Garcinia cambogia is one of the latest in weight loss supplements. It promises to help you lose weight fast and keep it off. But do you know what you’re really getting into when you try this fruit extract? Here are some of the facts.
Garcinia cambogia, also called garcinia gummi-gutta, is a relatively small, green or pale yellow, pumpkin-shaped fruit. It is native to Indonesia, but is also grown in Africa, India, and anywhere the forests are lush, wet, and dense. It grows from a tall evergreen tree in these forests.
Some people, like those in South India, use the garcinia cambogia fruit interchangeably with the tamarind fruit, popular for curries and other dishes eaten regularly by the culture there. Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian countries also use garcinia cambogia in cooking.
The taste of the fruit itself can primarily be described as sour. The acids that make the fruit sour also lend garcinia cambogia antibacterial properties. Therefore, the fruits are often used in places like Sri Lanka for fish curing. Finally, this sourness is used in Ayurvedic medicines and practices, because the sour taste is supposed to stimulate digestion.
Garcinia Cambogia as a Health Supplement
So, we’ve seen that garcinia cambogia can be good for your health for its antibacterial properties, and that it can stimulate digestion. But, what else do we know about this mysterious fruit that seems to have taken the world by storm?
The primary active compound in the fruit actually lies in the rind, and it is called hydroxycitric acid, or HCA. This compound has been proven to increase your weight loss up to threefold, provided you are following a healthy diet and are exercising regularly. So, as long as you’re making the effort, garcinia cambogia will make the effort as well.
Another great effect of HCA is that it may increase serotonin levels in the brain. This acts as a sort of natural antidepressant, and has similar effects to drugs like Zoloft and other SSRI-based antidepressants. This can have many lasting effects, such as better quality sleep and ease of falling asleep at night, mood improvement, and less emotional eating.
The HCA in garcinia cambogia fruit extract works to decrease your appetite. This is also a result of the increased serotonin levels in the brain. Low levels of serotonin in the brain can trigger anxiety or emotional episodes, indirectly causing emotional eating. The HCA acts to repress this trigger, decreasing your inclination to cope with emotional or anxious situations with food.
Another key function of HCA is that it inhibits our bodies’ citrate lyase. This is the enzyme that our bodies need in order to convert carbohydrates to fat. Our bodies perform this function whenever we take in more sugar or carbohydrates than we need for immediate energy. Our bodies store them as fat for when we might need these stores later. As a result of HCA inhibiting the citrate lyase and our fat retention, it also in turn decreases our stores of LDL (bad) cholesterol. This is great for our overall health, as our LDL cholesterol should be low.
Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe?
Weight loss supplements are always under public and professional scrutiny. And for good reason, as there have been many supplements on the market which have proven dangerous for regular consumption, reaching toxic levels in the body and liver, or producing scary side-effects that we did not know of as a result of too few studies.
Carcinia Gambogia, however, has been very well-studied. It first broke out onto the international arena for weight-loss supplements several years ago. Since then, multiple studies, both long- and short-term, have been conducted, and conclude that the garcinia cambogia is likely safe in small amounts. Some studies show that a person can take up to 2,800 mg per day and still have it be considered safe.
Not to mention, this plant and its fruit have been a staple of Southeast Asian diets for hundreds of years. In Malaysia, they even have a special “sour curry” that features the fruit prominently. They also prepare a clear soup made with the garcinia cambogia fruit that is meant to be eaten before meals to decrease appetite and speed up weight loss. If these people have been regularly using this fruit in their diets and medications, that speaks volumes about its level of safety.
There are still some precautions, however. Because garcinia cambogia can lower cholesterol, it is important to speak with your doctor if you are currently on any statins or cholesterol-lowering medications already. If you are diabetic, speak to your doctor as well, because garcinia cambogia can lower blood sugar, and it is important that you know what to do with your insulin if you are insulin-dependent, or your diet if you are not.
Garcinia Cambogia and Weight Loss
When looking for a garcinia cambogia supplement to promote and aid in weight loss, make sure you are looking for one that states where the extract was taken from. The HCA in the fruit is found primarily in the rind, so that’s where you want the extract to be from.
Also, take a look at the ingredients. If there is no list of ingredients, don’t purchase the bottle. If there is, make sure there is little filler in the pills. This reduces the amount of garcinia cambogia fruit extract in each pill, and can reduce or even eliminate the efficacy of the drug. Don’t purchase any pill with artificial ingredients.
Make sure to look for a pill that specifically states that it contains at least 50% HCA in each pill. Any less than this would also be ineffectual or ineffective. Because HCA is the main active ingredient in garcinia cambogia, you want as much of it as you can find.
When it comes to dosage, a 500-1,000 mg dose is considered within the normal and safe range for the drug. You should be taking this before every meal, with plenty of water. Do not exceed the 2,800 safety threshold.If you take garcinia cambogia and you already have a relatively healthy diet, you may expect to lose a couple of pounds per month.
However, if you add a better diet and an exercise regimen to your life, you can expect to lose significantly more. Garginia cambogia can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle when used correctly, and can be instrumental in your successful weight loss!