Garcinia Cambogia is a plant with a fruit that looks like a small, green pumpkin and is used in many Asian foods for its sour flavor. In the skin of the fruit, there is a large amount of a natural substance called Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA). This is the active ingredient in Garcinia Cambogia extract, the substance that may produce a weight loss effect.
There are several research studies on Garcinia Cambogia, done on both animals and humans and according to some studies in rats, it can inhibit a fat producing enzyme called Citrate Lyase, making it more difficult for the body to produce fat out of carbohydrates. Other rat studies show increased levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This could theoretically lead to reduced appetite. Most of the studies in rats show that Garcinia Cambogia consistently leads to significant weight loss. The problem with rodent studies is that what works in rats doesn’t necessarily work in humans.
The largest of the human studies included 135 overweight individuals, which were split into two groups:
Treatment group: 3 grams of Garcinia Cambogia Extract (a total of 1500mg Hydroxycitric acid) in three separate doses, 30 minutes before meals.
Placebo group: The other group took dummy pills (placebo).
Both groups also went on a high-fiber, low calorie diet. The results of the 12 week study, which was published in The Journal of The American Medical Association showed that both groups lost weight.
The group taking Garcinia Cambogia extract actually lost less weight (3.2 kg – 7 pounds) than the placebo group (4.1 kg – 9 pounds). The researchers also looked at body fat percentage. The placebo group lost 2.16%, while the group taking Garcinia Cambogia lost only 1.6%. However the researchers determined that the difference was not statistically significant, meaning that the results could have been due to chance.
In another study with 89 overweight females, Garcinia Cambogia did lead to 1.3 kg (2.8 pounds) more weight loss compared to placebo, over a period of 12 weeks. They found no difference in appetite between groups.
Another study also found that Garcinia Cambogia reduced belly fat and reduced blood triglycerides. However, it did not cause actual weight loss.
There have been a number of studies conducted on Garcinia Cambogia in overweight individuals. Some of them show a small amount of weight loss, while other studies show no effect.
If you want to try it out the most common dose is 500 mg, 3 times per day, half an hour before meals.
Dominick Walsh is a blogger for Performance Nutrition and TMRzoo.com and covers all men’s health topics and exercise issues including protein powders, diets, weight loss, weight lifting supplements, fat burners and supplement reviews. Dominick’s columns cover everything you need to know about your pre, during and post workout nutrition.