Last Updated December 20th, 2021
The need for garcinia cambogia
Obesity is a condition that affects more than 35% of all adults in the United States. It affects 17% of the children and adolescents in the country. This is three times the number it was a generation ago. This is an unprecedented increase. The weight loss industry in the US is worth a staggering US$ 72 billion. The number of dieters though has fallen when compared with previous years. This is probably because of the body positivity movement, because of which people have come to accept their bodies as they are.
Despite the fall in the number of dieters, there is an increase in the interest in supplements, preferably natural, that can induce faster weight loss. One such herbal supplement that is finding popularity is the extract of the garcinia cambogia, or the Malabar tamarind. It is called so because it is found in the Malabar region of India.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence for the fact that it reduces the body’s ability to create fat and also controls your appetite. It also keeps blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check. The rinds are found in a dried form in many shops and it is also available as powder and pills as a weight loss supplement.
How has it been used traditionally?
Throughout Southeast Asia, the rinds have been used as a flavoring agent. It is used in curries, meat, and seafood. It has been used as a flavoring agent in gourmet spices and beverages. When used in such a manner, it helps to prevent the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract, especially after a meal. It is also used in the curing of fish. In such a case, HCA is combined with salt. Here, it lowers the pH and the bacteriostatic effect helps in the curing process.
How is the extract of garcinia cambogia prepared?
There may be many ways by which the extract of garcinia cambogia may be prepared. Generally, the process of extracting the supplement from the fruit begins with deseeding and then drying the rinds in the sun. The sun-dried rinds are then crushed and the powder is mixed with 70% ethanol. This mixture is then evaporated and the concentrate obtained after the process is stored at a temperature of about 4 degree celsius until it is packaged for use. The extracts you get at the medical stores will contain additional ingredients. Please read the labels before use.
What is the essential component of garcinia cambogia?
The essential component of garcinia cambogia is HCA or hydroxycitric acid. The extract of garcinia cambogia containing HCA for weight loss is available in powdered form or pill form.
Does garcinia cambogia actually aid in weight loss?
So are there any weight loss benefits to garcinia cambogia or is it all done to market the product more effectively? This is a difficult question to answer. Here is why. A number of studies have been conducted to explore the potential of garcinia cambogia for weight loss. Most of these studies have been done over a short period. In addition, some studies have proven that garcinia cambogia may aid in weight loss while others have proven that it may not.
Another point to be considered is that most of the studies that have been successful have been conducted on animals. There are very few studies that were conducted on obese people. This also makes it difficult to recommend this supplement.
In laboratory experiments, the figure has ranged from 1500 mg/day to as high as 4,700 mg/day. This lack of standardization is another reason why it is difficult to determine its efficacy.
What is the recommended dose of garcinia cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is recommended in a dose of about 1500 mg/day. It is available as capsule or a powder form. In laboratory experiments, the figure has ranged from 1500 mg/day to as high as 4,700 mg/day. The HCA content in the laboratory experiments has ranged from 900 mg/day to 2800 mg/day.
Before you start taking any supplements, especially those without clear research evidence to support their benefits, please consult a doctor. Also, be sure to read the labels and warnings that are mentioned on the bottles containing the supplement.
In the case of garcinia cambogia supplements, a study also found that the supplements of garcinia cambogia in many cases did not contain any garcinia cambogia. This can be very disappointing. Always buy from a reputed brand because the medicines would at least contain the listed ingredients. Their warnings and labeled instructions would also be more trustworthy.
There might be variations in the concentration of HCA from one brand of the supplement to another as well. Pick the one that your doctor or personal trainer thinks would be beneficial to you. Discontinue use if you face any kind of symptoms when using the supplement, particularly if you are taking other medications.
Are there any adverse reactions to garcinia cambogia?
There have been several observations of adverse reactions to garcinia cambogia. The most common of such reactions were a headache, nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, and diarrhea.
