What Is Garcinia Cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is a small, pumpkin-shaped, yellow or greenish fruit.
The fruit is so sour that it is generally not eaten fresh but rather used in cooking.
Garcinia cambogia supplements are made from extracts of the fruit’s peel.
The peel of the fruit contains high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), an active substance that has been shown to have some weight loss properties.
The supplements generally contain 20–60% HCA. Nevertheless, studies show that those with 50–60% HCA may provide the most benefit.
Can Cause Modest Weight Loss
Many high-quality human studies have tested the weight loss effects of garcinia cambogia.
What’s more, most of them indicate that the supplement can cause a small amount of weight loss.
On average, garcinia cambogia has been shown to cause weight loss of about 2 pounds (0.88 kg) more than a placebo, over a period of 2–12 weeks.
How Does It Aid Weight Loss?
There are two main ways that garcinia cambogia is thought to aid weight loss.
1. May Reduce Your Appetite
Studies in rats show that those given garcinia cambogia supplements tend to eat less.
Similarly, some human studies have found that garcinia cambogia suppresses appetite and makes you feel full.
Its mechanism isn’t fully known, but rat studies suggest that the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia can increase serotonin in the brain.
Since serotonin is a known appetite suppressant, higher blood levels of serotonin could reduce your appetite.
However, these results need to be taken with a grain of salt. Other studies have observed no difference in appetite between those taking this supplement and those taking a placebo.
These effects may depend on each individual.
2. May Block Fat Production and Reduce Belly Fat
Most importantly, garcinia cambogia impacts blood fats and the production of new fatty acids.
Human and animal studies show that it may lower high levels of fat in your blood and reduce oxidative stress in your body.
One study also suggests it may be especially effective at reducing the accumulation of belly fat in people who are overweight.
In one study, moderately obese people took 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia daily for eight weeks and drastically improved several risk factors for disease :
- Total cholesterol levels: 6.3% lower
- “Bad” LDL cholesterol levels: 12.3% lower
- “Good” HDL cholesterol levels: 10.7% higher
- Blood triglycerides: 8.6% lower
- Fat metabolites: 125–258% more excreted in the urine
The main reason for these effects may be that garcinia cambogia inhibits an enzyme called citrate lyase, which plays an important role in the production of fat.
By inhibiting citrate lyase, garcinia cambogia is thought to slow or block fat production in your body. This may reduce blood fats and lower your risk of weight gain — two major disease risk factors.