Garcinia Cambogia: A Review of Research, Benefits, & Supplements

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Garcinia Cambogia is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia and some parts of India. Recent years have seen much interest in Garcinia Cambogia for weight loss applications, much of which has been popularized by Dr. Oz. Pure Garcinia Cambogia extract contains high levels of a compound called Hydroxycitric Acid—which has been linked to weight loss.

Powerful Natural Compound

As with many weight loss supplements, using Garcinia Cambogia for weight loss isn’t anything that will bring about miracles, though it still offers many potential health benefits. This fruit has been popular among its native Asian and Indian countries for some time, but only popularized among Western society in recent times for its weight loss potential. With much debate and fervor surrounding Garcinia Cambogia reviews—it’s best to take a hard look at the research and make an informed decision on whether or not it is a wise choice for you.

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What is Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia Cambogia is a fruit that resembles a green tomato—the type with taut skin and deeply-defined ridges. It has been used as a flavoring agent in some foods and thought to be useful in limiting overall appetite. This appetite-suppression action has led to a large discussion on the weight loss potential of Garcinia Cambogia.

Latest Research

The most-referenced study on the use of Garcinia Cambogia for weight loss was conducted in 2003, which discovered the Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) found in the rind of the fruit is able to help reduce obesity [1]. This study was conducted among subjects between 20 and 65 years of age over a 12 week period.

Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) found in the rind of the Garcinia Cambogia fruit is able to help reduce obesity

At the end of the double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation, researchers found that subjects having been given the Garcinia Cambogia showed reduced abdominal fat. This was seen in both men and women, and age seemed not to play a role. This study is regarded as being the source of the spark that lit the weight loss supplement market on fire—creating an unprecedented demand for Garcinia Cambogia.

Different Types

Garcinia Cambogia doesn’t just pop off the tree in health-boosting form, and the highest concentrations of hydroxycitric Acid are found in the rind. There are several different types of fruits that are similar to Garcinia Cambogia, and each is slightly different in quality as well as it’s potential to benefit health. Garcinia Cambogia, known also as Asum Gelugor, is commonly found in evergreen sections of the forests of Western Ghat.

These fruits are yellow and reddish-green when ripe—growing to an approximate diameter of 5 centimeters (~1/4 inch”). This fruit is the most-commonly discussed among those interested in Garcinia health benefits. There is also Garcinia Atroviridis—known also as Asam Gelugor, which is native to Southeast Asia. The Atroviridis fruit is a bright yellow and orange when ripe, and grows up to 10cm (~3/8″) in diameter.

The third member of the Garcinia family that is noteworthy is Garcinia Indica, also known as Kokum. This variant is found commonly in the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats. This fruit is a dark purple when fully-ripe and grows to a diameter of approximately 3-4cm (~1/4″). Again, the most notable of these Garcinia members is by-far Garcinia Cambogia—which has the most amount of research compiled related to its many health benefits.

Garcinia Cambogia Fruit
Garcinia Cambogia is a greenish yellow fruit native to Asia and India that is known to possess high concentrations of hydroxycitric acid.

Garcinia Cambogia Supplements

Supplements aren’t subject to many types of required quality control processes, and supplement brands contain little of the advertised active ingredient—if any at all. These types of brands commonly use toxic fillers, pesticide-laden inactive ingredients, and potentially harmful GMO compounds. Ensuring you buy pure-quality supplements from trusted supplement brands can help you navigate the risk of buying supplements.

Quality Control

To get better acquainted with which supplement manufacturers are the most-trusted, check out our article Best Supplement Brands: A Buyer’s Guide & Review. When buying supplements solely based on price, you leave yourself open to any number of harmful reactions. The best approach is generally to find 2-3 products you feel are trustworthy, the look for the best price on those specific products.

Misleading Marketing

Garcinia Cambogia has been found to provide a great many health benefits such as fighting fungal infections [3], helping to reduce body fat, reducing inflammation [4], and even helping to fight Cancer [5]. Unfortunately, supplements that show even the slightest ability to help assist in weight loss get tragically-misrepresented by marketers and celebrity personalities. For example, Dr. Oz was called before a Senate Subcommittee called after calling certain weight loss supplements “miracles.” [2].

