Garcinia Cambogia Really A Weight Reducing Supplement?

Although vigorously marketed and promoted for its weight reducing and cholesterol lowering abilities, scientific evidence in support of these actions of Garcinia cambogia is lacking. At the very best, we opine that at the present moment, the verdict in support of this Garcinia seems to be inconclusive.

Garcinia cambogiaIn the backdrop of alarming rise in the incidence of obesity and ‘life-style’ diseases, weight reduction has assumed paramount importance – for the individual and society as a whole. If you are one of those who have decided to do something about your weight problem, you can choose from a plethora of fat-loss agents now available on the market. Garcinia cambogia is one such fat-loss supplement.

Obesity is now considered a disease and has assumed epidemic proportions (Kim et al., 2011). It has become a major public health concern; governments are spending billions of dollars worth of money to deal with the ill-effects of obesity.

Obesity increases your morbidity (likely-hood to suffer from diseases). Hell, it even increases your chances of early death (Kopelman, 2000; Calle, Thun, Petrelli, Rodriguez, & Heath, Jr., 1999)! It has been shown to cause diabetes, hypertension and other graver cardiovascular diseases.

Weight loss on the other hand, even of a moderate degree, improves quality of life, decreases blood cholesterol levels and reduces chances of you getting cardiovascular disease (Grundy et al., 2004).

In this day and age, therefore, maintaining body-weight within normal range has assumed paramount importance – not only for the individual but society as a whole. Although a number of alternatives are available for inducing weight-loss – surgery, drug therapy, food therapy, physical activity and fat-loss supplements – a combination of physical activity and fat-loss supplements seems to work the best.

Although most manufacturers make tall claims about their ‘fat-loss products’, it is always better to get some research under your belt before you commit to buying a bottle of fat-loss pills.

Garcinia cambogia is one such ‘fat-loss agent’. Discovered in the 1960s, Garcinia cambogia has found its way into weight-loss supplements. Dr Oz has ‘confirmed’ live on Oprah that it is effective and ‘has staked his reputation on Garcinia as an effective, healthy aid to weight loss’. However, you do need to be sure before you use your hard-earned dough to buy it, don’t you?

So, does it really work? What does science have to say about it? Let us investigate!

What is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia cambogia is a sub-tropical plant native to South-east Asia, India and Africa. Known by several names – Gambooge, Brindelberry, Brindall berry, Assam Fruit or Malabar Tamarind – Garcinia cambogia, either alone or in combination with other supplements has recently been making news as a amazing weight-loss agent (Roongpisuthipong, Kantawan, & Roongpisuthipong, 2007; Downs et al., 2005). It is being promoted by manufacturers and marketers as a weight-loss and cholesterol-lowering agent. Owing to these alleged health benefits, some have even gone the extent of calling it ‘the magical plant’.

Although a series of bioactive ingredients are present in Garcinia cambogia, the most important one for weight-loss seems to be Hydroxycitric-acid (HCA). As you may very well guess from its name, HCA is derived from citric acid and is also present in other species like Garcinia indica and Garcinia atroviridis (Roongpisuthipong et al., 2007).

The weight-loss ability of Garcinia cambogia seems to correlate well with the amount of HCA present in the product – anything above 50% is considered good enough.

How Does Garcinia Cambogia Help Reduce my Weight?

Garcinia cambogia allegedly uses several mechanisms to cause weight-loss:

  1. Garcinia cambogia seems to stimulate the secretion of serotonin , increasing its concentration in brain which then plays a crucial role in controlling appetite (Ohia et al., 2002)
  2. It acts on fat-containing cells to cause dispersion of fat globules and their subsequent breakdown (Roy et al., 2007)
  3. Reduction in carbohydrate metabolism – Garcinia cambogia apparently does this by inhibiting hormones like pancreatic alpha amylase and intestinal alpha glucosidase (Yamada, Hida, & Yamada, 2007)

In short, Garcinia cambogia causes weight-loss using the following mechanisms:

  • Appetite suppression
  • Fat dispersion
  • Altered carbohydrate metabolism

Other Health Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia

  1. Lowers blood cholesterol and triglycerides (Amin, Kamel, & Abd Eltawab, 2011) and thus decreases risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
  2. Benzophenones present in Garcinia cambogia helps you fight oxidative stress. Most chronic (longer-term) diseases are associated with some component of stress, for instance atherosclerosis (Rocha & Libby, 2009). By fighting oxidative stress, Garcinia cambogia thus proves beneficial under these circumstances (Kolodziejczyk, Masullo, Olas, Piacente, & Wachowicz, 2009).

