Manufacturers of Garcinia Cambogia supplements claim they aid weight loss in two ways:
- By blocking the creation of new fat cells
- And by suppressing the appetite, encouraging dieters to eat less
Before parting with their hard-earned cash, potential customers might like to understand precisely how Garcinia extract works, and what effect a Garcinia supplement is likely to have upon their weight loss programme.
What is the active ingredient in Garcinia Cambogia extract and how does it work?
Garcinia is extracted from the skin of the Garcinia gummi-gutta plant, which is native to South East Asia and Indonesia.
The active ingredient is hydroxycitric acid (HCA), and it is this that has been shown by scientific studies to block the production of fat cells.
It does this by preventing the production of citrate lyase, an enzyme normally produced by the body that converts carbohydrate to fat. The absence or reduction of citrate lyase encourages the body to convert carbohydrates into glycogen, which fuels the body’s muscles.
Increased levels of glycogen are thought to help the body to eradicate stored fat, hence the HCA in Garcinia extract helps reduce fat in two ways: trimming down its store of fat, and preventing the production of new fat cells.
The result of this two-pronged attack upon fat is a reduction in body weight, but this is accompanied by an even more marked reduction in body fat, since a significant proportion of stored fat will be converted to muscle.
Scientific evidence on Garcinia Cambogia
Due to the way HCA in Garcinia extract works – it converts carbohydrate to glycogen, which in turn increases muscle – short-term clinical trials measuring only body weight reduction have not always impressed in terms of results.
Studies measuring both body weight and body fat have invariably demonstrated a significant diminution in levels of abdominal fat.
An article published in Current Therapeutic Research (Vol 64, No 8, September/October 2003) measured weight loss and fat loss in participants who were given either Garcinia Cambogia or a placebo.
After 16 weeks, all participants had lost weight, but those who had taken a Garcinia Cambogia supplement were found to have “significantly reduced visceral, subcutaneous and total fat areas compared with the placebo group”.
Dieters who support their weight loss programme with Garcinia extract are likely to lose around 10% of their body weight within three months.
Of course there is no doubt that this level of body weight reduction could comfortably be achieved through calorie reduction alone.
Supporting the diet with Garcinia Cambogia supplementation means that, as well as losing 10% of the body weight, dieters are likely to shed around 16% of their body fat.
The scientific evidence clearly supports the fat blocking properties of Garcinia extract. Some clinical trials have also proved HCA is effective as an appetite suppressant and mood enhancer.
The results of a clinical trial focussing primarily on the safety of HCA were published in the Journal of Medicine in 2004 – see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18084863 (J.Med. 2004-35(1-6):33-48). No toxicity was caused to participants, and all lost weight.
Significantly, those taking the Garcinia intake ate less and levels of serotonin were significantly higher. These were important results because they confirm the claims that Garcinia extract is effective as an appetite suppressant, and that it is capable of enhancing mood and feelings of well-being by boosting serotonin.