Garcinia cambogia , a tropical fruit is also called Malabar tamarid. It is a popular weight loss supplement and allegedly decreases belly fat, controls emotional eating, increases lean muscle mass and suppresses appetite. It belongs to the family Gittiferae and is native to India, Malaysia and some parts of Africa. Historically, Garcinia cambogia has been used as a condiment and flavoring agent of different food types including meat, sea food and beverages. According to traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it is beneficial in promoting overall body health.
HOW IT WORKS
The active ingredient is in the fruit’s rind and is known as Hydroxycitric acid( HCA) Hydroxycitric acid appears to have fat burning properties and also cuts back appetite. HCA blocks citrate lyase, an enzyme found in the liver. Citrate lyase is responsible for the conversion of sugar into fats and changes it into energy instead. Garcinia cambogia therefore will convert any sugar carbs into energy instead of storing it as fats.
It has also been shown to increase the level of serotonin in the brain. Increased levels of serotonin reduces craving for sugar and crabs and also give one a feeling of satiety. It therefore becomes easier to eat less.
Garcinia cambogia is popular today because it is believed to be an effective weight loss supplement without having to put a lot of effort on dieting and exercise. However, according to most studies this fact is still highly debatable and more studies may need to be done both in vivo and in vitro.
Garcinia cambogia has also been shown to increase the rate at which the body utilizes glucose. In a study that was conducted by a group of researchers, mice that were fed with garcinia cambogia showed lower insulin levels than those that were not given the extract. Garcinia cambogia may therefore be of benefit to those at a risk of developing diabetes.
Meanwhile another study showed that Garcinia cambogia can help improve cholestrol levels by decreasing the low density cholesterol (LDL) which is the bad cholesterol and increasing high density cholesterol (HDL) commonly called the good cholesterol. This reduces risk of developing heart diseases.
DOES GARCINIA CAMBOGIA REALLY WORK AS A WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT?
The big question therefore is, does garcinia cambogia really work? Garcinia cambogia probably works to reduce weight but the evidence does not justify the claims. It has been shown to cause weight loss only for a short period of time. However, the magnitude of this effect was negligible. For example in one study done, people who took Garcinia cambogia lost only about two pounds more than those that took the placebo.
There have been many studies that have been conducted since Garcina was discovered. Most of the clinical trials show only a small amount of weight loss while others show no effect at all. In other studies, people who took the extract actually ended up gaining weight!
Garcinia cambogia therefore is not the best alternative to weight loss and despite being a waste of money it distracts people from concentrating on what is really important when it comes to losing weight, that is, exercising and dieting.
People who take Garcinia cambogia may experience the following side effects:
In addition, in 2009, the Food and Drug administration issued a warning that consumption of Garcinia cambogia should be stopped immediately. This is because it was reported to cause serious liver problems. It caused liver jaundice, elevated liver enzymes, liver damage which eventually led to liver failure.
It interacts hugely with diabetic medication including the anti diabetic pills and insulin. Garcinia cambogia as it reduces the level of glucose could cause hypoglycemia when taken with diabetes medication which also reduce glucose levels. This could be fatal! If one therefore thinks its very necessary for he or she to take the supplement, and they are diabetic, they should consult the doctor first.
It also interacts with asthma and allergy medication.
It interacts with statins,that is, drugs that lower cholesterol level because it also has the same effect.
Interaction with medication used to treat psychiatric conditions. Garcinia increases serotonin levels and so do psychiatric drugs. This may lead to serotonin toxicity which may be fatal
It also interacts with analgesics and warfarin
Information on whether Garcinia is safe to use during pregnancy and lactation is lacking and therefore these group of people should avoid the extract until sufficient studies have been carried out.