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Garcinia Cambogia

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Garcinia cambogia can help with weight loss, appetite control, athletic performance, blood sugar regulation, and it may help with controlling cholesterol.

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Garcinia cambogia, also known as Malabar tamarind or Brindle berry, is a tropical fruit that resembles a cross between a pumpkin and tomato, but it is green or yellow in color. It grows natively in India and Southeast Asia where, historically, its rind was used to preserve foods and as a flavoring in foods. Its current uses have come a long way from its origins.

Garcinia cambogia is now widely marketed as a weight loss and athletic performance supplement because of its active ingredient hydroxycitric acid, or HCA. HCA extract can be purchased over the counter as a supplement available in many forms including powder or pill form.

Why Go Natural?

Researchers are constantly looking for ways to stifle the ever-growing trend of excessive fat accumulation found in those who are diagnosed as overweight and/or obese. Though there are several prescription drugs available, they more often than not are accompanied by dangerous side effects. Therefore, researchers have been looking to the past for natural remedies, such as those available in plant form, like Garcinia cambogia which was used in Asian culture to make meals more filling.

If it made meals more filling, then one may pose the questions, “What else could it do? And “How?”

How Garcinia Cambogia Works

There are bodies of research showing that hydroxycitric acid, found in the rind of the plant, can boost your fat-burning potential and cut back appetite according to WebMd1. This site also attests that HCA appears to block an enzyme called citrate lyase, which your body uses to make fat.

Science also tells us that when our serotonin levels become low our hunger increases. This causes us to do something called reactive eating, or mindlessly eating when you aren’t truly hungry. Garcinia cambogia can naturally help alleviate this because it increases serotonin levels.

Other studies2 show that it can also reduce carbohydrate metabolism. This is important for those who are pre-diabetic or have type-II diabetes because this supplement could help control post-meal glucose levels.

Can Garcinia Cambogia Help Combat Obesity & Help With Weight Loss?

The majority of studies and the conclusions of meta-analysis covering the effectiveness of Garcinia cambogia for weight loss, such as Onakpoya et al. (2011)3, show that it is moderately effective. The meta-analysis by Onakpoya et al. revealed that the majority of people in the nine studies they analyzed who took an HCA supplement daily for 2 to 3 months lost approximately 2 more pounds than participants not taking HCA.

Chuah et al. (2013)4 attest that the anti-obesity effects of Garcinia, or more specifically of its HCA content, have been studied thoroughly over the last few decades. Study after study shows its efficacy in:

  • Reducing body weight
  • Reducing food intake (via appetite control)
  • Increased fat oxidation or fat burning
  • And the amelioration of obesity-related complications such as
    • inflammation
    • oxidative stress
    • and insulin resistance

In a recent long-term study on overweight and obese adults, Maia-Landim et al. (2018)5 assessed whether a controlled diet supplemented with Garcinia cambogia and Glucomannan was able to reduce weight after 3 and 6 months. Their results indicated that patients had a reduction in weight and they improved lipid (fat) and glucose (sugar) blood profiles.

In an even more recent and large clinical study by Tomar et al. (2019)6, similar results were found. One hundred obese individuals took Garcinia for 3 months in order to investigate the effects of HCA treatment on human subjects. What they found was that treatment using HCA extract can” reduce body weight gain and fat accumulation in obese subjects along with improving their anthropometric parameters and metabolic state.”

What can we conclude from these studies?

Garcinia cambogia can help us to burn fat and lose weight. If someone asked if you wanted to lose 8 pounds using diet and exercise or 12 pounds using diet, exercise and a natural supplement, your answer will probably be a resounding 12! Who doesn’t want to lose the extra few pounds?

Can The Type Of Diet You Choose Make A Difference?

Other researchers have looked at whether Garcinia cambogia is more effective in conjunction with different types of diets.

One study by Sripradha & Magadi (2015)7 tested the impact of Garcinia cambogia on rats that were fed a high-fat diet. They found that supplementation of Garcinia along with a high-fat diet showed decreased gain in body weight and plasma leptin levels. The implications of this study may be that the supplement works best in conjunction with a high-fat diet such as Keto as compared to those who typically eat low fat, high carbohydrate diets.

No matter what diet you choose, it is advisable to make healthier lifestyle choices while you take Garcinia cambogia in order to achieve the results you are looking for.

Help With Type 2 Diabetes

We previously mentioned that supplements containing HCA could have positive impacts on blood sugar levels and insulin resistance for those suffering from type-II diabetes.

A person with diabetes can’t properly use glucose, a substance that our bodies make from broken down food. When a person’s cells don’t properly absorb glucose, the glucose continues to float around in the bloodstream and accumulate over time. This causes blood sugar spikes. Controlling blood sugar spikes is important because the build-up of glucose can lead to long term damage to organs, blood vessels, and nerves along with many other side effects.

