Garcinia cambogia, also known as the Malabar Tamarind, is a small citrus fruit that grows in Southeast Asia, used traditionally to enrich the culinary experience of a meal. Hydroxycitric acid (HCA), extracted from the fruit’s rind, has been used historically for cooking, but its modern use now includes its usage in weight loss.
The HCA in the fruit boosts the fat burning within the body, and also reduces the appetite, according to studies. It appears that an enzyme called citrate lyase, which helps the body in making fat gets blocked. Also, studies have revealed that the levels of the chemical serotonin in the brain get raised, which in turn, makes one feel less hungry.
Garcinia cambogia first came into prominence when recommended highly by a celebrity doctor, on his TV show. It was hailed as a “miracle” in the weight loss industry and has been available in the market in the form of bottled supplements. But as many “miracle” solutions hailed, garcinia cambogia has faced its fair share of criticism, mainly due to the lack of scientific and medical studies that may provide authenticity to the claims being made.
The benefits of garcinia cambogia have been listed as many, but despite its popularity, there is not much scientific evidence yet, to prove these claims. Here are some benefits of garcinia cambogia.
Decreases your appetite
There is not much evidence to prove that it reduces one’s appetite. Even after an extensive examination of the research done and taking into account findings that prove both aspects of this claim, it can be concluded that garcinia cambogia and the HCA present in it, does not have any effect on the appetite of an individual. The benefits of garcinia cambogia have been noticed in rodents and accepted universally, but the same effects have failed to show consistently in humans.
Reduction of body weight
A 12-week study found that supplements of garcinia cambogia didn’t contribute significantly to weight loss or reduction of fat mass. Both the control group and the garcinia cambogia group were placed on a diet comprising low calorie and high fiber.
Another study found that the consumption of garcinia cambogia led to a loss of 2 pounds amongst those who took it, as compared to those who didn’t. But it could not be proved if the loss was solely because of the supplement, or also related to the exercise program and the low calorie diet that was advised. There still has to be conclusive proof before establishing that garcinia cambogia and its supplements, contribute effectively to weight loss.
Increase in metabolism
Garcinia cambogia has been noticed to have an influence on the metabolism of fat in the human body. Some studies published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information have found that humans, as well as mice, have seen an increase in the metabolism of body fat, after supplementing with the HCA in garcinia cambogia.
Enhancement of athletic performance
A study published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information has found that the consumption of garcinia cambogia supplements may delay the time it takes for one to achieve exhaustion during exercising. Another similar study had results indicating that the HCA present in garcinia cambogia, enhanced endurance when running. The tests were carried out on mice, that have a similar genetic makeup as human beings.
Management of Type 2 Diabetes and Cholesterol
Garcinia cambogia has been found to aid the body in the usage of glucose, the sugar that provides energy to the cells. In one study it was noticed that mice that were given garcinia cambogia had lower insulin levels than those that hadn’t. Those suffering with diabetes are particularly interested in these findings. But it must be remembered, that if garcinia cambogia is taken along with a medication that controls blood sugar levels, then the glucose count in your body could become dangerously low.
Some researchers have found that one can improve their cholesterol levels, that is the reduction of triglycerides and LDL (the bad cholesterol), and the increase of HDL (the good cholesterol), by using garcinia cambogia and its supplements. But these must not be used if you’re using prescription medications for cholesterol.
Despite all the claims of garcinia cambogia and its supplements, there have been some mild side effects. Here are some side effects of garcinia cambogia.
- Dry mouth
Interaction with other drugs
Garcinia cambogia and its HCA supplements have been known to interact badly with other medications, such as those for asthma, allergy, pain, and diabetes. Pregnant ladies, those nursing, or suffering from kidney and liver problems, must completely abstain from taking it.
Natural doesn’t always mean safe
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends caution when using garcinia cambogia because part of the allure is that its supplements come from fruit, and thus are natural and safe. However, in 2009, the FDA recalled a product containing garcinia cambogia, as it was causing liver damage.
Always remember, any usage of garcinia cambogia must be started only after consultation with your doctor.