The Surprising Truth about Garcinia Cambogia Based on Science

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The Truth about Garcinia Cambogia Based on Science

Many people are interested in finding out the truth about garcinia cambogia because of conflicting reviews about its health benefits. Many scientific studies indicate that garcinia cambogia supplements help to lose weight and reduce body fat. There are also claims that garcinia cambogia extracts are beneficial in lowering cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels. However, some research into the effect of garcinia cambogia on health indicates that it could affect liver function.

Because of these contradictory claims, many people wonder: “Is it safe to take garcinia cambogia to boost health?”

Using garcinia cambogia for weight loss became popular when Dr. Oz endorsed it as a weight loss supplement. The evidence was based on the fact that garcinia cambogia contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This compound helps a person feel fuller for longer and also reduces lipids (a type of fat in the blood).

In this article, I aim to find out the truth about garcinia cambogia and find out if there are any side effects of taking this supplement. You will also find out how to use garcinia cambogia together with apple cider vinegar to help speed up weight loss.

What is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia cambogia is a fruit that grows in India and Southeast Asia and is popular in local cuisine. The garcinia cambogia plant produces a fruit that looks like a small pumpkin. The journal Fitoterapia says that the fruit’s peel is used in fish curries because of its sour acidic taste. Garcinia cambogia supplements are made from the rind of garcinia cambogia.1

Garcinia cambogia is also called garcinia gummi-gutta, Malabar tamarind, garcinia, or brindle berry.

According to the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, garcinia cambogia extracts contain hydroxycitric acid. It is this compound that has been connected with weight loss, reducing belly fat, improving blood sugar levels, and treating the symptoms of rheumatism.2

What Dr. Oz Said About Garcinia Cambogia And Weight Loss?

In 2012, on his popular TV show, Dr. Oz proclaimed that garcinia cambogia was the “holy grail of fat loss.” He said that it was possible to use this natural supplement as a “fat buster” and a person could lose weight without the need of diet, exercise, or effort. Dr. Oz based his claims on research that pure garcinia cambogia pills suppress appetite and help the body burn fat faster.

However, skeptics point to other studies that show the effect of garcinia cambogia extracts is only minimal on weight loss. This has led many people to question if there is any truth about the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia for weight loss.

Let’s look at what recent research has revealed about the use of garcinia cambogia as a weight-loss supplement.

What Research Says about Garcinia Cambogia for Weight Loss

Does garcinia cambogia work as a weight loss supplement that shows results in a short period of time?

First, it’s good to remember that no weight-loss supplement, including garcinia cambogia, will show results after a week. However, what does scientific research reveal as to taking garcinia cambogia to shed excess pounds quickly?

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Research published in 2018 in the journal BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine reported on the weight-loss effect of garcinia cambogia on humans. Participants took 500 mg garcinia cambogia 2 times a day for 6 months. At the end of the trial, it was reported that many people experienced weight loss and improved blood sugar profiles. The researchers concluded that garcinia cambogia can help reduce weight when taken with glucomannan.3

A review of studies published in 2013 found that many garcinia cambogia and HCA supplements can benefit weight loss. Some of the other benefits were that HCA increase serotonin levels in the brain which contribute to a feeling of fullness. Many garcinia cambogia supplements are a combination of active ingredients to help boost weight loss.2

However, not all research agrees with these results. Dr. Carmen Patrick Mohan on WebMD says that some studies show only less-than impressive results when it comes to weight loss. It is also not possible to say for sure that HCA is the active ingredient that helps reach and maintain healthy weight.4

Garcinia Cambogia Reviews

So, what do users of garcinia cambogia say when posting online reviews of this weight-loss supplement?

A popular garcinia cambogia supplement that contains 95% HCA (750mg garcinia cambogia extract) per capsule had over 4,500 customer reviews. Many users commented that the supplement helped with steady weight loss when used alongside a healthy eating program and exercise. Others said that the supplement helped suppress appetite. However, a few noted that digestive upset was a side effect of garcinia cambogia.

In another product, most users reported that they felt less need to snack between meals and that their energy levels were up. However, a small percentage of users said that they felt no effect on weight loss after using garcinia cambogia for 4 weeks.

Interestingly, many reviews commented that a combination of garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar for weight loss worked for them.

Can Garcinia Cambogia Reduce Belly Fat?

One of the benefits of garcinia cambogia is that it can also help reduce belly fat and visceral fat.

