
Similarly, some human studies have found that garcinia cambogia suppresses appetite and makes you feel full throughout the day.
Its mechanism isn’t fully known, but rat studies suggest that the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia can increase serotonin in the brain.
Since serotonin is a known appetite suppressant, higher blood levels of serotonin could reduce your appetite.
These effects may depend on each individual.
2. May Block Fat Production and Reduce Belly Fat
Most importantly, garcinia cambogia impacts blood fats and the production of new fatty acids.
Human and animal studies show that it may lower high levels of fat in your blood and reduce oxidative stress in your body
One study also suggests it may be especially effective at reducing the accumulation of belly fat in people who are overweight.
In one study, moderately obese people took 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia daily for eight weeks and drastically improved several risk factors for disease:
- Total cholesterol levels: 6.3% lower
- “Bad” LDL cholesterol levels: 12.3% lower
- “Good” HDL cholesterol levels: 10.7% higher
- Blood triglycerides: 8.6% lower
- Fat metabolites: 125–258% more excreted in the urine
The main reason for these effects may be that garcinia cambogia inhibits an enzyme called citrate lyase, which plays an important role in the production of fat.
By inhibiting citrate lyase, garcinia cambogia is thought to slow or block fat production in your body. This may reduce blood fats and lower your risk of weight gain — two major disease risk factors.
Other Health Benefits
Animal and test-tube studies suggest that garcinia cambogia may also have some anti-diabetes effects, including:
- Decreasing insulin levels
- Decreasing leptin levels
- Reducing inflammation
- Improving blood sugar control
- Increasing insulin sensitivity
If you have a medical condition or are taking any medications, consult your doctor before taking this supplement.
Some Facts about Garcinia cambogia
A supplement produced from an exotic fruit, garcinia cambogia, is the latest weight-loss craze. But the Internet and television are filled with misinformation and hype. Let’s take a look at facts about garcinia cambogia.
1. Garcinia cambogia is grown in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and parts of Africa.
2. It’s not technically called garcinia cambogia anymore. The tree has a new proper name: Garcinia gummi-gutta.
3. Other names for it are: red mango, Malabar tamarind, pot tamarind, brindal berry, gambooge, and kokum butter oil tree.
4. The fruit of the garcinia cambogia looks like a multi-lobed pumpkin, and is usually green, yellow, or red.
5. It’s normally the size of a large tomato but can grow to grapefruit size.
6. The sour flesh of the garcinia cambogia will pucker your lips. It’s often pickled and used as a condiment.
7. After it’s sun-dried and smoked, the blackened fruit, called kodampoli, gives a tart, smoky flavor to curries. It’s most common in fish curry.
8. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the seeds have a 30 percent fat content. The seeds are sometimes used as a substitute for ghee, clarified butter that’s a common ingredient in Indian food.
9. A number of health claims are made about garcinia cambogia extract. Among the conditions people use it for are: diabetes, cancer, ulcers, diarrhea, and constipation.
10. Its biggest claim to fame is that extract supplements can help speed up weight loss, reduce appetite, and boost exercise endurance.
11. Garcinia cambogia contains a compound called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) that may inhibit an enzyme that helps your body store fat. Theoretically, the fat would instead be burned as calories.
12. Garcinia cambogia is available in capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids. Capsules should be taken on an empty stomach, 30 minutes to an hour before a meal.
13. Side effects of garcinia cambogia may include: headache, nausea, dizziness, and dry mouth.
14. It isn’t known if garcinia cambogia is safe during pregnancy or while you’re breastfeeding, so it’s best to discontinue use of the supplement during these times.
Garcinia cambogia may cause a decrease in blood sugar levels. People who have diabetes should discuss this with their doctor before taking the supplement.
15. People with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia should not take garcinia cambogia because it increases acetycholine levels in the brain. Many people with these conditions are given medications to lower acetycholine levels.
16. Garcinia cambogia may interfere with the following medications and supplements: iron, potassium, calcium, antidepressants, statins, montelukast (Singulair), and warfarin (Coumadin).
17. As with other nutritional supplements, keep in mind that garcinia cambogia is not monitored by the FDA for safety and effectiveness.
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