How could Garcinia cambogia help?

Science Direct8 reported on the findings of a Dutch study conducted in 2005 that showed that HCA slowed the absorption of glucose over the course of two hours after a meal compared to a 20-minute sugar spike in untreated rats after a meal. Researchers noted that with further study there even could be implications for diabetes treatment due to the fact that the supplement helped with “sugar/insulin peaks and valleys likely leveled.”

Another study by Asghar et al. (2007)9 tested diabetic rats with an HCA supplement over a period of 7 weeks. The rats that received HCA had improved markers of inflammation compared to those that did not receive the supplement including:

  • lower fasting plasma insulin
  • lower blood glucose levels
  • lower triglycerides

In addition, the HCA rats did not develop insulin resistance, they had a reduced food intake, and they had less body weight gain throughout the study.

More human studies are needed to realize the full potential of HCA for diabetics. If you are already taking medication for diabetes, talk to your doctor before adding any type of supplementation to your daily regimen. Further lowering your blood sugar could result in adverse side effects.

Help For High Cholesterol & Triglycerides

Garcinia cambogia has been said to decrease “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, and triglycerides and to raise levels of the “good” cholesterol, or HDL.

In the study referenced above by Asghar, HCA did lower triglycerides, or fats found in the bloodstream, in rats. What about human studies?

In the aforementioned study by Kim et al. (2011)10, participants had an increase of HDL, or “good” cholesterol. The increase in HDL does lower one’s risk of atherosclerosis, or build-up of plaque in the artery wall that leads to heart problems.

A study by Pruess et al. (2004)11 was also very promising.  Obese individuals were given a 60% HCA supplement which equates to about 2,800 milligrams of Garcinia cambogia each day for eight weeks. The participants in the study that received this treatment greatly improved their total cholesterol levels (both increasing good and decreasing bad), lowered their triglycerides and excreted more fat metabolites which were tested through urinalysis.

Garcinia For Athletic Performance In Trained & Untrained Individuals

Garcinia cambogia is not only advertised as a weight-loss supplement but also as a supplement for enhancing athletic ability. It is said to work by slowing the onset of exhaustion during your workout.

Lim et al. (2003)12 stated that HCA has been proven to increase endurance exercise performance in trained mice and athletes. However, they stated there was little research investigating its impact on untrained animals and humans. Therefore, they studied the effects of short-term HCA ingestion on endurance exercise performance and fat metabolism in untrained women.

What they found is that HCA decreased the subject’s respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and carbohydrate oxidation during an hour of exercise. In addition, it took significantly longer for the HCA group to reach exhaustion. Therefore, athletic performance was enhanced.

They stated that “these results suggest that HCA increases fat metabolism, which may be associated with a decrease in glycogen utilization during the same intensity exercise and enhanced exercise performance.”

Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe? What To Look For When You Buy

The majority of studies that have tested Garcinia cambogia have deemed it safe.

In a meta-analysis by Chuah et al. (2013)13 that looked at 17 studies involving 873 participants, they concluded that intake of HCA alone did not produce adverse effects and a dietary dosage of up to 2800 milligrams per day was regarded as the “no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL)” in humans.

When you purchase Garcinia cambogia, look for one that contains 50-60% HCA. Studies show that those containing 50–60% HCA may provide the most benefit.

Who Should Not Take It?

Even though Garcinia cambogia is deemed safe for most individuals, there some people who should not take it or any products containing HCA. It could have adverse effects or interact with prescription medications.

Do not take Garcinia cambogia if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • If you are pregnant or nursing
  • If you are anemic/iron deficient
  • If you have liver or kidney problems
  • If you are already taking medication for diabetes
  • If you have asthma or take medication for allergies
  • If you take medications that lower cholesterol
  • If you take blood thinners
  • If you take any prescription medications regularly, consult your doctor first


After looking at all of the research, it seems that Garcinia cambogia can help with weight loss, with the prevention of further weight gain, appetite control, athletic performance, with blood sugar regulation, and it may help with controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Using it in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program may be what ultimately helps you obtain optimal health. As with any other herb or natural supplement, talk to your doctor to see if it is right for you.

Supplement Facts

Serving Size: 2 capsules Servings Per Container: 30

IngredientAmount Per Serving%DV
Potassium (as Potassium Chloride)50 mgLess than 5% DV
Calcium (as Calcium Carbonate)50 mgLess than 5% DV
Chromium (as Amino Acid Chelate)200 mcg166%
Garcinia Cambogia Extract
Complex (fruit rind) (60% Hydroxycitric Acid – HCA)
1000 mgDV Not Established

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