For example, the journal Current Therapeutic Research, Clinical and Experimental reported that HCA from garcinia cambogia extracts can help to reduce body fat mass. Patients took 1000 mg HCA per day for 12 weeks. At the end of the trial, their body weight, BMI, and waist-hip ratio were all reduced. The researchers concluded that garcinia cambogia can help reduce abdominal fat without a rebound effect.5

Other clinical trials have shown that garcinia can help get rid of a build-up of body fat. Garcinia extracts were shown to suppress the accumulation of body fat over a 3-month period.18 One study also found that supplementing the diet with garcinia cambogia was effective in reducing weight when subjects were on a high-fat diet.8

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Other Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia

When using garcinia cambogia to lose weight effectively, you may also notice that garcinia cambogia results in many other health benefits.

Helps lower cholesterol

One of the benefits of taking garcinia cambogia supplements is that it will help lower LDL cholesterol naturally.

According to research published in the Journal of Complementary & Integrative Medicine, the antioxidant effect of garcinia cambogia can help reduce overall levels of cholesterol. After taking garcinia cambogia for 10 weeks, there was a decrease in food intake because it suppressed appetite, and LDL (or, “bad”) cholesterol was lowered. However, “good” cholesterol levels increased and there was a marked increase in antioxidants in the blood.6

Helps to regulate blood glucose

Garcinia cambogia weight-loss pills can also result in improved blood glucose readings and less insulin resistance.

The journal Nutrition Research found that taking HCA extracts can help to regulate insulin function. This means that sugar is used more effectively by the body to convert it into energy. The same study also noted reductions in “bad” cholesterol and increase in serotonin levels.7

Other studies have shown similar results when it comes to glucose tolerance. In 2015, a study found that garcinia cambogia extracts can help to reduce body weight and glucose intolerance.8

Boosts heart health

Because of its overall beneficial effect on reducing lipids, cholesterol, and insulin resistance, garcinia cambogia can also help boost your heart’s health.

In a study published in the journal Current Therapeutic Research, researchers said that obesity was a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and the accumulation of visceral fat. It was found that extracts from garcinia cambogia helped to reduce visceral fat, improve cholesterol blood test readings, and lower body mass index (BMI). This has an overall beneficial effect on the heart.5

The Bottom Line: Does Garcinia Cambogia Work?

From many studies into its benefits, it would seem that taking garcinia cambogia works for many people. Recent studies have shown that it can help reduce feelings of hunger, improve blood work, and help reduce visceral and body fat.

As with any natural supplement, it may not work for everyone. Some short clinical studies have only shown modest results. Also, garcinia cambogia reviews, although generally positive, mention that some have not found it effective as a weight-loss supplement.

How Do You Take Garcinia Cambogia for Weight Loss?

Most manufacturers recommend taking garcinia cambogia for weight loss twice a day. It is usually recommended to take one capsule about 30 minutes before your breakfast and 30 minutes before your evening meal.

What Is the Right Garcinia Cambogia Dosage for Effective Weight Loss?

Different manufacturers recommend various doses to help lose weight quicker. Some supplements are high-dose capsules with about 1,000 mg garcinia cambogia in each capsule. It is also important to check the amount of HCA that each capsule contains.

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Some of the studies mentioned in this article used 1,000 mg garcinia cambogia capsules taken 2 times a day. Researchers found that this dose was effective in reducing body weight in a 12-week period without any adverse effects.5

Other studies have shown that weight loss was achieved using a dose of up to 2,800 mg a day with no ill-effects.9

The website Drugs.com reports that there is even some evidence that a dose of garcinia cambogia up to 4,667 mg a day for 12 weeks can be safe for some people. However, generally, practitioners recommend a maximum dose of 1,500 mg garcinia cambogia per day for safe weight loss and other health benefits.10

Garcinia Cambogia: Liver Side Effects

Most of the controversy associated with side effects of garcinia cambogia are to do with its effect on the liver. Some people have had adverse liver conditions after using supplements containing HCA. So is garcinia cambogia safe to use?

Regarding the effect on the liver, the World Journal of Gastroenterology reported that some people have had liver problems after taking garcinia cambogia supplements. The journal reported that some people suffered liver damage after long-term use. However, the researchers noted that many garcinia cambogia weight-loss supplements contain other ingredients and it’s not possible to say with certainty that garcinia cambogia was the culprit.11

Also, it wasn’t taken into account if any who suffered side effect of garcinia cambogia had pre-existing liver conditions.

It should be noted, however, that many studies into using garcinia weight loss pills have found no connection between the supplement and liver damage. The journal Food and Chemical Toxicology reported that taking up to 2,800 mg per day does not produce any adverse side effects on human or animal subjects.12

Other Side Effects of Garcinia Cambogia

Most of the reported garcinia cambogia side effects are related gastrointestinal issues like stomach cramping, diarrhea, or nausea.

Digestive upset. The Journal of Obesity reported on the success of using garcinia cambogia for weight loss. However, it was noted that people taking HCA supplements were twice as more likely to suffer gastrointestinal upset as the placebo group.13

Some users’ reviews online report conditions like abdominal cramping, nausea, and passing watery stools.

