Garcinia gummi-gutta, brindleberry, kudam puli, malabar tamarind, the miracle pill- there are many different names out there for garcinia cambogia.
Regardless of what you choose to call it, at its core it is hydroxycitric acid. This chemical compound is thought to boost fat loss while increasing energy. It is believed that hydroxycitric acid inhibits the pathways that allow carbohydrates to be stored as fat.
Keep in mind that any excess calories that you eat, regardless of their original source (carb, protein, fat), can be stored as fat in your body. By inhibiting the pathway that allows the most common nutrient (carbs) to be turned into fat, you should see dramatic fat loss. Some scientist even suggest that by inhibiting this fat production you should experience decreased appetite, which can significantly boost your weight loss.
However, there is a definite difference between what a product should theoretically do and what it actually does, which brings us to the purpose of this article. Does garcinia cambogia live up to all of its names?
Before we get much further, let’s address one of the biggest concerns with any diet supplement product- safety. Although most research conducted on garcinia cambogia is only short-term (12 weeks or less), there have been no reports of toxicity or concerning side effects from the pure ingredient.
That being said, there have been numerous reports of toxicity and some nasty side effects (vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) from garcinia cambogia supplements that contain other ingredients. It appears that these multicomponent formulas are more harmful than they are helpful. Yes, you may experience mild weight loss if you are losing your calories through constant bathroom trips, but it isn’t a healthy method to use nor is it sustainable long-term.
So why put yourself through that unnecessary pain? However, potassium may be used in trace amounts to add bulk to the product with few negative outcomes. Still, the pure ingredient is best. Therefore, for this review, we will solely focus on the pure garcinia cambogia supplement with no additives.
Garcinia cambogia is actually not a new product. It has been around for hundreds of years and was primarly used in foods for its unique flavor. In fact, garcinia cambogia is commonly found in curries for fish because it provides a sour element much like lemon does. However, it is rare that you will ever eat enough garcinia cambogia to result in any weight loss, so a supplement may be your best choice.
If that is the route you opt to take, you most likely will take one pill capsule twice a day. You need to take each pill 30-60 minutes before a meal. This is the most common dosage form and it typically fits in to users’ lifestyles, although it is not conducive to spontaneity. As long as you can predict the time of two of your meals per day, you will be good to go with this product.
Any garcinia cambogia supplement you take should not be more than 3,000mg total (no more than 1,500mg per pill). If it is, you will need to clear the product with your doctor first to avoid any possible side effects (or have a plan in place for the eventuality of the side effects). Most research recommends that you must have a product that’s at least 50% garcinia cambogia extract.
However, it is important to remember that the more additives and bulking ingredients there are, the more likely it is that you will experience negative health consequences. So although the research looks at 50% potency, we recommend the highest potency at 95%. The higher the percentage, the more likely it is that you will see results.
Scientists have been baffled by the results of research studies because garcinia cambogia should technically work, but it doesn’t appear to have much of an impact on weight, body mass index (your weight versus your height, which is where the terms underweight, obese, etc. come from), or body composition (percentage of your body that is fat). In fact, one study found that the garcinia cambogia group didn’t differ from the placebo group. The only problem was that both groups experienced significant weight loss- even though the placebo shouldn’t have.
This means we have to address the psychological component behind weight loss. A placebo shouldn’t cause weight loss. This is unless part of the process is in our heads. So what does this mean for us? Obviously, it is impossible to give yourself a placebo. But these results can be promising because it doesn’t necessarily matter if your weight loss supplement really works- as long as you believe it does.
That being said, we don’t want you to waste your money on a product that gives you the same results as a sugar pill. Why not have both the psychological aspect and a product that provides results? They’re out there. You just have to find one that works for you. But is garcinia cambogia it?
The problem with garcinia cambogia is that the majority of research is performed on mice. They have really promising results of significant weight loss, improved body mass index, and improved body compositions, but mice are not humans. Of course, animal research can have its place if you are not morally opposed to it. And mice are supposed to be genetically similar to humans. In fact, mice are considered very reliable in the world of research for being able to demonstrate how the human body will respond to certain conditions.
But in the case of garcinia cambogia, the translation isn’t occurring across species. Then again, mice are much smaller than humans so a lower potency may give results while it doesn’t for humans. Hopefully, research involving the higher 95% potency will be conducted so that we can have more definitive results.
Although we are against additives and other ingredients being added to your garcinia cambogia supplement due to their toxicity, some users opt to take an additional product to try to boost the effects of the garcinia cambogia. The most typical product added is amorphophallus konjac (konjac root). Konjac is a common source of soluble fiber called glucomannan. It has been shown to moderately impact weight loss. Amorphophallus konjac has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels. This may not be your primary health goal with a supplement, but cholesterol is still an important component of your health.
High cholesterol can lead to high blood pressure, which will limit your ability to perform high intensity exercise. It can also lead to a heart attack or stroke- definitely not something you want to deal with if you can avoid it. So overall, it’s not a bad way to supplement your supplement. In all truthfulness, though, it appears that the boost product may be more effective than the main supplement.
Garcinia cambogia pills average around 3 out of 5 stars. Ratings increase with more expensive products because they have a higher potency. For instance, for a product that is only 50% garcinia cambogia extract, many users complain that it doesn’t give them the results they hoped for. At 95% potency the ratings bump to over 4 out of 5 stars.
Now you may be one of the lucky ones that sees results with the cheaper products, but you may not want to take that risk with your wallet. It may also be worth your hard earned cash to potentially get better results from the higher potency products. Although research doesn’t back any of these claims, some users of the 95% say they lost substantial weight thanks to the magic pill. So is garcinia cambogia a secret miracle? We aren’t sold, but if you’re one of the lucky ones it works for then congratulations and enjoy!
We give garcinia cambogia a 2.5 out of 5 stars. This is because users vouch for its effectiveness and it is easy to fit in to a busy schedule. However, the research is still divided and it doesn’t appear that there will be a definitive answer in the near future as to whether it works or not. Also, the higher potency (95%) garcinia cambogia pills can be quite expensive. It may not be worth the money for a product that may end up being a placebo. For now, save your money and opt for a different supplement that has research backing it up. There are plenty out there.
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4. Marquez, F., et al. (2012). Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of hydroxycitric acid or garcinia cambogia extracts in humans. Critical review of food science nutrition.
5. Sciencebasedmedicine.org. (2016). Garcinia probably works but is far from a weight loss miracle.
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7. Vasques, C. A., Rossetto, S., Halmensclager, G. (2008). Evaluation of the pharmacotherapeutic efficacy of garcinia cambogia plus amorphophallus konjac for the treatment of obesity. Phytotherapy Research, 22(9), 1135-1140.
Emily has spent the last 8 years comparing, reviewing and analyzing ingredients in the supplements industry. She has worked extensively with dieticians, nutritionists and personal trainers to separate fact from fiction and help people achieve their fitness goals. In her free time she works and enjoys the outdoors with her husband and 2 children.
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