SuperCitrimax

Garcinia Cambogia being native to an overseas market adds another curveball into the equation. The logistics of bringing live plant materials through customs and into a domestic marketplace is complex. This adds even more emphasis to the importance of 3rd party testing, contaminant testing, and cGMP practices.  In the United States, patents aren’t awarded for natural compounds such as Garcinia Cambogia. Companies can patent the process for making a pure Garcinia Cambogia extract though, and InterHealth (now Lonza) has done just that [6]. Lonza holds the patent for a process of producing a Garcinia Cambogia product called SuperCitrimax.

SuperCitrimax is a unique form of Garcinia Cambogia is combined with Calcium and Potassium to ensure maximum absorption

This unique form of Garcinia Cambogia is combined with Calcium and Potassium to ensure maximum absorption. In one study, the SuperCitrimax Garcinia Cambogia resulted in patients showing a ~6% decrease in body mass index (BMI), a 44% increase in serotonin levels, a 38% reduction in serum leptin levels (hunger hormone), and a whopping range of increased fat-metabolites being passed through urination [7]. While the most-popular Garcinia study mentioned above demonstrated some notable benefits of Garcinia Cambogia—the SuperCitrimax version of Garcinia seems to be clearly more effective. Not surprisingly, most Garcinia Cambogia supplements sold by trusted supplement brands contain the SuperCitrimax version.

Garcinia Cambogia Reviews

Below you’ll find a brief overview of some of the best Garcinia Cambogia supplements on the market, based on our experience and knowledge of supplement manufacturers. Almost all of these brands are considered to be ‘doctor-trusted’ supplement brands. This means that licensed health professionals around the world rely on these brands to deliver high-quality results in clinical circumstances. As mentioned earlier, many of these products feature the proprietary SuperCitrimax compound and some feature other natural compounds known to work synergistically to provide more comprehensive results. It’s important to know everyone is affected differently by different supplements, and you should always consult with your doctor before beginning a new supplement.

Douglas Laboratories Super HCA

Douglas Laboratories HCA
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Douglas Laboratories has been in operation for more than 60 years, which is quite unheard of in the supplement world. They specialize in formulating supplements that take special consideration to how the human endocrine (hormones) system works. This unique approach discussed alongside with nutraceuticals is largely why many health professionals and doctors rely on Douglas Laboratories to help treat their patients. Douglas Laboratories interpretation of the Garcinia Cambogia compound is embodied within their Super HCA supplement, which contains a standardized Garcinia Cambogia extraction delivering 840mg of Hydroxycitric acid per 1400mg dose. The Super HCA supplement by Douglas Laboratories is recommended to be taken 1-2 times per day on an empty stomach, about 1 hour before meals to achieve the greatest weight loss benefit. This product contains the Calcium and potassium SuperCitrimax version of Garcinia Cambogia.

Garcinia Cambogia by ProThera

prothera-garcinia-cambogia
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Prothera is another doctor trusted supplement brand that is deeply integrated into the functional medicine/integrative medicine world. Their products offer supremely-formulated options to help deliver supplements optimized for peak efficacy. They are largely renowned for being the parent company of Klaire Labs, which offers some of the most robust probiotics on the market. Their interpretation of the best possible Garcinia Cambogia product also utilizes the SuperCitrimax formula. The Garcinia Cambogia by Prothera product provides 250mg of hydroxycitric acid (50% standardization of 500mg Garcinia Cambogia) and is recommended to be taken before meals. Prothera has a long track record of providing truly potent supplements, though they are sometimes hard to find. Many people outside of professional health circles aren’t familiar with this brand—but they offer some of the most-potent supplements available.

SuperCitrimax Plus by Pure Encapsulations

pure-encapsulatio.ns-super-citrimax-plus
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Pure Encapsulations is a brand that needs little introduction among connoisseurs of quality supplements. They offer a tremendously-wide product line ranging from simple minerals like Magnesium Glycinate to more specialized products like their GABA supplement. This brand is one of the most readily-available brands recommended by doctors and is very popular for their ability to provide predictable supplies. It’s one thing to find a supplement brand that you truly trust, but it’s an entirely different struggle to find one that offers a large product line that is almost always in stock. The SuperCitrimax Plus by Pure Encapsulations is another option to make use of the proprietary InterHealth compound. Additionally, Pure Encapsulations has chosen to include 200mcg (micrograms) of chromium, 133mg of Gymnema, and 30 mg of fat-soluble Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate). If you are looking solely for a pure Garcinia Cambogia product, this may not be for you. If you are looking for the most-effective Garcinia Cambogia for weight loss—this synergistic blend may be worth a try.