Other side effects. Dr. Carmen Patrick Mohan on WebMD says that some people who take garcinia cambogia report side effects like dry mouth, frequent headaches, or dizziness.4

Interaction with medicines. If you are taking certain medications, you should avoid taking HCA garcinia for weight loss. Some medications that garcinia cambogia can interact with include diabetes medication, cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins), blood-thinning medications, and allergy medication. 4

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Also, WebMD reports that you should avoid garcinia cambogia if you have bipolar disorder or any kind of liver disease.14

Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe?

As this article has shown, many scientific studies into the benefits of garcinia cambogia have shown it to be effective as part of a weight-loss program. However, some people have reported some side effects when using HCA supplements. So, is garcinia cambogia safe to use?

The National Institutes of Health says that garcinia cambogia is safe for most people to use. Many studies have shown that over a 3-month period, no toxic side effects were reported.15

What Brand of Garcinia Cambogia Should You Buy?

When searching online for the best HCA weight-loss supplements to buy, it can be very confusing to know which brands of garcinia cambogia really work.

First, it’s important to read beyond the marketing hype and see what is in the capsules and how users rate the product. Here is a short guide to buying the best garcinia supplements.

  • Reputation. Look at the reputation of the brand selling garcinia cambogia pills. For example, is the product also available to buy in health shops? Or, can you only buy it online? Usually, “bricks-and-mortar” stores have to be more stringent with what they sell.
  • HCA content. The reason that garcinia cambogia works for weight loss is that it contains HCA. So, check the percentage of HCA in each capsule. You should look for supplements containing at least 60% HCA.
  • Other ingredients. Also, check the list of other ingredients. Some garcinia weight-loss supplements are a combination of natural ingredients. Others contain unnecessary fillers and it’s even been reported that some “natural” supplements have “prescription-only” medicine in them! Be careful if ingredient names are difficult to pronounce.
  • Reviews. Also, check out what other users’ reviews of garcinia cambogia are saying about the particular product. For example, do the majority of users report a good effect on reducing satiety and helping to boost weight loss? Or, do many complain of digestive upset when using that specific brand?

Garcinia Cambogia and Apple Cider Vinegar – Can It Help You Lose Weight?

To help make losing weight easier and quicker, you may want to try the apple cider vinegar diet with garcinia cambogia. Apple cider vinegar contains high levels of acetic acid and can help to lose weight.

In a small trial on obese individuals, it was found that apple cider vinegar can help to reduce weight and body fat. Individuals in the study were given a drink with diluted apple cider vinegar. The drink was 500 ml water mixed with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar which was consumed daily. After 12 weeks the trial group had a lower BMI and lower visceral fat than the placebo group.16

Other studies on apple cider vinegar have shown that drinking diluted apple cider vinegar regularly can help to improve insulin resistance and reduce blood sugar levels.17

Garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar drink recipe

You can combine the weight-loss effect of apple cider vinegar and garcinia cambogia. For this, you will need raw, organic apple cider vinegar (e.g., Bragg’s apple cider vinegar is a popular choice) and high-quality garcinia cambogia supplements that provide 1,500 mg per day.

This is what you should do:

  • Mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in an 8 oz. glass of water.
  • Take one garcinia cambogia capsule and swallow with the glass of diluted apple cider vinegar.
  • Take in the morning 30 minutes before breakfast and in the evening 30 minutes before your meal.
  • If you need to take 3 garcinia cambogia capsules to reach the recommended dose of 1,500 mg per day, take one capsule 30 minutes before lunch with a glass of water.

Read my other related articles:

Medical Sources

  1. Fitoterapia. 2015 Apr;102:134-48.
  2. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 751658.
  3. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018; 18: 26.
  4. WebMD. Garcinia cambogia: safe for weight loss?
  5. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp.2003 Sep;64(8):551-67.
  6. J Complement Integr Med.2016 Mar;13(1):9-16.
  7. Nut Res. 2004 Jan;24(1): 45-58.
  8. J Clin Diagn Res.2015 Feb;9(2):BF01-4.
  9. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 197920.
  10. DrugsCom. Garcinia (hydroxycitric acid).
  11. World J Gastroenterol. 2016 Dec 7; 22(45): 10071–10076.
  12. Food Chem Toxicol.2004 Sep;42(9):1513-29.
  13. J Obes. 2011; 2011: 509038.
  14. WebMD. Garcinia.
  15. NCCIH. Garcinia cambogia.
  16. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem.2009 Aug;73(8):1837-43.
  17. Eur J Clin Nut. 2005;59: 983-988.
  18. Food Chem Toxicol. 2005 Mar;43(3): 411-419.
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