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Garcinia cambogia

Garcinia Cambogia is a fruit that is known to enhance the culinary experience of food, and enhances satiety from a meal (possibly by enhancing the flavor experience). Its usage as a fat burner does not appear to extend to humans.

Our evidence-based analysis on garcinia cambogia features 48 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Garcinia cambogia

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Garcinia Cambogia (Malabar Tamarind) is a small fruit that has some traditional usage to enhance the culinary experience of a meal, but beyond that has limited medicinal usage. It is a very good source of hydroxycitric acids (structurally related to citric acid, a sour flavorant) and one of the isomers, known as (-)-Hydroxycitric acid, is thought to help in weight control.

The mechanism of action is inhibiting an enzyme called Citric acid lysase which is required in the synthesis of fatty acids, known as de novo lipogenesis. At least in rats, evidence of suppressed de novo lipogenesis has been noted and oral consumption of (-)-Hydroxycitric acid appears to reliably reduce food intake and body weight (the latter to a degree where food intake cannot explain all the observed effects)

Studies in humans, for the most part, fail to replicate this; this may be related to less actual activity of de novo lipogenesis in humans and a much higher level in rats. Some isolated studies do note weight loss, but it appears to be quite variable and unreliable. Many studies also do report subjective appetite decrease, but tend to record dropout rates (how often people leave the study due to being unable to maintain the diet protocol) rather than food intake; even then the benefits are still unreliable and sometimes not present.

Although there is some limited potential for (-)-Hydroxycitric acid as a weight loss aid, the magnitude of effect is quite low (up to 2kg over 3 months) and the benefit is unreliable; making it hard to recommend this compound as a fat burner or anti-obesity agent.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Standard dosing of Garcinia Cambogia and its bioactive, (-)-Hydroxycitric acid, is 500mg of (-)-Hydroxycitric acid taken 30-60 minutes prior to a meal and usually taken at up to three different meals daily.

It is unsure if this is the ideal dose since human studies usually fail to find a benefit with any dosage.

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine Plus members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Garcinia cambogia has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine Plus members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-b - High See all 3 studies
Although there is some counter evidence, it tends to be less robust and for the most part there is no significant weight reducing effect of garcinia cambogia supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on apolipoprotein B detected
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence of acute HCA supplementation on appetite when taken before a meal
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on circulating estrogen levels associated with garcinia
grade-c - - See study
Food intake appears to be unaltered following ingestion of garcinia supplements, which is different than results seen in rats
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on HDL-C levels
grade-c - - See study
Garcinia appears unable to influence LDL-C levels based on preliminary evidence
grade-c - - See study
Testosterone appears to be unaltered following ingestion of garcinia cambogia
grade-c - - See study
No significant alterations seen in total cholesterol levels
grade-c - - See study
No detectable influence on triglyceride levels

Studies Excluded from Consideration

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Frequently Asked Questions and Articles on Garcinia cambogia

Does Garcinia Cambogia help with weight loss?
Garcinia Cambogia does not appear to help with weight loss in humans despite its popularity, and this is due to a profound difference in how it affects rats and humans.

Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Gambooge, Pazham Puzhi, Bitter Kola, Malabar tamarind, (-)-Hydroxycitric acid, HCA, Hydroxycitric acid

Do Not Confuse With

Hoodia gordonii (another ineffective appetite suppressant)

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Click here to see all 48 references.