SuperCitrimax by Life Extension

life extension super citrimax garcinia cambogia
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Life Extension has been renowned among the medical community for many years for producing highly-insightful research into the potential healing powers of alternative therapies. They have been a leading voice in motivating supplement manufacturers across the industry to adhere to NSF-certified production methods. They operate as a stark epitome of a consumer advocacy group, though they are at their core a medical group. The only critique that we could offer for this company is their use of 3rd party production facilities—which can open up the possibility for more things to go wrong during production. TO BE CLEAR—this isn’t a bad thing, and almost every supplement on the market today participates in such approaches. This process can actually be beneficial in driving down costs for consumers and allows brands like Life Extension to focus on research and consumer awareness. The Life Extension SuperCitrimax product is one of the most-affordable Garcinia Cambogia products on the market that still retains a pure high-quality formulation.

Common Questions & Concerns

Any supplement possesses the potential to help heal or harm, and every individual has a unique balance. Supplements that work wonders for some may cause great harm and grief to others. Generally speaking, natural supplements offer the unparalleled ability to try them without much concern when used in recommended doses. While laboratory testing, genetic testing, organic acids testing, and even microbial DNA stool testing call help illuminate the facets of your physiological balance—sometimes it’s easier to just try a supplement out and see how it affects you. Garcinia Cambogia is certainly a supplement that seems to fall well within the lines of being mainstream and well-tolerated by most people. You should always ask your doctor to weigh in before you start a new supplement or cleansing protocol, but better understanding the questions and concerns of others can help get you started as well. Below, you’ll find a brief discussion related to many of the common concerns related to Garcinia Cambogia.

Does Garcinia Cambogia Work?

Yes. Garcinia Cambogia does exactly what it has evolved to do. This question is asked a lot, and what most people really mean when asking it is “will Garcinia Cambogia make me lose weight?” There is no definitive answer to this question, and it varies between individuals and how their body responds to the compound. The current research indicates that Garcinia Cambogia—especially when taken in SuperCitrimax form—can help support a diet and exercise program’s goal of reducing overall body fat. Is Garcinia Cambogia a miracle pill that will help you eat all you want, lay on the couch watching TV, and still lose weight? Absolutely not.

How to Take Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia Cambogia is most-frequently seen in capsule form but is also available as a liquid extract (tincture), teas, and in powdered form. Any responsible manufacturer will provide dosage recommendations for their individual product, and these guidelines should be considered your starting point. Generally speaking, Garcinia Cambogia is taken approximately 1 hour before meals to allow for the full appetite-suppression effects to kick in. It should be taken on an empty stomach, that way there will be no nutrients and other compounds competing for absorption.

What are the side effects of Garcinia Cambogia?

There aren’t really many reported side effects of Garcinia Cambogia of note. Most of the research around this compound has been done on fairly short-term timelines (~12 weeks) which means that there really isn’t any established understanding of potential long-term health impacts. In 2009 the FDA forced a recall of a supplement named Hydroxycut which was a hydroxycitric acid containing the product. This move was done after several reports of liver damage were received, as well as other serious reactions. Garcinia Cambogia was not an active ingredient in this product, though it was clearly formulated (and marketed) to contain hydroxycitric acid. There is no evidence to suggest that Garcinia Cambogia would cause similar side effects, but the connection is worth noting and keeping in mind. It’s important to buy quality supplements such as the ones listed above to ensure that you aren’t ingesting toxic chemicals—which most definitely would cause unwanted side effects.

How long does it take for Garcinia Cambogia to work?

All the beneficial effects of Garcinia Cambogia that have been seen in clinical studies have been noted during time frames of approximately 2 weeks. It is reasonable to assume that any benefits that this compound is capable of providing to you would be seen in a similar time frame. To ensure that Garcinia Cambogia is able to offer it’s full benefits, follow recommended dosages and meal timings.

How Much Garcinia Cambogia Should I Take?

