Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit, also known by the names of brindle berry, kudam puli and Malabar tamarind. It resembles a tiny pumpkin and has green to yellow color. In recent years it’s been advertised as an effective supplement for weight-loss. It’s been said that it inhibits the body’s capability to store fat and it greatly curbs your appetite. It’s also been said that it can control your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. You can most often buy it in bottles at your local store and sometimes mixed with other compounds in products promoting fat-loss.
Is all the hype around it justified? It seems so, but a lot of nutritionists are saying that consuming it just isn’t worth it.
How does Garcinia Cambogia work?
Several studies have shown that the active compound found in its rind, HCA (hydroxycitric acid) has the potential to boost calorie-burning and curb appetite. It’s been discovered that it blocks the enzyme known as citrate lyase, that the body is using to create fat. It also increases serotonin levels in your brain, which will make you fell satiated.
However, the end results weren’t that impressive. Several reviews have pointed out that those who consumed garcinia cambogia in various studies lost around two pounds more in comparison to those who didn’t consume it. The results were inconclusive in regards to whether the supplement was the main reason for the experienced weight loss.
It may very well have been due to other factors like the restricted-calorie diet or the training routines which the studies’ participants usually followed. The conclusion is that more thorough studies need to be made in order to see whether HCA has the potential to help people lose the excess weight and maintain it.
High cholesterol and type 2 diabetes
Garcinia cambogia has been shown to ease the process by which your body uses glucose, which is the basic sugar molecule the cells require as an energy source. A study was made on mice where one group that was given garcinia cambogia had much lower insulin levels than the group that wasn’t given garcinia cambogia. This is an additional reason why people who suffer from diabetes have interest in it. But it’s not that simple. If you take garcinia cambogia with a drug for controlling blood sugar levels, the glucose levels can plummet to a dangerously low point.
Several studies have discovered that garcinia can improve your cholesterol levels, lower the triglycerides and the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increase the “good” cholesterol (HDL). Again, you should take it along with an already prescribed medication for controlling cholesterol.
Are there any side effects?
The possible side effects of taking garcinia cambogia are:
- Dry mouth
- Diarrhea or an upset stomach
The FDA has issued a warning to the public in 2009 to stop a specific weight-loss supplement which had garcinia cambogia in them because there were several cases where people who took it experienced severe liver issues. The supplement had some other compounds in it, so it wasn’t exactly clear which compound was the one that caused the issues. The science community is divided on this issue. Some say it’s safe to use, others say it’s not.
Garcinia cambogia has the potential to interact negatively with:
- Diabetes meds, like pills and insulin shots.
- Iron supplement, for anemia patients.
- Allergy and asthma meds, like Singulair and Accolate.
- Pain-reducing meds
- Statins, meds which lower cholesterol levels
- Psychiatric conditions prescriptions
An important warning: you should definitely NOT use it when pregnant or nursing, or if you experience liver or kidney problems.
So far, the results from studies have been mixed, so you should first consult with your doctor who will help you make a decision as to whether you should take it or not. Even if we assume it is completely safe, it won’t help you that much with weight loss. Instead, focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet.
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