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The Million Dollar Question: Does Garcinia Cambogia work?

You may have seen my fairly extensive review of Garcinia Cambogia, along with my articles including What are the Side Effects of Garcinia Cambogia, a review of Garcinia Cambogia on the Dr Oz show, and my Garcinia Cambogia review of reviews, looking at some of the web and print reviews out there.

This article is focused on the million dollar question on everyone’s lips: Does Garcinia Cambogia work for weight loss? I’ve extracted information from clinical studies as well as the overall consumer experience to answer this! But first, a quick recap of what Garcinia Cambogia Extract (GCE) is and why it’s causing such a commotion.

What is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia Cambogia is touted as a ‘revolutionary new fat burner’ supplement that helps weight loss in two ways: firstly by blocking the body’s ability to store new fat cells and secondly by stimulating the production of serotonin which curbs the appetite and reduces cravings. Derived from the rind of the Malabar tamarind fruit, found in South East Asia and India, the supplement has been featured in magazines where celebrities including Kim Kardashian have attributed extraordinary weight loss to the pil. It is gaining momentum amongst the health, fitness and nutrition crowd as it is a natural supplement with no artificial ingredients (when you buy an authentic version, of course).

But the reviews and feedback on the internet is an extremely mixed bag overall, with some people claiming moderate to good weight loss and others claiming no weight loss at all. So I’m here to answer the question rocking the weight loss world: Does Garcinia Cambogia actually work?

Clinical trials

The problem with any new herbal supplement is that often there is limited research that needs more rigorous scientific backing before it can go mainstream. This is unfortunately the case for Garcinia Cambogia too – whilst the initial trials are positive, overall the supplement could do with some robust trialling to find out exactly how effective it is with a range of subjects. However, the initial findings are positive, as I’ve highlighted below:

Trial 1 [1] – 150 obese subjects

  • Dosage – 55mg GCE, 240mg chitosan, and chrome 19 mg with a weight reduction regimen
  • Trial type – Randomized with placebo for four weeks
  • Outcome – Those given supplements saw a statistically significant dose-dependent increase in weight reduction , reduction of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and an improvement in ‘good’ cholesterol, HDL

Trial 2 [2] – 40 subjects

  • Dosage – 500mg GCE before meals
  • Trial type – Randomized with placebo for eight weeks
  • Outcome – Those given supplements saw a statistically significant more weight loss, as well as an improvement in cholesterol and triglycerides, than the placebo group

Trial 3 [3] – 40 obese subjects

  • Dosage – 50mg GCE three times a day (supplement also contained 200mg phaseolius vulgaris and 200mg inulin) with a 1200 calorie/day diet
  • Trial type – Randomized with placebo for 12 weeks
  • Outcome – Despite not sticking the diet, the group given the supplements lost nearly three times as much weight as the placebo group (3.5kg vs 1.3kg) and that  more than 85% of the weight loss was fat loss, for the group taking the active supplement.

Trial 4 [4] – 89 mildly overweight females

  • Dosage – 400mg GCE three times per day before meals, with a 1200 calorie/day diet
  • Trial type – Randomized with placebo for eight weeks
  • Outcome – At the conclusion of the trial, both groups had lost weight but those taking the supplement achieved greater weight loss than those taking the placebo. Garcinia Cambogia did not have a notable effect on appetite.

Trial 5 [5] – 54 overweight subjects

  • Dosage – 500mg GCE three times per day, low fat diet and at least 64oz water per day
  • Trial type – Randomized with placebo for eight weeks
  • Outcome – The placebo group lost an average of 4.2lb/person but the Garcinia Cambogia group lost an average of 11.1lb/person

Trial 6 [6] – 60 obese subjects

  • Dosage – 400mg GCE before meals, three times a day, low fat diet, moderate (3 times per week) exercise
  • Trial type – Randomized with placebo for eight weeks
  • Outcome – Those given supplements saw a reduction in appetite, greater weight loss and 87% of the weight loss was a reduction in fat as opposed to muscle or water.

Trial 7 [7] – 39 subjects

  • Dosage – 1000mg GCE before meals, low fat diet, moderate (3 times per week) exercise
  • Trial type – Randomized with placebo for 16 weeks
  • Outcome – Total fat, including visceral (belly) fat and subcutaneous fat, was reduced in all subjects. All subjects were given a placebo for four weeks and noticed no gaining of the fat lost.

So, does Garcinia Cambogia work?

The clinical trials point to more improved weight loss or fat reduction in the patients that take the GCE supplement compared to those in a placebo group. The results seem to be enhanced by those on a calorie controlled diet or undertaking exercise, which is to be expected!

The results from Trial 4, in which the supplement featured other ingredients, is interesting as many proponents of Garcinia Cambogia, such as Dr Oz, recommend looking for other ingredients such as Potassium, and I’ve read a lot about combining this with raspberry ketone, green coffee bean extract and many more natural supplements. This certainly warrants more investigation, but reviewing these clinical trials certainly leads me to believe that Garcinia Cambogia works effectively as a natural weight loss supplement.

Do internet users agree?

I believe that the general consensus, which is very mixed, has had a disproportionate amount of bogus sellers affecting the results. See Online Threat Alerts, which has alerted people to a supposedly-fraudulent company scamming credit card details whilst claiming to sell Garcinia Cambogia, or even women’s magazine Women’s Health, which advised customers that it did not endorse particular brands of supplements, including Garcinia Cambogia, as a fraudulent site had been set up.

It is immensely sad, but in the words of online reviewer Carrie A. Deane, “never buy from a site that appeared one hour after the Dr Oz (or any other) show” and she hit the nail on the head. The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and there will always be companies or individuals out there that prey on our hang ups to make money.

Please see my ‘review of Garcinia Cambogia reviews’ article as there are documented weight loss journals from trusted magazines and journalists and as well as the positive reviews online and the clinical research above, I firmly believe that Garcinia Cambogia works but that there are a lot of users that have purchased poor quality or even completely false products, who have not seen the results that they wanted.

Stay Safe When Shopping for Garcinia Cambogia
My good friend Katherine, over at Consumer Health Reports, put together an important 3-step checklist to follow when buying Garcinia Cambogia online. In the guide, she tests the 14 most popular brands and compares the top 5 brands side-by-side. I highly recommend checking out her website.

Have you used Garcinia? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories!

 


[1] Girola M, De Bernardi M, Contos S, et al. Dose effect in lipid-lowering activity of a new dietary integrator (chitosan), Garcinia combogia extract and chrome. Acta Toxicol Ther . 1996;17(1):25-40.

[2] Soni MG, Burdock GA, Preuss HG, Stohs SJ, Ohia SE, Bagchi D. Safety assessment of (-)-hydroxycitric acid and Super CitriMax, a novel calcium/potassium salt. Food Chem Toxicol . 2004;42(9):1513-1529.

[3] Thom E. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a new weight-reducing agent of natural origin. J Int Med Res . 2000;28(5):229-233.

[4] Mattes RD, Bormann L. Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables. Physiol Behav . 2000;71(1-2):87-94.

[5] Lau FC, Bagchi M, Sen C, Roy S, Bagchi D. Nutrigenomic analysis of diet-gene interactions on functional supplements for weight management. Curr Genomics . 2008;9(4):239-251

[6] Lau FC, Bagchi M, Sen C, Roy S, Bagchi D. Nutrigenomic analysis of diet-gene interactions on functional supplements for weight management. Curr Genomics . 2008;9(4):239-251

[7] Hayamizu K, Ishii Y, Kaneko I, et al. Effects of Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) on visceral fat accumulation: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. CurrTher Res Clin Exp . 2003;64(8):551-567.

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