What to Know About Garcinia Cambogia

What Should I Know About It?

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Garcinia cambogia is a fruit that grows in India, Southeast Asia, and some regions of Africa. Long used in herbal medicine, garcinia cambogia is thought to offer a variety of health benefits.

A number of studies have shown that garcinia cambogia contains compounds with antioxidant effects. In addition, garcinia cambogia contains hydroxycitric acid (a substance often touted as a natural weight loss aid).


When used as an herbal weight loss aid, garcinia cambogia is said to suppress appetite, boost metabolism, prevent fat buildup, and reduce abdominal fat.

In alternative medicine, garcinia cambogia is said to protect against the following health problems:

  • diabetes
  • diarrhea
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • heart disease
  • high cholesterol
  • ulcers


To date, research on the health effects of garcinia cambogia is lacking. However, there's some evidence that garcinia cambogia may offer certain benefits. Here's a look at some key findings from the available studies:

1) Weight Loss

There is currently a lack of clinical trials testing the effectiveness of supplements containing garcinia cambogia as a weight loss aid. However, several preliminary studies indicate that garcinia cambogia may help protect against obesity.

In a 2005 study from Food and Chemical Toxicology, for instance, garcinia cambogia was found to fight the buildup of body fat in rats. In addition, a 2008 study from Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry found that garcinia cambogia helped reduce the buildup of visceral fat in mice. A type of fat located in the abdominal cavity, visceral fat, when in access, is associated with increased risk of certain health issues like heart disease and diabetes.

2) High Cholesterol

In a small study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2008, scientists determined that using garcinia cambogia in combination with glucomannan may help lower cholesterol levels in obese people.

For the study, 58 obese people took either a placebo or a combination of garcinia cambogia and glucomannan for 12 weeks. By the end of the study, members of the treatment group had experienced a significantly greater reduction in cholesterol levels (compared to members of the placebo group).

It's unknown whether garcinia cambogia on its own can help reduce cholesterol. It's also important to note that the combination of garcinia cambogia and glucomannan failed to reduce body weight in study participants.

3) Diabetes

Preliminary research suggests that garcinia cambogia may aid in diabetes control. In a 2003 study published in Fitoterapia, for example, tests on mice revealed that garcinia cambogia may help improve blood sugar metabolism.

4) Ulcers

Garcinia cambogia may help treat ulcers, according to an animal-based study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2002. In tests on rats, scientists discovered that garcinia cambogia might help alleviate ulcer symptoms by reducing acidity in the stomach.


Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term use of garcinia cambogia.

Note that most research described here was conducted in mice or rats, not people. Results found in animals may not mean the same responses could be expected in humans.

There's some concern that garcinia cambogia may trigger a number of side effects, including stomach upset, nausea, and headache.

Supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals or medications. While consumers face such risks when purchasing any dietary supplement, these risks may be of greater magnitude in the purchase of supplements marketed for weight loss.

Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

Natural Alternatives 

Some studies suggest that other natural remedies may help promote weight loss. For instance, there's some evidence that drinking green tea and maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D may help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Research also indicates that practicing mind-body techniques like yoga, meditation, and tai chi may support your weight loss efforts as well.

Where to Find It

Widely available for purchase online, supplements containing garcinia cambogia are sold in many natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements. However, quality of it remains questionable.

Using It for Health or Weight Loss

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend garcinia cambogia for any health purpose. If you're considering using it, talk to your doctor to weigh the potential risks, benefits and appropriateness. Keep in mind that alternative medicine should not be used as a substitute for standard care. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

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