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Garcinia Cambogia Supplements: For Weight Management

Garcinia cambogia is a well-known supplement for weight regulation & management. It’s derived from fruit with the same name, Malabar tamarind or Garcinia gummi-gutta. It is a popular weight-loss supplement due to the substantial presence of hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA is an active ingredient in Garcinia cambogia responsible for its weight management benefits.  

According to some research, HCA inhibits the body’s ability to form fat and further reduces your appetite. Excessive weight loss even helps check blood sugar levels and cholesterol.

What is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia cambogia is a tiny, pumpkin-shaped greenish or yellow fruit. The fruit’s peel includes a substantial amount of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), an active substance known for its weight loss properties.  

People take Garcinia Cambogia supplements made using the fruit’s peel extracts for weight loss. These supplements often include 20-60% of hydroxycitric acid. 

Use of Garcinia Cambogia

Here are the main uses of Garcinia Cambogia:

  • Boost in Performance while Exercising: Taking Garcinia cambogia supplements can help you increase your performance while exercising. This effect is due to the presence of hydroxycitric acid (HCA). However, the weight loss results of this supplement are more visible in women compared to men.  
  • Weight Loss: According to research, the impact of Garcinia Cambogia on weight loss is not consistent. A research states that having Garcinia extract with 50% hydroxycitric acid for up to 8-12 weeks does not reduce fat breakdown or energy expenditure in obese people. But as per other research, it may improve weight loss results when taken for 12 weeks. And, taking certain Garcinia products with 60% HCA (orally in three doses for eight weeks) can improve weight loss results. However, other research shows that adding certain Garcinia products to tomato juice or cereal bars and having it for two weeks before lunch and dinner cannot improve weight loss. The reasons for inconsistent results are due to varying doses, formulation of the extract, or duration of the treatment.  

How it Works

The skin or peel of Garcinia cambogia fruit includes a good amount of hydroxycitric acid (HCA). It is a great derivative of citric acid and hence, marketed as a major weight loss supplement. It works either alone or with various other supplements. 

The way HCA works for weight loss is not precisely known, but various theories claim its impact. Some researchers say that it works by blocking the citrate lyase enzyme that interferes with the conversion of unused carbohydrates into fats. However, HCA does not show a similar effect on carbohydrates when tested in a petri dish in a laboratory. So, it’s not proven whether it has the same effect within the body. 

According to another expert, HCA affects other enzymes involved in the processing of carbohydrate metabolisms like intestinal alpha-glucosidase and pancreatic alpha-amylase. Some also believe that it enhances the release of serotonin in the brain while promoting appetite suppression. But the exact reason is not known for its impact on weight reduction. 

When Should You Eat Garcinia Cambogia?

The daily dose of Garcinia Cambogia often depends on a person’s metabolism and body weight. Usually, the standard dose for 50% HCA is suggested to be around 500 to 1500 mg per day. This dosage needs to be taken in parts during the whole day. One may take this supplement before meals to see the best results. 

Here are different situations when you can take Garcinia Cambogia:

  • For Weight Loss: The standard dose of Garcinia Cambogia every day is 500mg to 1500mg. But for weight loss, you can take one pill (1000mg, 50% HCA) one hour before the three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
  • For Appetite Control: One major factor for unwanted fat reduction in the body is excessive snacking between meals. If you want to control food cravings, you can decrease the dose of the Garcinia Cambogia supplement. In this case, take one pill (50% HCA, 1000 mg) after lunch. 
  • For Increased Physical Activity: People who practice intense physical training have to take a substantial diet to meet their energy requirements. However, a substantial diet means more carbohydrates consumption, which means more fat accumulation. Therefore, balance your hunger and body’s food requirement with a higher supplement dose. 

Who Should Not Take Garcinia Cambogia?

You should not take Garcinia Cambogia under the following circumstances: 

  • If you have liver disease, Garcinia may damage the liver or worsen your condition. So, avoid it if you have liver disease. 
  • Don’t consume this supplement if you have undergone surgery. The HCA found in garcinia may impact your blood sugar levels while slowing blood clotting. So, avoid it. 
  • Don’t take it if you take anti-depressants or any other medication, as Garcinia Cambogia can react with the medication.
  • Also, avoid taking it when you are pregnant or breastfeeding to be on the safer side. 

FAQs

Q1: What Does Garcinia Taste Like?

Garcinia cambogia is sour. It is so sour that it may pucker your lips. Therefore, it is not taken in unripe form. It’s used as an ingredient in preparing different dishes. Also consumed in dried form after being properly sun-dried and smoked, this blackened fruit is known as kodampoli, which gives a smoky, tart flavour to curries. 

Natural supplements also have the same impact on your system as the original form. If you don’t like the taste of Garcinia cambogia in its pure form, you can take it as a natural herbal supplement. But it doesn’t have a sour taste like the fruit itself. So, it’s easier to consume.

Q2: What are the Benefits of Garcinia?

Here are the main benefits of having Garcinia Cambogia:

  1. May Decrease Your Appetite

Garcinia Cambogia can suppress your appetite while making you feel full. The mechanism behind its working is not known, but it’s said that the HCA suppresses the appetite while increasing serotonin release in the brain. 

  1. May Decrease Belly Fat and Block Fat Production 

Garcinia cambogia impacts blood fats and the formation of new fatty acids. According to human and animal studies, it can decrease high-fat levels in the blood while decreasing oxidative stress in the system. 

  1. Anti-hyperglycemic Effects

Garcinia Cambogia helps in promoting weight loss while enhancing blood triglyceride levels. It can even reduce the risk of hyperglycemia due to reduced inflammation and enhanced insulin sensitivity.  

  1. Increased Energy & Athletic performance

It is also known to enhance your energy levels and athletic ability, thus helping you perform better. 

Q3: How Much Weight Can You Lose With Garcinia?

On average, it’s seen that Garcinia Cambogia supplement can lead to a weight loss of around 2 pounds (or 0.88 kg) over around 2–12 weeks. Many studies have stated the impact of garcinia on weight loss. However, some studies mention only insignificant weight loss. 

So, Garcinia cambogia supplements can have modest weight loss in certain people. However, its effectiveness is not guaranteed. 

Q4: Is It Safe To Use Garcinia Cambogia While Pregnant?

No solid evidence or medical data supports whether or not it’s safe to take Garcinia Cambogia during pregnancy. But to be on the safer side, you need to avoid using it when pregnant or breastfeeding. 

But if you still want to take it, consult a doctor and go ahead. However, weight loss with medication is not suggested in pregnancy. Make sure to take care of your diet. It is a good and effective way of controlling weight gain in pregnancy. So, keep good control on fats and sugars to control your weight. 

During pregnancy, the body is the only source of nutrition for the baby. And, whatever you eat and drink is likely to affect your baby. Therefore, you need to eat a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy. This is good for you and the growth and development of your baby. 

Q5: What Medications Should You Not Take With Garcinia Cambogia?

 Garcinia cambogia can enhance the level of brain chemicals called serotonin. Even some anti-depressant medications may increase serotonin levels. So, having Garcinia with medications for depression may increase excessive serotonin levels. This can lead to serious side effects like shivering, heart problems, and anxiety.

Garcinia cambogia can also interfere with various medicines and supplements like potassium, calcium, iron, statins, antidepressants, warfarin (Coumadin), and montelukast (Singulair).

Other tricyclic and atypical antidepressants to interact with Garcinia cambogia are: 

  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM and others)
  • Pentazocine (Talwin)
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)