If you’re even remotely interested in natural weight loss supplements, you’ve undoubtedly heard about garcinia cambogia, and its status as the “holy grail” of weight loss.
It’s interesting to note that even though this supplement has been on the market for years, it wasn’t until Dr. Oz conducted an informal study in November 2012 that it became overwhelmingly popular—due in no small part to his claim that it’s a “magic” way to lose weight, without requiring you to adhere to restrictive diets or exercise programs.
As a result, Garcinia Cambogia supplements have popped up all over the place, each claiming to be better than the next, which can understandably cause some confusion when you’re ready to purchase. On top of this, hundreds of garcinia cambogia “scam” sites have emerged all across the internet as well, which are eager and more than willing to take advantage of an uninformed consumer.
So with this in mind, that’s exactly what we plan to do in this article: Make you an informed garcinia cambogia consumer. We’ll cover some in-depth information surrounding the supplement, and we’ll also help you become adept at figuring out what’s true, and what’s just marketing hype.
So, let’s start with the basics first…
What Is Garcinia Cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is a tree-borne fruit shaped like a small, greenish-yellow pumpkin, which grows primarily in tropical regions of southeast Asia, India, and even parts of Africa. While ”garcinia cambogia” is the plant’s former scientific name, it also goes by many other names, including brindleberry, kudam puli, gambooge, and assam fruit.
Garcinia cambogia has been used for centuries in a wide variety of traditional ways, including alternative medicine, due to its antibacterial qualities, and in cooking, even though the fruit often has a sour, acidic taste. It has also been used in food preservation, especially for fish.
As noted previously though, garcinia cambogia has been most closely associated with one thing since 2012: weight loss. But does it really live up to the hype? We’ll get to that, but let’s first look at how it works.
How Does Garcinia Cambogia Work? What Are the Benefits?
The thick, pulpy rind of the garcinia cambogia fruit contains high levels of hydroxycitric acid (HCA). When taken in proper amounts, this acid is purported to cause several beneficial changes within your body.
First and foremost, HCA is thought to block an enzyme called citrate lyase from doing its job, which is to convert glucose (e.g. unused energy) into fat. Because HCA prevents this from occurring, most of this glucose is then available for your body to metabolize, thereby increasing your energy reserves. On top of this, HCA is also claimed to increase serotonin levels within your brain, which can improve your mood and further boost your energy levels.
It’s important to note here that many sub-par Garcinia Cambogia supplements (more about this later) use calcium as a filler, which has actually been shown to reduce the effectiveness of HCA.
How Often Should You Take Garcinia Cambogia? Are There Any Side Effects?
Most garcinia cambogia supplement manufacturers recommend taking one dose about 30 minutes prior to eating, twice per day (usually before breakfast and dinner).
Keep in mind that, in studies where garcinia cambogia has been shown to be at least somewhat effective, the vast majority have not been conducted for more than 12 weeks. As such, long-term safety has not been established for this supplement, and you should avoid taking it for longer periods of time. Within these 12-week studies, the most common side effects reported included nausea, a bloated or “gaseous” feeling, and headache.
While the limited information we have about garcinia cambogia suggests that it is safe to be taken by most individuals, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, taking a statin medication, and/or have any form of dementia, be sure to talk with your physician prior to beginning.
With this said, even for users who have experienced average results from taking garcinia cambogia, it has not been shown to be more effective than a balanced diet and regular exercise. In addition, as with any other type of nutritional supplement, not everyone will experience the same results. In fact, the number one complaint, regardless of brand, is a failure to work as advertised.
What’s the Bottom Line: Does Garcinia Cambogia Really Help You Lose Weight?
Despite all the hype surrounding this supplement and all the claims made by manufacturers, here’s the truth: Garcinia cambogia has not been conclusively shown to help individuals lose weight. So why is it so popular? Let’s look at some of the data surrounding it…
When you’re searching around for different garcinia cambogia supplements, you’ll like encounter the claim that it is “clinically proven” more often than any other. However, for every study that claims to support the link between HCA and weight loss, there are a dozen more that directly refute this assertion.
So why is this important? Because it means that there is no universally agreed-upon clinical evidence that garcinia cambogia—or HCA for that matter—helps individuals lose weight. In fact, if you visit the National Institutes of Health website and search for studies related to garcinia cambogia, you’ll be greeted with a total of 92, the vast majority of which show little (if any) correlation between HCA and sustainable weight loss. Below are summarizations of some of these studies:
“…we should be cautious when interpreting the results as other randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials have not reported the same outcomes. Furthermore, most studies in humans have been conducted on small samples and mainly in the short term. None of them have shown whether these effects persist beyond 12 weeks of intervention. Therefore, there is still little evidence to support the potential effectiveness and long-term benefits of G. cambogia extracts.”
“There is a lack of evidence regarding quality studies justifying the use of alternative products for weight loss.”
“Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo.”
“Garcinia cambogia extract did not show dietary efficacy.”
Furthermore, whatever benefits might be associated with garcinia cambogia supplements, they are certainly boosted (sometimes greatly) by being combined with a sensible diet and regular exercise. We emphasize this point because many manufacturers will claim that garcinia cambogia can help you lose weight without changing any other aspect of your life. While some studies have shown this might be the case, you’ll experience vastly increased results by eating healthier and getting more exercise.
How to Choose a Good Garcinia Cambogia Supplement
If you decide to give garcinia cambogia a try, how do you know which manufacturer to choose from? Given the proliferation of nutritional supplement companies out there, it can be difficult to discern which ones you can trust, and which ones are simply trying to cash in on the hype. As a result, we thought it would be a good idea to outline a couple pointers you should keep in mind when searching for garcinia cambogia supplements:
First, make sure your garcinia cambogia is not mixed with fillers or artificial ingredients. While you’ll often find potassium added, this ingredient simply aids in absorption, and is completely acceptable. However, many of the lower quality supplements will also include calcium, which actually inhibits any benefits related to HCA.
Second, make sure your garcinia cambogia contains at least 60% HCA, and should be taken in 1,600mg daily doses (800mg per dose). However, this can sometimes be difficult since, according to this article, most manufacturers who advertise 60% HCA in their garcinia cambogia are lying. Also, keep in mind that because the benefits of garcinia cambogia have not been scientifically established, the dosages haven’t either. In fact, during our research, we encountered several different dosing recommendations, including 50% HCA and 3,000mg daily doses from Dr. Oz’s website, while this one recommends 500mg doses.
Finally, it’s a good idea to make sure the company you’re purchasing garcinia cambogia from participates in:
Third party monitoring – When the supplement manufacturer hires a third-party company to monitor their performance and track their overall reputation.
Third party testing – When a supplement manufacturer hires a third party company to verify the quality of their products. This is an expensive process, but it’s especially important in the nutritional supplements industry, which is rife with poor quality and false claims.
Money back guarantee – Money back guarantees often signify that a supplements manufacturer stands behind their products and that they’re focused on customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, creating a quality supplement is a very precise science. This is because you not only require the right ingredients, but also the right proportions of these ingredients. As such, high-quality nutritional supplements often carry higher price tags than their lower-quality brethren, so keep in mind that price can be an indicator of performance.
Looking for More Information & Reviews About Garcinia Cambogia Products?
At HighYa, we’re focused on providing consumers like you with in-depth, actionable information regarding a wide variety of products, while also helping you to avoid common scams. If you’re looking for additional information regarding garcinia cambogia supplements, be sure to take a look at several of our reviews.
And if you have experience with garcinia cambogia and would like to help out your fellow consumers, be sure to leave a review of your own!