Does Garcinia Cambogia Work?

3 Things to Know Before You Buy Garcinia Cambogia Pills

Dry garcinia in glass bowl with green Garcinia atroviridis fruit. Garcinia is healthy herb food that has high vitamin C and hydroxy citric acids (HCA) for diet.
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Are you considering garcinia cambogia to lose weight? You’ve probably seen ads for this herbal weight loss aid in magazines and in online ads. Many of them include references to clinical studies and some mention the name of Dr. Oz in order to gain your attention. But should you really open your wallet to buy the diet pill? Here are the pros and cons of garcinia cambogia that you need to consider before you make your purchase.

What Is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia cambogia is a fruit (malabar tamarind) also known as Garcinia gummi-gutta, brindle berry, or G. cambogia The plant is native to Southeast Asia and the rind of the fruit has a history in traditional medicine.

The plant's active compound is called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA can be found in many products promoted for weight loss or bodybuilding. Garcinia cambogia is often sold in pill or tablet form.

Garcinia Cambogia Pros and Cons

There are a few things you should know before you try to use garcinia cambogia pills to lose weight. These are the important pros and cons to consider.

Garcinia Cambogia May Be Safe

According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, few safety concerns have been reported about the weight loss supplement. So, pure garcinia cambogia is likely to be safe when consumed for periods of up to 12 weeks. However, The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center notes that "G. cambogia and HCA supplements may cause liver toxicity. Patients who have cancer, diabetes, depression, or other chronic diseases should use garcinia with caution as it may interact with medications."

In addition, some supplement companies add other ingredients to their products. These ingredients may or may not be identified on the label. So it's hard to know if those products can be hazardous to your health. Even products that claim to be natural can cause harm.

In a statement to consumers, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokesperson warned consumers to be especially careful about herbal or natural remedies. Gary Coody, R. Ph., the FDA’s national health fraud coordinator said, "just because a product claims to be natural doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. Likewise, just because a product claims to be natural does not mean that it’s free of hidden drug ingredients."

Clinical Evidence Is Weak

Many ads for garcinia cambogia mention clinical studies that support their weight loss claims. But very few of them provide links or give specific data about those studies. Just because a company refers to research does not mean that legitimate clinical studies were performed by unbiased scientists or that any studies have proven a weight loss effect that you would notice.

A study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found that “there is still little evidence to support the potential effectiveness and long-term benefits of G. cambogia extracts.” And according to the National Institutes of Health, research has shown that garcinia cambogia has little to no effect on body weight.

Does that mean the product won't work for you? No. It just means that the research supporting its effectiveness is inconclusive.

The NIH states that there is no convincing evidence that garcinia cambogia will help you lose weight or control cholesterol.

Garcinia Cambogia Ads Can Be Deceptive

If you are a smart consumer that reads the fine print in advertisements before you buy, you will probably find that many ads for garcinia cambogia are confusing and may even be deceptive.

For example, if you do your research online, you're likely to see links to articles that look like news reports. The problem is that many of these news reports are actually advertisements for products. The information comes from someone trying to sell you the product, not from an unbiased health reporter.

Legitimate news articles about garcinia cambogia are hard to find. If you look for articles or studies in medical journals, you'll find very little information. Why don't these sources contain more information about the herbal pill? Possibly because it has not shown strong promise as a weight loss aid. 

Does Garcinia Cambogia Work?

If you evaluate the pros and cons of using garcinia cambogia to lose weight, many dieters will see that the cons outweigh the pros. So does this mean you shouldn’t buy garcinia cambogia? The decision is up to you. But if you do choose to invest, don’t fall victim to the advertising claims or the marketing strategies. Talk to your doctor, your pharmacist or your registered dietitian first. If you can’t access one of those sources, the FDA offers great advice to consumers who are looking for a weight loss pill or supplement. Use their guide before you make any decision.

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