Conventional methods for weight loss have a success rate very low. Many people tend to give up soon and few have long-term success.
Therefore, many seek to resort to supplements that can help them in that task. And one of the most publicized lately is the extract of garcinia cambogia, which some experts can reduce appetite and contribute to the loss of pounds. But is this true?
What is garcinia cambogia?
Garcinia is a plant with a fruit similar to a small green pumpkin. It is used in many traditional Asian dishes for its acid flavor.
There is a large amount of a substance called hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is the active ingredient in the skin of the fruit.
Does it work?
According to some studies in rats, garcinia can inhibit an enzyme called citrate lyase, making it more difficult for the body to produce fat from carbohydrates.
Other research with rats showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.This, in theory, leads to lower the appetite and cravings
And there are several studies in rats showing that the garcinia cambogia makes losing weight significantly. But what works in rats does not always work in humans.
A look at studies on human
The greatest of human studies performed around the garcinia cambogia included 135 obese individuals who were divided into two groups.
A group (of treatment) is provided to you by one gram of garcinia extract three times a day, half an hour before each meal eaten. The other group (that of placebo) taking pills without any active substance. Both groups also were also subjected to a diet high in fiber and low in calories.
Both groups lost weight, but the group who took the extract of garcinia cambogia in fact lost fewer kilograms (3.2) than the placebo group (4.1 kg).
The researchers also noted the percentage of body fat. And the placebo group lost a 2.26%, while those who took garcinia lost only 1.6%.
However, the difference was not statistically significant, and the results could have occurred by chance.
In another study on 89 obese women, garcinia cambogia led to a loss of weight 1.3 kg more compared with placebo over a period of 12 weeks. There was no appetite difference between both groups (7).
Two other studies showed loss of a few pounds over a period of eight weeks (8, 9), but two others did not show any effect (10, 11). Unfortunately, the effects on weight seem to be both weak and inconsistent.
Meanwhile, a review published in the Journal Obesity in 2011 that reviewed 12 clinical trials found that the garcinia cambogia can increase weight loss in about 0.88 kilograms on average over a period of several weeks (12).
The conclusion of the study says that “garcinia extract may stimulate short-term weight loss. The magnitude of the effect is small and the clinical relevance is unclear.”
So apparently it can cause a mild effect in some people, but in general its action is small scale and usually does not make a big difference.
Garcinia cambogia has a good safety profile
It is important to stress that these studies usually report averages. It is possible that some individuals can, in fact, lose weight with this supplement, although it doesn’t seem to work well on average.
Garcinia cambogia, at least, appears to be safe. There are no serious side effects, only some users report mild digestive problems.
Despite its dubious results it is buy anyway, is best to try to get a brand of extract having at least 50% of hydroxycitric IOCA. The dose more common is 500 mg three times a day, half an hour before each meal.