This question is best answered by your doctor, though typical doses fall within the 1000-1200mg range before each meal. This would equate to a ~3500mg dose of Garcinia Cambogia divided throughout the day. This is a fairly large amount compared to many other supplements and medications, though generally regarded as safe. The toxicity of compounds (including supplements) is recorded as a value known as the LD50. This records the amount of a compound that is lethal to 50% of an animal population on which it was tested (usually mice). The LD50 for HydroxyCitric Acid is more than 5000mg per kilogram of body weight (pdf), which is nearly 25 times larger than the LD50 for caffeine. For all practical purposes, it would be impossible to run into a situation where you took enough Garcinia Cambogia to risk death.

How much HydroxyCitric Acid is in Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia Cambogia naturally contains about 10% hydroxycitric acid by overall weight, much of which is found in the rind of the fruit. Many Garcinia Cambogia products are extractions made from the rind and contain a higher concentration of HCA to provide more effective therapeutic doses. The SuperCitrimax version of Garcinia Cambogia, found in many of the products listed above, contains 60% Hydroxycitric Acid by weight. That means for every 1000mg dose of SuperCitrimax, you’re receiving 600mg of pure hydroxycitric acid. This is much more than simple herbal extracts, which usually only contain ~10-20% HCA by weight.

Final Considerations

Garcinia Cambogia has shown the ability to affect weight loss in several clinical trials. There is much debate about the effectiveness of its primary active ingredient—hydroxycitric acid. HCA has been linked to appetite suppressing hormone activity, and overall body fat composition. Specialized formulations of Garcinia Cambogia, such as the SuperCitrimax which is sold by doctor-recommended supplement brands, offer a more powerful version of this natural compound. While you should always discuss new supplements with your doctor, Garcinia Cambogia is generally regarded as safe and there have been little to no side effects reported. This natural compound offers several notable health benefits, though overzealous marketing of Garcinia Cambogia for weight loss has tarnished its perception in the minds of many.

compounds such as Garcinia Cambogia, Forskolin, and especially the new powerhouse Vitamin B3 compound Niagen have shown great potential

Nature is miraculous, and the natural compounds found all around us are capable of powerful healing action. It’s ill-advised to start taking supplements all willy-nilly, but compounds such as Garcinia Cambogia, Forskolin, and especially the new powerhouse Vitamin B3 compound Niagen have shown great potential, and have a lot of research to help inform your decision. Nearly the only universal advice for any particular supplement is to make sure you are buying from a trusted manufacturer that maintains a rigid quality control program. Doctor trusted brands offer the highest quality and purest ingredients but are also the most costly. These are usually a good place to start off, so you can accurately gauge a supplements effect on you. After you know what something does for you, then you can go for a slightly cheaper brand—being able to recognize if the lower quality doesn’t provide the same benefits. Ultimately the best way to understand how a new supplement may affect you is to read and learn as much as you can, and then find out first hand.

Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia Cambogia
5
Overall Rating
Garcinia Cambogia is a powerful natural compound that is rich in hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This unique compound has been shown to offer many health benefits, including the assistance in weight loss programs. This compound is often touted as a miracle weight loss pill—but in truth it only offers very useful support in more holistic weight loss approaches and balanced lifestyles.
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References

  1. Hayamizu, Kohsuke, et al. “Effects of Garcinia Cambogia (Hydroxycitric Acid) on Visceral Fat Accumulation: a Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Current Therapeutic Research, Clinical and Experimental, Elsevier, Sept. 2003, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4053034/.
  2. Hamblin, James. “Senators to Dr. Oz: Stop Promising Weight-Loss Miracles.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 18 June 2014, www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/magic-weight-loss-pills-may-not-exist/372958/.
  3. Mackeen, M M, et al. “Antifungal Garcinia Acid Esters from the Fruits of Garcinia Atroviridis.” Zeitschrift Fur Naturforschung. C, Journal of Biosciences., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12064729/.
  4. Dos, S B, et al. “Attenuation of Colitis Injury in Rats Using Garcinia Cambogia Extract.” Phytotherapy Research : PTR., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18979524/.
  5. Mackeen, M M, et al. “Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Antitumour-Promoting and Cytotoxic Activities of Different Plant Part Extracts of Garcinia Atroviridis Griff. Ex T. Anders.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2000, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10996278/.
  6. Interhealth. “Super CitriMax – InterHealth – Now Part of Lonza.” InterHealth Now Part of Lonza, www.interhealthusa.com/our-brands/super-citrimax/.
  7. Preuss, H G, et al. “Efficacy of a Novel Calcium/Potassium Salt of (-)-Hydroxycitric Acid in Weight Control.” International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16366421.
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