In a nutshell, Garcinia cambogia:

  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Helps fight oxidative stress
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease

Dosage and Side-effects of Garcinia Cambogia

Instructions on how to take Garcinia cambogia are usually given on every single bottle. However, there is no scientific basis for the dosage regimen.

As far as side-effects go, Garcinia cambogia is probably safe for use – if in any doubt, consult your doctor before you start taking the supplement. However, it is best to avoid it in pregnancy or if you are a breast-feeding mum.


The Verdict on Garcinia Cambogia

Most scientific studies involving Garcinia cambogia and its apparent weight reducing properties are animal-based (Leonhardt, Hrupka, & Langhans, 2001; Downs et al., 2005). The results, as such, cannot be extrapolated verbatim to humans. In less elegant terms – what works for rats and guinea pigs might not work for us humans!

Although Garcinia cambogia is called ‘the magical plant’ by its promoters – (who claim that it causes weight-loss and lowers cholesterol levels in your bloodstream) scientific evidence in support is lacking. At best, researchers have opined that it MAY have the potential to be a weight-loss agent, but they can’t say for sure (Pittler & Ernst, 2004).

A meta-analysis (a study where they draw conclusion by collecting evidence from numerous scientific studies) conducted in 2010 suggested that while Garcinia cambogia may induce short-term weight-loss, it is of little clinical significance. And, there isn’t enough evidence to go by to label it a weight-loss agent in the strictest sense of the term (Badimon, Vilahur, & Padro, 2010). Further research needs to be conducted in larger number of human volunteers to get to the bottom of the affair, the researchers suggested. A similar meta-analysis conducted the following year concluded that Garcinia cambogia was not as effective as other weight reducing agents like Orlistat (Rucker, Padwal, Li, Curioni, & Lau, 2007; Onakpoya, Hung, Perry, Wider, & Ernst, 2011). This is what the authors of this study had to say – ‘Garcinia extracts/ HCA generate weight loss on the short term. However, the magnitude of this effect is small, is no longer statistically significant’ (Onakpoya et al., 2011).

Another large study with rigorous controls conducted by the WHO ‘found no significant difference in weight-loss between Garcinia cambogia and placebo supplementation’ (WHO Expert Consultation, 2004).

Even the other alleged health benefits of Garcinia cambogia – lowering of cholesterol and triglycerides in blood – are more apparent in animal studies than studies carried out in human beings (Kim et al., 2011; Amin et al., 2011).

Although there does seem to be anecdotal evidence of health benefits of Garcinia cambogia, it cannot be said for sure if it indeed causes weight-loss.

To conclude – celebrity and manufacturers’ claims notwithstanding – we reserve our judgement on this one. In our book, the proof of Garcinia cambogia being an effective weight-loss supplement remains inconclusive until such time that some concrete evidence is unearthed.