In 2009, the FDA announced a recall of certain products from a particular manufacturer. One of the key ingredients in several of these products was garcinia cambogia extract, among caffeine and green tea extract. This was because these products led to liver failure in several cases and even death in one.
Hepatotoxicity reports suggested that up to 25% of liver failure cases were in all certainty caused by garcinia cambogia. However, this is not a definite number as the patients in the study were taking multivitamins and other supplements as well.
Some other studies have shown that even at very high levels, almost 233 times the maximum recommended level of HCA for a human, there was no toxicity or deaths that were observed.
Because of the inconclusiveness of the studies that were conducted on garcinia cambogia, one cannot be sure if he/she would have the same adverse reaction with an increased dose. If you have a medical condition that warrants continuous care, it is better that you try to restrict the use as much as possible.
It has been found to cause adverse reactions in those with asthmas or allergies.
It is also not recommended to take garcinia cambogia if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How does garcinia cambogia lead to weight loss?
By reducing a person’s appetite
Studies have shown that garcinia cambogia extract generally reduces a person’s appetite. It does so by increasing the quantity of serotonin, the feel-good chemical. The increase in serotonin in the blood is what actually makes you feel less hungry. The reduced feeling of hunger actually prompts you to eat less, and in the long term, leads to weight loss.
By blocking fat production and belly fat
Oxidative stress happens when the body produces a large number of free radicals and they are not neutralized in time by antioxidants. Garcinia cambogia seems to have a positive effect on the oxidative stress in the body.
It was observed that the level of fatty acids in the blood was drastically reduced by taking the extract. The lower levels of fat in the body helped reduce the oxidative stress. The reduction of oxidative stress also solves many other health problems as well.
In another study, the extract was also shown to bring down the LDL levels (the bad cholesterol). It also brought down the blood triglycerides. More fat metabolites were also extracted in the urine (up to 200% more).
By reducing the action of an enzyme called citrate lyase, it might slow or block fat production. This, many people suggest, is the main mechanism for how it blocks the production of fat in the body.
On the other hand, some studies have observed no relation between the intake of garcinia cambogia and weight loss. In one study, for instance, a weight loss of only two pounds was observed at the conclusion of the study in the group taking the supplement. Since this number is very small, it is not evident whether the weight loss was because of taking the supplement itself or other recommendations. Some of the other recommendations were a low-calorie diet and exercise, both of which could have led to the loss of as little as two pounds.
Other health benefits
However, garcinia cambogia offers several other health benefits. It helps to lower blood glucose level and stimulates the production of insulin in the body. It also increases the insulin sensitivity of the body. The increase in insulin sensitivity means that the blood glucose levels will also be lowered.
However, what this also means is that if you are prediabetic, diabetic, or taking insulin for diabetes, then you must not take garcinia cambogia. This is because it could reduce your blood glucose to dangerously low levels. This could also be the case if you generally have low blood sugar and you wish to take garcinia cambogia to aid in weight loss.
Studies also say that it might be very beneficial to the digestive system of the body. It also prevents damage to the inner lining of the digestive tract. It also protects from stomach ulcers.
It was also observed that garcinia cambogia supplements helped to reduce joint pain. They helped improve concentration and memory and helped create a positive frame of mind in participants in a study.
However, most of the evidence in support of garcinia cambogia is anecdotal. Due to the lack of strong experimental evidence, it may not be possible to give garcinia cambogia a strong recommendation.
Should you take garcinia cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is a food additive in many regions of the world. If you were in such a place, people would be including the same in their diet without question. Taking it on a regular basis as a supplement is a different thing. The concentration of HCA will be higher. In other words, the garcinia cambogia supplements that you are taking will be more potent.
Avoid them if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Remember that the benefit that you would normally get from garcinia cambogia for weight loss you could get by making suitable changes in your diet. Garcinia cambogia has not been shown to cause any drastic kind of weight loss.
In higher concentrations, it is also known to cause liver failure. In light of such revelations, it would help to avoid the use of garcinia cambogia. You would be advised to continue to do so unless it is actually recommended by a doctor or physical trainer.
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