Garcinia Cambogia

After been asked on numerous occasions about Garcinia Cambogia, and not been satisfied with the glossy marketing materials, I decided to do my own review on Garcinia Cambogia. 

Some interesting findings…Garcinia has been used for centuries in Asian countries for cooking. It is used as a condiment, a flavouring agent and in food preservation. It is also used as a treatment for intestinal worms and other parasites, dysentery and other digestive complaints. 

Studies, even though there were over 20 trials identified, only 12 fit into the clinical trial standards. All the studies are measuring the weight loss effect of Hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA is found primarily in the rind of Garcinia Cambogia. 

Safety There are a handful of drugs in the market to help weight loss, but we need to consider the effectiveness, the cost and adverse effects/safety. 

Reductil (Sibutramine) was withdrawn from the market in 2010, due to its risk of serious cardiovascular events. 

Duromine (Phentermine) has been reported to cause palpitation, fatigue,dizziness, headache, dry mouth and insomnia.

The side effects of Xenical (Orlistat) include oily and loose stools, flatulence with oily discharge, faecal incontinence and frequent or urgent bowel movements.  

From the research I have been doing on Garcinia, there has not been an adverse reaction report relating to HCA since 1964. 

Does it work? Most of the studies are short term studies, the longest study went for 12 weeks. When combining the results of all the studies, HCA was favoured to have a small but significant difference in weight loss. In at least two trials that I know of, cholesterol profile was improved; leptin (which is a protein produced by fatty tissue) level was reduced. The author from one of these studies wrote, “At the end of 8 weeks, body weight and BMI decreased by 5.4% and 5.2%, respectively. Food intake, total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides and serum leptin levels were significantly reduced, while HDL and serotonin levels, and excretion of urinary fat metabolites (a biomarker of fat oxidation) significantly increased. No significant adverse effects were reported.” I have to remind you though, apart from taking the HCA, these patients were also walking 30 min 5 days a week, and not eating more than 2000kcal diet per day. 


Pros: HCA has a good safety profile. It can cause short term weight loss. It may be a good way to kick start a long term lifestyle plan in achieving a healthy weight. 

Cons: More longer and rigorous trials needed.

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