Garcinia cambogia and weight loss...worth the hype?
March 16, 2015
Thanks to Dr Oz and various facebook advertising campaigns, there is a whirl wind of interest around the latest weight loss miracle herb... Garcinia cambogia. So what is this herb, how does it work and most importantly... does it work??
What is Garcinia?
Garcinia Cambogia is a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit native to Indonesia but also grown in India, Southeast Asia, and West and Central Africa. It has long been used in traditional South Asian dishes, adding this ingredient to meals is considered to be effective in making meals more “filling.”
How does it work?
Garcinia contains a constituent called Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) this ingredient is what makes Garcinia effective for weightloss. It works on a number of levels:
HCA inhibits a key enzyme (Citrate lyase) that your body needs to create fat from carbohydrates. Citrate lyase also blocks production of LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.
HCA increases the breakdown of fats and may improve the synthesis of acetycholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for muscular contraction. Increases in acetycholine synthesis improve athletic endurance, the result of this is being able to train harder for longer thus increasing calorie burning!
HCA slows glucose uptake from the blood, thus stabilizing blood sugar levels, reducing sugar cravings and delivering sustainable energy throughout the day.
HCA supplementation has been shown to increase serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin is a "feel good" hormone which controls mood, anxiety and sleep so HCA supplementation may be helpful for emotional eaters.
So, does it work??
Garcinia cambogia and isolated HCA extract have both been extensively researched but also importantly, have a long history of use in traditional medicine of many cultures.
When you look up HCA you may find conflicting test results however those which use therapeutic doses with a high percentage of HCA in the plant extract generally yield positive results on a number of parameters including reduced appetite, reduced visceral fat, improved cholesterol HDL:LDL ratios and increased energy.
Examples of studies include
1) In a 12-week study, 40 obese patients were treated with a supplement containing G. cambogia 50 mg (taken as 2 tablets 3 x daily) along with a 1,200 calorie per day diet. The treatment group attained a 3.5 kg weight loss versus 1.2 kg on placebo, and body composition measurements showed more than 85% reduction in fat. (Thom E. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a new weight-reducing agent of natural origin. J Int Med Res . 2000;28(5):229-233)
2) Visceral, subcutaneous, and total fat accumulation were reduced in 39 patients over 16 weeks using HCA 1,000 mg/day versus placebo. At the end of the treatment, both groups were administered placebo for 4 weeks and no rebound effect was documented. (Hayamizu K, Ishii Y, Kaneko I, et al. Effects of Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) on visceral fat accumulation: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. CurrTher Res Clin Exp . 2003;64(8):551-567)
3) An 8-week study examined the efficacy of HCA in 54 overweight patients. The treatment group was administered a combination supplement containing G. cambogia 500 mg 3 times a day while the control group received the placebo. All patients were asked to maintain a low-fat diet and drink 64 oz of water per day. The treatment group lost an average weight of 11.14 lb/person as compared with the control group, which lost an average of 4.2 lb/person. (Lau FC, Bagchi M, Sen C, Roy S, Bagchi D. Nutrigenomic analysis of diet-gene interactions on functional supplements for weight management. Curr Genomics . 2008;9(4):239-251.)
How to supplement with Garcinia Cambogia/ HCA
Keep in mind that on labels it may be called Garcinia, Brindleberry or HCA.
Weight loss requires an approach which is individualised to meet your specific needs, this is why it is always best to seek professional guidance.
For example, if you are middle age, have gained weight around your waist and have fluctuating energy levels then combining garcinia with other ingredients which also help with balance blood sugar may provide you with better results. This might include Chromium, Gymnema & Cinnamomum.
For those exercising and wanting more energy and calorie burning a pre-workout supplement which includes HCA with other metabolism boosting ingredients including caffeine and thermogenics will help give you that extra kick for your training session and increase the calorie burning effect of your training.
If other factors are affecting your weightloss results such as menopause, andropause, PCOS, thyroid dysfunction, high cortisol, depression, medications, fluid retention etc then to get sustainable results these underlying issues must be addressed.
For more information or to book a consultation please call for a chat about how I may be able to assist your weightloss journey.