The Truth About Garcinia Cambogia—Your Updated Guide to Separating Fact from Fiction

Since writing our first Garcinia Cambogia article at the beginning of this year, we’ve been genuinely surprised at the supplement’s continued and widespread success to date. In fact, since its original appearance on the Dr. Oz show in 2012, it appears to be wildly popular not just online, but in cities all across the country. As a testament to this, on a leisurely weekend trip to Costco, we found DietWorks Garcinia Cambogia for sale for $15, which is claimed to include a “clinically validated ingredient” that is “shown to help reduce cravings.”

We’ve even found varieties of Garcinia Cambogia supplements for sale at Marshalls and TJ Max, which begs the question: Is Garcinia Cambogia now so popular that clothes stores have entered the business of selling dietary supplements? Clearly, the market for Garcinia Cambogia is huge.

Despite our in-depth investigation several months ago—which found that there is almost no evidence demonstrating that Garcinia Cambogia is any more effective than healthy diet and regular exercise—the supplement’s immense popularity is difficult to ignore. As such, we though it would be a good idea to see if any new research has emerged showing its efficacy, and if so, what it means. So let’s dig in, shall we?

Quick Recap: The Basics of Garcinia Cambogia

Found in the pulpy rind of the fruit, Garcinia Cambogia’s active chemical is hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is thought to provide several benefits, including:

  • Blocks citrate lyase from converting glucose (e.g. plant-based sugars) into fat.
  • Makes this fat readily available for your body to use, which increases your energy reserves along with your metabolism, thereby helping you to lose weight.
  • Increases your brain’s production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

On top of this, many Garcinia Cambogia brands will claim that all these of these benefits can occur without any change to your diet or exercise habits.

With this said, if you’re new to Garcinia Cambogia or just want a quick refresher, be sure to read through HighYa’s Can Garcinia Cambogia Really Help You Lose Weight? article, as well as our Garcinia Cambogia Buyer’s Guide.

What Do Customers Have to Say About Garcinia Cambogia?

Before we dig into whether or not there are any new scientific studies showing the efficacy of Garcinia Cambogia, let’s first address what actual customers have to say about their experiences with the supplement.

Over the past six months, we’ve gathered a number of Garcinia Cambogia customer reviews from a variety of manufacturers here at HighYa, including Garcinia Cambogia 360, Research Verified Garcinia Cambogia, and Whole Body Garcinia Cambogia. What do they have to say? The vast majority of customers rated the supplements as one star, with the most common complaint citing failure to work. Elsewhere online, you’ll find that this continues to be the number one complaint as well. On top of this, one HighYa reviewer even claimed that she fell ill with cold-like symptoms while taking two different brands of Garcinia Cambogia.

Outside of the supplements themselves, almost all customers have been dissatisfied with Garcinia Cambogia manufacturers as well, citing high price, difficulty cancelling “free trials” and obtaining refunds (more about this in the final section), and poor customer service.

Since our original exposé, it’s clear that the vast majority of customers who’ve taken Garcinia Cambogia as directed have not been pleased with the results. However, let’s keep an open mind and find out if any new scientific studies have been completed on the supplement, and if so, what they mean.

Is There Any New Scientific Evidence Showing that Garcinia Cambogia is Effective?

Our first Garcinia Cambogia investigation occurred in late January 2014, which showed that there is almost zero peer reviewed evidence proving that Garcinia Cambogia is effective. As a result, for the purposes of this article, we focused only on studies that were completed after this time. Here’s what we found:

As it turns out, according to the National Institutes of Health website, there have been a total of three new studies published about Garcinia Cambogia since January 25, 2014:

  • This one, which studied the satiating (e.g. makes you feel fuller) properties of Garcinia Cambogia when mixed with l-carnitine and “a seaweed extract of Ascophyllum nodosum.” Ultimately, the study found “that it might be useful as an appetite modulator.”
  • This one, which studied the link between over the counter Garcinia Cambogia supplements and serotonin toxicity.
  • This one, which studied “IQP-GC-101, a patented blend of the standardized extracts of Garcinia cambogia, Camellia sinensis, unroasted Coffea arabica, and Lagerstroemia speciosa.” Ultimately, the study found that, “The use of IQP-GC-101 has been shown to result in body weight and body fat reduction, with good tolerability.”

Now that we know more about the recent, publicly available Garcinia Cambogia research, let’s take a closer look at their details.

What Do These New Studies Mean?

For the first study, keep in mind that Garcinia Cambogia was combined with l-carnitine and a seaweed extract. As such, there is no data available showing which of these ingredients was ultimately the cause of the satiating effect.

The second study is only available for purchase, and while its implications could be severe, we were unable to locate a publicly available copy online. With this said, most Garcinia Cambogia users are interested in weight loss, which doesn’t appear to be related to this study.

Regarding the third study, it definitely takes a little digging to uncover the details sometimes. Although the IQP-GC-101 supplement was found to be effective for “body weight and body fat reduction,” like the first study, this supplement is a combination of several ingredients, and we can’t be sure if Garcinia Cambogia had anything to do with it. Perhaps more importantly though, the study was completed by InQpharm Group Sdn Bhd. Phytotherapy Research, a division of InQpharm. As you may have guessed, this company manufactures “unique, safe therapeutic compounds and products using ingredients from natural sources.”

In reality, IQP-GC-101 is very likely one of the company’s new products, and they were testing its efficacy. However, based on some previous instances where corporations sponsored their own research, it definitely raises some eyebrows about the study’s legitimacy.

With this in Mind, Should You Still Try Garcinia Cambogia?

When it comes down to it, is Garcinia Cambogia really—as Dr. Oz stated— the “newest, fastest fat buster?” In all but the rarest of instances; no. However, does this mean that you shouldn’t give it a shot? If you’ve found that regular exercise and a healthy diet aren’t helping, and you’re willing to gamble your hard-earned money, you certainly can, but do so cautiously, and keep the following in mind before placing your order:

From an efficacy perspective, remember that it’s highly unlikely Garcinia Cambogia will help you lose weight. If it does however, the results will be minimal (1-3 pounds). Also, for whatever effects hydroxycitric acid (HCA) may provide, remember that these can be further reduced by the presence of calcium, which is an additive that several Garcinia Cambogia supplements contain for “absorption.”

From a manufacturer perspective, many less-than-scrupulous supplements companies are out to get as much money from you as they can, and little else. This includes “free” trials, which often begin as soon as you place your order, in addition to immediate enrollment in autoship programs. And even if you attempt to cancel before your free trial ends or your autoship program begins, customer support for these products often boils down to nothing but frustration. In fact, we’ve read countless reviews from customers who were forced to cancel their credit cards in order to put a stop to the recurring charges.

Instead of Garcinia Cambogia, What Can You Do?

It can be disappointing to learn that something touted as a “weight loss miracle” doesn’t really work, or at the very least, doesn’t work as well as you’re made to believe. But the unfortunate fact is that most nutritional supplements don’t perform as well as they claim; not just Garcinia Cambogia. So what can you do now?

As always, if you’re looking to lose weight naturally and healthfully, the first person you should speak with is your physician. From there, they may recommend the services of a dietician or personal trainer who can help put you on the path to sustainable, permanent weight loss. Why? Because, despite the claims of Garcinia Cambogia manufacturers, a healthy diet and regular exercise have been shown to be the only paths to long-term weight loss. What’s more, if you read about a new weight loss miracle, you can always browse HighYa’s extensive list of supplement reviews, and learn for yourself whether its claims are fact or fiction!

Image by: Lana Sky Photography