Useful References

  • Amin, K. A., Kamel, H. H., & Abd Eltawab, M. A. (2011). Protective effect of Garcinia against renal oxidative stress and biomarkers induced by high fat and sucrose diet. Lipids Health Dis., 10, 6. Online Source
  • Badimon, L., Vilahur, G., & Padro, T. (2010). Nutraceuticals and atherosclerosis: human trials. Cardiovasc.Ther, 28, 202-215. Online Source
  • Calle, E. E., Thun, M. J., Petrelli, J. M., Rodriguez, C., & Heath, C. W., Jr. (1999). Body-mass index and mortality in a prospective cohort of U.S. adults. N Engl J Med, 341, 1097-1105. Online Source
  • Downs, B. W., Bagchi, M., Subbaraju, G. V., Shara, M. A., Preuss, H. G., & Bagchi, D. (2005). Bioefficacy of a novel calcium-potassium salt of (-)-hydroxycitric acid. Mutat.Res., 579, 149-162. Online Source
  • Grundy, S. M., Cleeman, J. I., Merz, C. N., Brewer, H. B., Jr., Clark, L. T., Hunninghake, D. B. et al. (2004). Implications of recent clinical trials for the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III Guidelines. J Am Coll.Cardiol, 44, 720-732. Online Source
  • Kim, J. E., Jeon, S. M., Park, K. H., Lee, W. S., Jeong, T. S., McGregor, R. A. et al. (2011). Does Glycine max leaves or Garcinia Cambogia promote weight-loss or lower plasma cholesterol in overweight individuals: a randomized control trial. Nutr.J, 10, 94. Online Source
  • Kolodziejczyk, J., Masullo, M., Olas, B., Piacente, S., & Wachowicz, B. (2009). Effects of garcinol and guttiferone K isolated from Garcinia cambogia on oxidative/nitrative modifications in blood platelets and plasma. Platelets., 20, 487-492. Online Source
  • Kopelman, P. G. (2000). Obesity as a medical problem. Nature, 404, 635-643. Online Source
  • Leonhardt, M., Hrupka, B., & Langhans, W. (2001). Effect of hydroxycitrate on food intake and body weight regain after a period of restrictive feeding in male rats. Physiol Behav., 74, 191-196.
  • Ohia, S. E., Opere, C. A., LeDay, A. M., Bagchi, M., Bagchi, D., & Stohs, S. J. (2002). Safety and mechanism of appetite suppression by a novel hydroxycitric acid extract (HCA-SX). Mol.Cell Biochem., 238, 89-103. Online Source
  • Onakpoya, I., Hung, S. K., Perry, R., Wider, B., & Ernst, E. (2011). The Use of Garcinia Extract (Hydroxycitric Acid) as a Weight loss Supplement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Clinical Trials. J Obes, 2011, 509038. Online Source
  • Pittler, M. H. & Ernst, E. (2004). Dietary supplements for body-weight reduction: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr., 79, 529-536. Online Source
  • Rocha, V. Z. & Libby, P. (2009). Obesity, inflammation, and atherosclerosis. Nat.Rev Cardiol, 6, 399-409. Online Source
  • Roongpisuthipong, C., Kantawan, R., & Roongpisuthipong, W. (2007). Reduction of adipose tissue and body weight: effect of water soluble calcium hydroxycitrate in Garcinia atroviridis on the short term treatment of obese women in Thailand. Asia Pac.J Clin Nutr., 16, 25-29. Online Source
  • Roy, S., Shah, H., Rink, C., Khanna, S., Bagchi, D., Bagchi, M. et al. (2007). Transcriptome of primary adipocytes from obese women in response to a novel hydroxycitric acid-based dietary supplement. DNA Cell Biol., 26, 627-639. Online Source
  • Rucker, D., Padwal, R., Li, S. K., Curioni, C., & Lau, D. C. (2007). Long term pharmacotherapy for obesity and overweight: updated meta-analysis. BMJ, 335, 1194-1199. Online Source
  • WHO Expert Consultation (2004). Appropriate body-mass index for Asian populations and its implications for policy and intervention strategies. Lancet, 363, 157-163. Online Source
  • Yamada, T., Hida, H., & Yamada, Y. (2007). Chemistry, physiological properties, and microbial production of hydroxycitric acid. Appl.Microbiol.Biotechnol., 75, 977-982. Online Source

Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.

Have Your Say

16 comments on 'Garcinia Cambogia Really A Weight Reducing Supplement?'

  1. I had blood clots in 2009 using fish oil and multi vitamins with minerals. I want to loose weight. I had my thyroid out in 2014 . I was hypothyroid and now continue to be while taking levothyroxin every day. I wonder if the cambogia and regula. Would conflict or cause more health issues. I could benefit from a 50-60 pound weight loss. I understand the 14 day trial and not taking it longer than say 2 months. The synthetic hormone levothyroxin states I should intake small to no amounts of caffeine and not mix vitamins or minerals until 4-6 hours after taking it. How would the Garnica effect it? I do not want to create more health issues. Note the blood clots I had were related to menopause and 3 months of ortho Nov um 777. Father died of heart attack at 62.

  2. Be aware that a false consumer publication on the Internet is promoting Garcinia Cambogia products that have no legitimate reviews. They call themselves “Consumers Guides.” Do not mistake them for legitimate publications available from Consumer Guide®.

