By Nurse Mark
Garcinia Cambogia: Your e-mail inbox is probably just as cluttered with spam advertising for garcinia cambogia as mine is.
It’s promoters make wild promises of amazing weight loss (“Lose 8 pounds in a week – without dieting!), boosted metabolism, suppressed appetite, and “All Natural Weight Loss” – with no calorie counting, and “No More Crazy Dieting!”
Wow – if this is for real then we have an amazing discovery here… So, is it really for real?
We’ve looked into this for you – and the answer is…
Maybe yes, maybe no.
Sorry, I know that isn’t the nice, clear-cut answer you were hoping for, but it’s the best we can give you. So read on.
Because this is considered to be a “weight-loss” product, breathless overstated hype has become the norm in it’s promotion. The Mighty Dr. Oz has weighed in on his infomercial television show (come now, you didn’t really think his show had anything to do with medicine did you? It’s an infomercial from start to finish!) and outright B.S. is being used to sell this supplement in many cases… (OK, OK, – before you fire off a letter to me taking me to task for using bad language, B.S. stands for Bad Science in this case!)
So what is this stuff, really?
Garcinia Cambogia is one of a family of 50 or so tropical fruit-bearing trees.
The fruit of these trees is harvested and processed to extract the active ingredient, Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which is a derivative of citric acid that’s found in a variety of tropical plants including Garcinia cambogia and Hibiscus subdariffa.
Well, darn – that took the magic and mystery out of it, didn’t it!
And wait – don’t get all “natural” on us – many of the forms commonly available really aren’t produced from the fruit of these trees – there just isn’t enough fruit to satisfy the demand.
No, much of the HCA you’ll find on the shelves of your local stores is actually created in huge factory laboratories, using genetically modified bacteria to produce a commercially viable form of HCA. It pays to read the label…
Enough of all that – get to the punch-line: Does the stuff really work?
Like I said earlier, yes, and no.
Yes, there are a number of animal studies that demonstrate it’s effects on weight-loss, fat loss, and appetite suppression.
No, there are no definitive, conclusive human studies to show a positive effect toward those things – but there have been numerous studies that prove the safety of HCA and strongly suggest it’s effectiveness.
Yes, there are plenty of anecdotal reports that seem to indicate that at least for some people HCA is a helpful and effective part of an overall weight-loss program.
No, it is not a “magic bullet” that will allow you to “lose 8 pounds a week with no dieting, no calorie-counting, no exercise, and no will-power!”
Why is it so popular if it’s not really proven?
Could it be popular because the Mighty Dr. Oz gave it his Golden Blessing? Or the “Shark Tank” television promotion? Or any of hundreds of other hucksters and snake-oil salesmen eager to profit from people’s gullibility and desperation in wanting an easy solution to the difficult problem that overweight poses? All these promoters seem happy to offer HCA as a “magic bullet” – a fast, easy, no-effort, one-pill solution.
Could it be because of a recent increase in availability and profitability created by the synthesis of this once rare substance? It is interesting to note that it’s within the last few years that we have been bombarded with endless sales pitches – and the synthesis and mass-production of HCA began in earnest around 2006… coincidence? You decide.
So is it really worthwhile?
Yes. We believe that for those people that find it to be effective it is very worthwhile.
And how do you know if you are one of “those people”? Try it!
The safety of HCA is unquestioned when taken as directed, and when used as one tool in a well-thought out weight loss program it gets very good reviews from a lot of people.
Be sure to read the label. Unless you are satisfied to use a product synthesized from GMO bacteria the label should specify that it is derived from the dried rind of Garicinia cambogia fruit. If it doesn’t specify that then it’s probably synthetic.
References and additional reading:
Premarket Notification of Synthetically Produced HCA http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/95s0316/95s-0316-rpt0270-04-Appendix-A-Research-Paper-vol202.pdf
Safety and mechanism of appetite suppression by a novel hydroxycitric acid extract (HCA-SX). Mol Cell Biochem. 2002 Sep;238(1-2):89-103. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12349913
Descriptions of Studies and Clinical reports of appetite suppressive effects of HCA – from the FDA: http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/95s0316/95s-0316-rpt0270-21-Section-3-Appetite-Suppression-vol202.pdf
Heymsfield, MD; [et.al] Garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric Acid) as a Potential Antiobesity Agent – A Randomized Controlled Trial. Steven B. JAMA. 1998;280(18):1596-1600. doi:10.1001/jama.280.18.1596. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=188147
HCA from GMO bacteria: Takashi Yamada, Hiroyuki Hida, Yasuhiro Yamada. Chemistry, physiological properties, and microbial production of hydroxycitric acid. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. July 2007, Volume 75, Issue 5, pp 977-982 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00253-007-0962-4
Hydroxycitric acid – Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxycitric_acid
Garcinia – Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garcinia
Gatta B, Zuberbuehler C, Arnold M, Aubert R, Langhans W, Chapelot D. Acute effects of pharmacological modifications of fatty acid metabolism on human satiety. Br J Nutr. 2009 Jun;101(12):1867-77. Epub 2008 Dec 16.
Preuss HG, Rao CV, Garis R, Bramble JD, Ohia SE, Bagchi M, Bagchi D. An overview of the safety and efficacy of a novel, natural(-)-hydroxycitric acid extract (HCA-SX) for weight management. J Med. 2004;35(1-6):33-48.
Lowenstein JM. Experiments with (-)hydroxycitrate. In: Burtley W, Kornberg HL, Quayle JR, eds. Essays in Cell Metabolism. New York: Wiley Interscience, 1970, 153–66.
Roy S, Shah H, Rink C, Khanna S, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Sen CK. Transcriptome of primary adipocytes from obese women in response to a novel hydroxycitric acid-based dietary supplement. DNA Cell Biol. 2007 Sep;26(9):627-39.
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