Garcinia cambogia, a fruit grown in Indonesia, has been used for many years as an ingredient for various curries and chutneys. According to the Dr. Oz website, in some Malaysian villages it is added to soups to help suppress appetites and promote weight loss. The fruit contains nutrients such as xanthones and garcinol but has received the most attention for its hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, an extraction from the rind of the fruit that inhibits an enzyme responsible for fatty acid synthesis.
HCA for Weight Loss
Research cited through the "Journal of Medicine" in 2004 found HCA successful in promoting significant weight loss through a decrease in appetite and an improvement in cholesterol levels. The journal "Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition," however, recommends caution when interpreting clinical results: Not all studies have shown positive outcomes. Most of the trials that supported the efficacy of HCA with weight loss and cholesterol management had limited duration and participants. This potentially affected the accuracy of the outcome.
Xanthones for Cancer
Garcinia cambogia contains xanthones, which are plant polyphenols. Xanthones may have anti-cancer properties. According to the journal "Nutrients," they support programmed cell death, prevent the spreading of cancer cells and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Further research is needed to determine the bioavailability of ingested xanthones before determining their efficacy.
Garcinol for Inflammation
Garcinol is a benzophenone that exists in Garcinia cambogia. According to the "Journal of Natural Products," it has anti-inflammatory properties. It may also work as an antioxidant to fight cancer and could have anti-bacterial effects. Topical products often contain garcinol due to its antioxidant properties. But there is not enough clinical evidence at this time to determine the efficacy of garcinol.
Caution With Supplements
Consumers should always check with their doctors prior to starting new supplements. Garcinia is considered relatively safe, with occasional mild side effects such as headache or dizziness. Studies for pregnant and lactating women are limited, so this population should avoid the supplement. Diabetics taking insulin need to be careful because garcinia can lower blood sugar levels. It also contains iron and may have an impact on consumers with an iron-related disorder by raising iron levels. The supplement may include potassium and calcium, which could affect individuals with cardiovascular issues. Additional medication interactions have been reported with montelukast, warfarin and statins.
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: Evaluation of the Safety and Efficacy of Hydroxycitric Acid or Garcinia cambogia Extracts in Humans
- The Doctor Oz Show: Garcinia Cambogia (HCA): Is This Right for You?
- Drugs.com: Garcinia (Hydroxycitric Acid)
- Journal of Medicine: An Overview of the Safety and Efficacy of a Novel, Natural(-)-hydroxycitric Acid Extract (HCA-SX) for Weight Management
- NIH: Garcinia Cambogia Extract
- Nutrients: Biological Activities and Bioavailability of Mangosteen Xanthones: A Critical Review of the Current Evidence
- Drugs.com: Garcinol