(NaturalNews) With celeb Dr. Oz advocating its use, Garcinia Cambogia (also known as Malabar tamarind, gambooge and brindleberry), has gained notoriety as a fast-acting and cheap fat buster that both suppresses appetite and prevents fat from being made. For generations, this fruit found in India, Southeast Asia and Africa has been used in traditional Indian cooking to make food more filling and in Ayurvedic medicine as a digestive aid. For the American market, its extract Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) has been targeted for its weight loss abilities.
How it works
When carbohydrates enter the body, enzymes either convert them into energy or store them as fat. HCA is thought to inhibit these enyzymes from storing carbs as fat, allowing them to be burned off. In addition to helping burn off calories, the supplement also has the secondary weight loss benefit of suppressing appetite.
How effective is Garcinia cambogia?
According to Julie Chen MD, integrative medicine, taking the supplement on its own can cut about four pounds a month, but taking it along with diet and exercise can double or triple that figure. Studies have found it's particularly effective for emotional eaters since its usage has been connected with an increase in serotonin, which results in improved sleep and mood.
An all-natural weight loss supplement that burns lots of fat, quickly and cheaply, and boosts mood and improves sleep - it sounds like a wonder pill. But when digging through the research, the overall results are mixed. "Supporting evidence for its efficacy is largely based on studies with small sample sizes, without placebo-treated groups or with inaccurate measures of body lipid changes," as written in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA(. "A 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial was conducted in 42 subjects that received 3,000 mg of Garcinia cambogia extract per day. Garcinia cambogia extract failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo."
Vladimir Badmaev, MD, PHD, et al. responded to the aforementioned report in the JAMA, pointing out a limitation in the way the study was conducted, writing that HCA needs to be administered with a carb-rich diet, but in the study they co-administered it with a high fiber diet.
As often happens with drugs and nutritional supplements there exists two sides divided - some studies say it works, some say it doesn't.
Garcinia cambogia side effects and dosage
Garcinia cambogia is generally considered safe if used short term. Long-term usage is unknown. Side effects such as headaches, nausea and digestive tract discomfort have been reported. Certain weight loss supplements that contain HCA extract could be problematic, as one common brand was recalled in 2009 after the FDA issued a safety warning following 23 reports of liver problems, seizures and cardiovascular problems, including one death.
Some should not take this supplement, including people with diabetes, Alzheimer's, dementia as well as pregnant and lactating women. As always, if a supplement is not considered safe for pregnant women, it's worth thinking twice about the reason why. And whether you're concerned about side effects or not, doing that extra research is well worth it when it comes to a controversial supplement such as this.
What's your take on Garcinia cambogia? Has it helped you lose weight? Would you recommend it to others?