What Are The Side Effects Of Garcinia Cambogia?

A dazzling array of material has been written on the latest relatively-unknown-until-Dr-Oz super weight loss properties of Garcinia Cambogia. Also known as Hydroxycitric Acid, or more commonly in Asia as the Malabar tamarind, the rind of this fruit is making waves amongst the dieting community for its ability to burn carbohydrates faster than usual, making it harder to retain or add fad stores. It seems like a miracle product but is in fact one of the regular features of a natural Asian diet, so we may certainly benefit from a more concentrated form to fit our lives and food sources.

However, it can be dangerous to suddenly start taking any supplement, natural or synthetic, without fully understanding the side effects, medical interactions or adverse reactions. In our quest for a quick fix to years of unhealthy eating, we embrace new supplements and miracle cures without considering what could happen. That’s why I’ve done this research, to help anyone considering purchasing Garcinia Cambogia to understand the potential effects, and the potential side effects.  This could be a wonderful and life-changing supplement for many, as long as they heed the warnings and carefully consider interactions with any current medical conditions or medicines.


Garcinia Cambogia, or the extract of the hydroxycitric acid rind, has been ‘well tolerated’ for up to 12 weeks in human trials. What does ‘well tolerated’ mean? Well, according to the FDA it’s a bit of a vague way of saying that there are no adverse reactions but really this is without defined parameters. So whilst it’s a slightly positive way of saying that there are generally few reactions, please be aware that does not mean ‘no adverse reactions’.

It’s worth noting that the actual rind itself, having been part of an Asian diet for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years, has been called ‘likely safe in recommended doses’ by WebMD, as is the case with many natural sources of supplements. So, in effect, Garcinia Cambogia can be seen to be as safe as can be expected from something naturally derived, when taken in recommended doses, for which there has been non-extensive clinical trials. For me, I’d say this means ‘take for up to 12 weeks in recommended doses, then stop, until further research can be done’.


Again, regrettably with anything with insufficient scientific evidence, the dosage information is a little confusing. However, the general consensus from the medical community is that up to 2,800mg per day is safe for human consumption…BUT one trial showed that 1500mg three times a day, between 30 and 60 minutes before meals results saw reductions in body weight and body mass index in 60 moderately obese subjects.

What IS interesting is that just 250mg of hydroxycitric acid per day for five days might be beneficial for improving exercise performance, yet in adult non-training males, 3000mg per day was NOT effective. It just goes to show that too little can be as pointless as too much! Confusing stuff…I’d recommend sticking to the guidelines on your purchased pack, or discussing with your medical practitioner to stay on the safe side.

Side effects and contraindications

This is critical to anyone considering taking Garcinia Cambogia as either a weight loss supplement or a performance enhancement supplement. Caution should be advised in the following situations:

  • Patients with diabetes (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should avoid the supplement as it can lower blood sugar levels
  • Patients taking any drugs, herbs or supplements that affect blood sugar should have their serum glucose levels monitored by a healthcare professional if they wish to try Garcinia Cambogia
  • Patients with a high risk or history of rhabdomyolysis (a potentially fatal disease involving the degeneration of skeletal muscle) should exercise caution when taking Garcinia Cambogia until further trials can be undertaken
  • Patients taking HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, also known as statins, should exercise caution as the combined medicines may increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis
  • Those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia should avoid Garcinia Cambogia because of the theoretical possibility of forming acetylcholine in the brain
  • Those trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid until further scientific evidence can be undertaken

Good to know

According to Gnet, a public health forum, many people taking Garcinia Cambogia will experience no side effects at all but if used over a long period of time, some may suffer digestive ailments. A small proportion may experience stomach pain and nausea, unsurprising given the fact that it is used in India for bowel complaints or to induce gas in South East Asia. Gnet also notes that allergies, which are very rare, could result in hives and/or swelling.

Always stop if you experience any adverse effects if taking Garcinia Cambogia or any other supplement, and seek advice from a medical practitioner.

In summary

In my other posts, you’ll see that I’ve researched whether Garcinia Cambogia works as a weight loss supplement, as well as looked at the general market and medical sentiment. I believe that it could assist many people in losing those stubborn pounds, or kick starting a weight loss campaign, but I feel obliged to share with you the above information regarding potential side effects (although they are unlikely) and medical interactions. I hope that this has helped you in your decision in whether to buy Garcinia Cambogia!

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.
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