The diet and fitness industry can sometimes seem like a confusing labyrinth of conflicting information, and there are always a myriad of choices available when it comes to selecting a weight loss supplement. One of the most popular supplements to hit the market in recent years is Garcinia Cambogia Extract (HCA), a naturally derived weight loss aid that has garnered the attention of prominent health and fitness luminaries such as Dr. Oz, who recently hailed the supplement as ”the Holy Grail of weight loss”. As reassuring as Dr. Oz’s endorsement may be, the more skeptical-minded among us may still want to know exactly what it is that makes Garcinia Cambogia Extract such a force to be reckoned with. Is it safe? Is it natural? What type of side effects have been reported with its use? And–perhaps most important–does it even work? This review seeks to address these questions, as well as provide the reader with several points of data to consider regarding this popular supplement.
What Is Garcinia Cambogia Extract?
Garcinia Cambogia Extract is derived from a yellow, pumpkin-shaped tropical fruit commonly known as the Malabar-tamarind. This particular type of fruit is primarily native to Indonesia, but it also grows in other regions around Asia as well as parts of central Africa. The rind of the fruit contains a substantial amount of a compound known as hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is commonly reported to inhibit fat synthesis and promote appetite suppression. These characteristics make HCA a key factor in reducing cravings as well as curbing emotional or stress-based “binge” eating. HCA also aids in the stabilization of your body’s cortisone levels, which helps to prevent the formation and retention of abdominal or visceral fat.
Best Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia Extract (HCA):
- It inhibits the formation of fat cells by “running interference” and not allowing the liver to convert high amounts of sugar to fat.
- It helps clean the bloodstream of low-density lipoproteins, otherwise known as “bad cholesterol”.
- It augments your body’s seratonin levels, which works to improve overall mood as well as curb those “binge urges”.
- It contains bioflavonoids, which reduce free fatty acids and triglycerides.
One of the most beneficial aspects of Garcinia Cambogia Extract is that it is an herbal supplement derived from all-natural ingredients, which makes it an excellent alternative to synthetic stimulants such as ephedra, which can provide only short-term boosts in your metabolism by unnaturally (and dangerously) elevating your heart rate. The natural ingredients found in Garcinia Cambogia Extract make it much safer to use in comparison to man-made stimulants, which inherently carry a higher risk of adverse side effects.
Perhaps one of the most valuable attributes of the extract is its positive effect on mood, which is essential to the prevention of stress-related eating binges. The supplement also aids users in achieving an improved quality of sleep, which is a critical point, because all of us know how easy it is to fall into bad eating habits due to exhaustion or sleep deprivation. Garcinia Cambogia Extract helps to alleviate these protracted, stress-induced peaks and valleys in our daily food intake.
Garcinia Cambogia Extract: Results of Clinical Studies
Several prominent clinical trials have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of Garcinia Cambogia Extract as a weight loss supplement. We have highlighted seven particular studies below:
Clinical Study #1
In a 4-week randomized study (with some participants taking placebos), select groups out of a total of 150 obese patients were treated with a daily dosage regimen of 55mg of Garcinia Cambogia Extract, along with 240mg of Chisotan and 19mg of Chrome. At the end of the trial period, the treatment groups showed marked improvements in their high-density lipoprotein (a.k.a. “good cholesterol”) levels, as well as a reduction in overall weight, triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels.
Clinical Study #2
In a 8-week randomized study (with some participants taking placebos), a select number of patients out of a total of 40 total participants took a 500mg dose of Garcinia Cambogia Extract before each meal. At the conclusion of the study, the group that took the extract experienced a statistically significant amount of weight loss, as well as lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in comparison to the placebo group.
Clinical Study #3
In a 12-week randomized study (with some participants taking placebos), a select number of participants out of a total of 40 obese patients supplemented a 1,200-calorie-per-day diet with 50mg of Garcinia Cambogia Extract three times daily. At the end of the study, the treatment group experienced an average of 3.5kg of weight loss versus only 1.2kg in the placebo group. This resulted in an overall fat reduction of approximately 85 percent for the treatment group.
Clinical Study #4
In a 12-week randomized study (with some participants taking placebos), a select number of participants out of a total of 89 slightly overweight women took a 400mg dose of Garcinia Cambogia Extract three times daily with their meals, totaling 1,200 calories per day. At the conclusion of the trial, both the treatment group and the placebo group lost weight, but the treatment group experienced a higher level of weight loss.
Clinical Study #5
In a 8-week randomized study (with some participants taking placebos), a select number of participants out of a total of 54 overweight patients took a daily dose of 500mg of Garcinia Cambogia Extract 3 times daily. Both the placebo and treatment groups were asked to drink 64 ounces of water per day and maintain a low-fat diet during the trial period. At the end of the study, the treatment group was shown to have lost an average of 11 pounds per person versus the placebo group, which lost roughly 4 pounds per person.
Clinical Study #6
In a 8-week randomized study (with some participants taking placebos), a select number of participants out of a total of 60 obese patients were asked to take 400mg of HCA three times daily with meals. All participants were asked to exercise 3 times a day and maintain a low-fat diet during the trial period. At the conclusion of the study, the treatment group experienced a statistically significant amount of weight loss, 87% of which was due to fat loss.
Clinical Study #7
In a 16-week randomized study (with some participants taking placebos), a select number of participants out of a total of 39 patients were asked to take 1,000mg of HCA per day before each meal. All patients were instructed to exercise 3 times each week, as well as maintain a low-fat diet. At the conclusion of the trial period, both groups experienced a reduction in overall abdominal (visceral) fat, and total fat accumulation was reduced for both groups as well.
Does Garcinia Cambogia Extract Work?
As the above studies have indicated, Garcinia Cambogia Extract has been clinically proven to be an effective weight loss supplement, when taken within a reasonable set of constraints. It should be noted that the best results were achieved when supplementation was combined with a low-fat diet and regular exercise.
Is Garcinia Cambogia Extract Safe?
Users should not attempt to “speed up” the weight loss process by taking unusually high amounts of the Garcinia Cambogia Extract per day. Excessively high amounts of Garcinia Cambogia (far beyond the recommended dosage) can produce nausea, headache and digestive tract discomfort. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should abstain from taking the extract, as the long-term effects of the supplement on newborns and the unborn are still unknown. In addition, persons taking statins (cholesterol-lowering medications) of any kind are strongly advised not to take the supplement, as it may produce a number of harmful side effects, including rhabdomyolysis as well as muscular atrophy.
Garcinia Cambogia packs a definite punch in the area of preventing fat formation, and it also helps to curb those troublesome cravings that lead to poor diet choices. When combined with a steady regimen of low-fat food and regular exercise, Garcinia Cambogia Extract can give you a definite edge in the relentless battle to lose weight.