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Drugs and diseases reference index

Herbs & Supplements «Garcinia Cambogia and Cambogia Extract»

Garcinia cambogia, also known as malabar tamarind and brindle berry, is a relatively small purple fruit that contains a chemical compound called Hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA is much like a derivative of the same citric acid that can be found in many other citric fruits whose chemical make up is only slightly different. Studies indicate that HCA may assist in weight loss because of its ability to regulate metabolism.

Specifically, hydroxycitric acid is a competitive inhibitor of adenosine triphosphate-citrate. In the cytosol, ATP citrate lyase catalyzes the conversion of citrate and coenzyme A to oxaloacetate and acetyl coenzyme A (commonly referred to as acetyl CoA). Acetyl CoA is required for the synthesis of fatty acids, cholesterol and triglycerides.

Oxaloacetate may enter the gluconeogenic pathway, which can lead to the production of glucose and glycogen. Many researchers and experts assert that the putative antiobesity effect of hydroxycitric acid is due to suppression of fatty acid and fat synthesis. Additionally, hydroxycitric acid is believed to suppress food intake via an anorectic effect, which also supports the belief that HCA may assist in weight loss.

Studies suggest that garcinia cambogia may assist in weight loss for the following reasons:
  • HCA appears to block the conversion of sugars and starches into fats, that this, HCA is believed to help inhibit fat production.
  • HCA may suppress appetite by raising levels of certain brain chemicals such as serotonin, a key stimulator of appetite.
However, there is no concrete evidence that supports the conclusion that garcinia cambogia can in fact cause weight loss. However, in a study of 60 overweight participants who took the supplement for 2 months, HCA appeared to help participants lose weight when compared with other study participants who were given a placebo.

Dosage and Administration

While there is no recommended dosage, a normal dosage of HCA would likely be 250 to 1,000 mg taken 3 times per day. The reason that we say 250 to 1,000 mg of HCA as opposed to garcinia cambogia itself is because more products labeled garcinia cambogia are standardized to contain a fixed amount of HCA.

Side Effects

To date no serious side effects involving either garcinia cambogia fruit extracts or the concentrated chemical HCA have been reported.

Supporting Literature

Conte AA. A non-prescription alternative in weight reduction therapy. 1993; Summer:17-19.

Greenwood MR, Cleary MP, Gruen R. Effect of (-)-hydroxycitrate on development of obesity in the Zucker obese rat. Am J Physiol. 1981; 240:E72-E78.

Kriketos AD, Greene H, Thompson HR, Hill JO. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid does not affect energy expenditure and substrate oxidation in adult males in a post-absorptive state. 1999; 23:867-873.

Lowenstein JM. Effect of (-)-hydroxycitrate on fatty acid synthesis by rat liver in vivo. J Biol Chem 1971;246:629-632.

Triscari J, Sullivan AC. Comparative effects of (-)-hydroxycitrate and (-)-allo-hydroxycitrate on acetyl CoA carboxylase and fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis in vivo. Lipids 1977;12:357-363.