  3. I am an older man (retired for over 10 years now). I am presently taking a lot of medications, mostly prescription. I recently went on a strict diet recommended by my doctor (low calorie, low cholesterol, low fat). I lost quite a bit of weight and was able to eliminate my high cholesterol medications as I was able to normalize my cholesterol levels without them. I am now trying to eliminate some of my the body fat that remains around my waist as I watched Dr. Oz and he said that this fat can lead to many medical problems and that Garcinia Cambogia can help eliminate this belly fat. I bought Weight Loss 4 w/ Garcinia Cambogia (it also has other ingredients that Dr. Oz recommends) which gave me confidence in the product. Also, I saw that many others were taking it with good reviews on your site. I have now taken it, as recommended on the bottle, for 2 months. I am on a weight maintenance diet at present and did not gain or lose weight. My main objective was to trim my waist of fat. I have also been doing a battery of waist trimming exercises each day to supplement the pills in trimming my waist. At the end of 2 months of measuring my waist daily, I have no noticeable change in the dimensions of my waist. Since I discovered that I was taking half the amount of Garcinia Cambogia that Dr. Oz mentioned in the clinical study he referred to, I have decided to double the dose for 15 days and see if anything changes. I have already purchased Ultimate Garcinia Cambogia, another product, that you do not have reviews for, as yet, on your site. How can I start a review for this new product Ultimate Garcinia Cambogia and have you had anyone else refer to it. The manufacturer is Phytogenix Laboratories.

    1. I have been taking supplements containing Garcinia Cambogia for over 3 months now and am very surprised by the amount of GC different products recommend you take each day. I found it ranges from as little as 300 mg per day (for “Weight Control” by Nature’s Measure) to as much as 4667 mg per day (for “Ultimate Garcinia Cambogia” by Phytogenix Laboratories). It can be very confusing.

  4. Bought 3 months supply, took 2 months, gave 1 month to a friend. Neither of us lost weight, actually gained. We are both VERY disappointed! Cost me $100 that though would have been worth it had it worked certainly, like most of us, do not have it to waste. That was a waste of money!!!!

    1. Hi Lori,
      As we replied to Sheri above, we should highlight that Garcinia Cambogia is an ingredient and not a supplement itself. There are a number of supplements on the market that are using this name though. What product are you referring too?
      Diet Pills Watchdog Team

  5. I started Garcinia Cambogia after watching a YouTube video. This very nice lady has been filming her results for about six months and has lost over 25lbs on it and went from a size 22 to a 14. She claims that to only take GC and works out twice a week. I since have been on it as well and I have lost 8 lbs and 4 inches off my waist. I stopped taking it for a while and I did not gain any weight back. I started again and lost another 2 lbs. I do sleep soundly but in the beginning I had a headache for 2 days. I’m fine now, I guess it was my body flushing. Check her out she goes by mamapanda913
    I believe it works and I have tried everything that I could afford because if its too expensive most people won’t stick to it.

    1. Hi Tash, I read what you said about mamapada913 and have become hooked on the videos, but I notice that she seems to gain the weight back and sometimes the inches. Also, I checked out the brand that she is taking and it is beyond my budget, plus I never order anything I put into my mouth over the Internet, unless I am already familiar with the product. Are you taking the same product as she is? Also, from all my reading, it seems that you should not take Garcina Cambogia for more that 3 months consecutively, as it will loose its effect. You must go on a short hiatus before using it again, to continue to get results.

  6. I have just ordered both the colon cleanse and garcinia Cambogia it did cost 122 for 3 month of diet pills and 86 for 2 months of cleanse I read about it in women’s health , but am now told they are looking into suing !!’ Not sure what to believe I will keep you posted on my progress when I receive my products . How much do you need I think mine are 500mg hca each pill . I am a little skeptical but hopeful !!!

  7. I just wanted to let you know that I love your website. I’m always researching all kinds of diet pills. I have Hyperthyroidism, which has slowed down to normal. I have always been thin all my life until now. I have been trying to find a diet pill that will help me burn fat healthy and naturally. I have to be very careful with what I take. I haven’t really taken anything because everything had bad reviews or dangerous supplements. It has been so time consuming researching, now I don’t have to because you do it for me. Thank you!

    On another note I just order Miracle Garcinia Cambogia I should receive in about 3 days. I will keep you posted on my weight loss. I hope my findings will be helpful to others.

    1. Tracy – Thank you for your statement. How was your experience with the garcinia? Did it accelerate your thyroid? I have the same issue as you and I’m concerned that taking the garcinia will accelerate my thyroid again.


  8. I used this product for 3 weeks and exercised daily for 30 mins. And I gained weight 2-3 pounds and had no increase in energy. I am 48 yrs old and weight 174 at 5’5 tall. Consumer Service was rude gave me a hard time to return. I would not recommend this product.

    1. Hi Sheri,
      We should highlight that Garcinia Cambogia is an ingredient and not a supplement itself. There are a number of supplements on the market that are using this name though. What product are you referring too?

    2. Just wondered. Sheri if you hve continued on with product ive been taking 3 weeks now with no results hve not gained or lost .

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