Common Names: garcinia cambogia , garcinia, Malabar tamarind, brindle berry
Latin Names: Garcinia cambogia
- Garcinia cambogia (Malabar tamarind) is native to India and Southeast Asia. The rind of its fruit is used to flavor fish curries and preserve food.
- 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 used as a dietary supplement for rheumatism, intestinal problems, and other conditions.
- Garcinia cambogia is made into a tea, capsules, extracts, tablets, and lotion.
How Much Do We Know?
- Garcinia cambogia has been studied for weight loss, but there aren’t a lot of recent, reliable studies on its effectiveness.
What Have We Learned?
- There’s no convincing evidence that garcinia cambogia will help you lose weight or control cholesterol.
- In a very small study, women who were overweight were given garcinia cambogia extract or a placebo for 60 days. Triglyceride levels of the participants getting garcinia cambogia decreased by almost one-third. Triglycerides are a type of fat in blood and high levels may raise a person’s risk of developing heart disease. The participants’ HDL (the “good” cholesterol), LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), total cholesterol, and body weight didn’t change.
- In another study, people who were overweight were given either garcinia cambogia extract, soy leaf extract, or a placebo. After 10 weeks, none of the supplements promoted weight loss or lowered total cholesterol.
What Do We Know About Safety?
- Taking garcinia cambogia for short periods (12 weeks or less) appears safe for most people.
Keep in Mind
- Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
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- Astell KJ, Mathai ML, Su XQ. Plant extracts with appetite suppressing properties for body weight control: a systematic review of double blind randomized controlled clinical trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2013;21(4):407-416.
- Garcinia. Natural Medicines Web site. Accessed at naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com on April 10, 2015. [Database subscription].
- Greenway F. Garcinia. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:307-313.
- Kim JE, Jeon SM, Park KH, et al. Does Glycine max leaves or Garcinia cambogia promote weight-loss or lower plasma cholesterol in overweight individuals: a randomized control trial. Nutrition Journal. 2011;10:94.
- Lopez AM, Kornegay J, Hendrickson RG. Serotonin toxicity associated with Garcinia cambogia over-the-counter supplement. Journal of Medical Toxicology. 2014;10(4):399-401.
- Semwal RB, Semwal DK, Vermaak I, et al. A comprehensive scientific overview of Garcinia cambogia. Fitoterapia. 2015;102:134-148.
- Vasques CA, Schneider R, Klein-Júnior LC, et al. Hypolipemic effect of Garcinia cambogia in obese women. Phytotherapy Research. 2014;28(6):887-891.
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