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Garcinia Cambogia

garcinia cambogia
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Common Names: garcinia cambogia, garcinia, Malabar tamarind, brindle berry

Latin Names: Garcinia gummi-gutta

Background

  • Garcinia cambogia is native to India and Southeast Asia. The fruit pulp and rind have long been used in Asian countries as a condiment and food preservative.
  • The rind contains a chemical called hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which has been studied for its effect on appetite. Garcinia cambogia supplements with HCA are marketed for weight loss.
  • Garcinia cambogia has also been promoted for relief of joint pain and digestive symptoms and to improve athletic performance.

How Much Do We Know?

  • Several studies have investigated the effect of garcinia cambogia on weight loss in people. Less research has been done on other uses of garcinia cambogia.
  • Several dozen cases of liver toxicity have been reported in people who were taking products labeled as containing garcinia cambogia.

What Have We Learned?

  • A 2020 review of 11 short-term studies in people did not find significant effects of garcinia cambogia products on weight loss.

What Do We Know About Safety?

  • Cases of liver damage associated with the use of garcinia cambogia products have been reported. This problem appears to be uncommon, but some cases were severe. Most of the reported cases involved products labeled as containing a combination of ingredients, but some involved products labeled as containing only garcinia cambogia.
  • Other side effects associated with garcinia cambogia include headache and nausea, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Little is known about whether it’s safe to use garcinia cambogia during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Keep in Mind

  • Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.

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PubMed®

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Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

ODS seeks to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, supporting research, sharing research results, and educating the public. Its resources include publications (such as Dietary Supplements: What You Need To Know) and fact sheets on a variety of specific supplement ingredients and products (such as vitamin D and multivitamin/mineral supplements).

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Key References

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NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.

Last Updated: December 2020