March 16 2021
As exotic as the name sounds, the origin is also that exotic. Garcinia Cambogia is a tropical fruit native to Indonesia, India, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. The tree is named Garcinia gummi-gutta and is known by several other names like red mango, Malabar tamarind, brindal berry, and kokum butter oil tree.
Coming to the appearance of the fruit, if not familiar with it, you might mistake it for a small multilobed green or yellow pumpkin. It is usually pickled owing to its sour taste. It's added to traditional South Indian Cuisine for centuries. It is most common in fish curry after sun-drying and smoking to give a smoky essence to the curry. The seeds contain 30% fat and are utilized frequently as a substitute for ghee or clarified butter.
The storehouse of benefits is due to the presence of Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) present in the peel of Garcinia Cambogia. The extract of the peel is employed in the preparation of the commercially available supplements.
Garcinia and Weight Management
Garcinia has significance because of the weight loss effects of the fruit. Although remarkable effects were not found, it still resulted in a weight loss difference of two pounds compared to the placebo group over 12 weeks.
But how does the peel extract of a fruit result in weight loss? There are mainly two ways.
- Garcinia may decrease your appetite. Pre-clinical studies in rats showed that Garcinia Cambogia supplements suppressed their appetite. In clinical studies too, Garcinia Cambogia resulted in a feeling of fullness. A plausible explanation is the presence of active ingredients results in the increase of serotonin in the brain. Since serotonin is an appetite suppressant and aids in reducing food cravings, this is likely the reason for the weight loss action of Garcinia Cambogia. An increase in serotonin levels also indicates an upliftment in the mood by reducing cortisol, making you feel happy and satisfied.
- Another reason is that Garcinia Cambogia affects blood cholesterol levels. Both animal and human studies have shown that it lowers blood fat content. Another study reported its relevance in reducing belly fat in people who are overweight. Furthermore, there was a significant decrease in Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) or the bad cholesterol and an increase in High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) when consumed in a dosage of 2800mg daily for 8 weeks. This impact is thought to be due to its activity in inhibiting an enzyme citrate lyase, which plays a crucial role in fat production. Thus, it may inhibit the production of fat as well as reduces the existing fat content of the body.
This was Garcinia Cambogia's major role as a weight management supplement. However, these are not the only benefits the extract of this exotic fruit offers. Apart from weight loss, you may also observe:
- Garcinia has anti-diabetic action: Garcinia reduces the increased blood insulin levels, a condition called hyperinsulinemia, when cells become resistant to insulin. It leads to the most common type of diabetes, Type-2 diabetes. In this, there are elevated blood glucose levels in addition to increased insulin levels. Preliminary data on mice is available at present, stating its role in reducing blood sugar levels and increasing the sensitivity of the cells to insulin. More evidence is still required.
- Garcinia Cambogia reduces the inflammation present in the body.
- It also has a role in improving the digestive system. Animal studies have shown that it boosts the metabolism, protects the stomach against harmful ulcers, and in general, safeguards the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Garcinia has also been consumed in cases of diarrhoea and constipation.
Garcinia cambogia supplements are available in form of capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids. It is recommended to take capsules containing at least 50% of HCA.
The dosage of Garcinia is prescribed according to the HCA content present in it. It is advised to consume 1000-1500mg of HCA daily, 30-60 min before meals. Also, since studies conducted until now have demonstrated the benefits after daily consumption for only 12 weeks, it is advised to take a few weeks off after every three months before continuing again.
Safety and Risks Associated with Garcinia
Garcinia cambogia is generally considered safe at the recommended dosage with mild side effects like digestive problems like nausea, diarrhoea, upper respiratory tract problems like runny nose, headaches, and rashes too in some cases.
Above the recommended dosage, it was found to cause testicular atrophy and affect sperm production in rats. The studies are inconclusive in humans however, it is best to avoid taking it beyond the maximum recommended dosage.
Interactions with Other medications
Herbal supplements are also prone to interact with other food sources and medications. Even if it is considered relatively safe, it is better to always consult a physician before starting a supplement.
A case of a woman developing serotonin toxicity after ingesting Garcinia Cambogia supplements with her anti-depressant medication was reported. Several other studies reporting liver damage are also present.
If you’re suffering from any underlying medical condition or are under any type of medication, it is better to consult your health care provider before taking this supplement.
There are some good quality supplements available in the market that you have a look at:
Alvizia’s Garcinia Complex not only includes Garcinia cambogia extract but also Green tea and Green coffee bean extracts as well to blend the combined effects of all three in one single soft gel capsule. Green tea is rich in antioxidants that help your body fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Green coffee extract is again a good source of antioxidants that help to boost energy and lower blood glucose levels. Along with Garcinia’s weight loss property, the complex helps to reduce weight by burning belly fat and cholesterol levels but does not dampen energy. It keeps you active throughout the day.
The capsules contain gelatin that prevents oxidation of the contents and is GMP certified.
It is recommended to be taken twice a day.
As mentioned earlier, it is best to consult a physician before taking any kind of supplement, especially if you are under any kind of medication. In addition to that, it’s important to exercise daily to keep yourself happy and fit!