Losing weight can be difficult. Some people wanting a ‘natural’ way to lose weight have tried a supplement from the plant, Garcinia cambogia.
The supplement has been promoted as a way to lose weight without additional exercise or dieting.
You might be wondering if Garcinia cambogia can help you.
What is Garcinia cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is a tropical plant native to India and South-East Asia. It looks like a cross between a pumpkin and a tomato.
The skin of the fruit contains a chemical called hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which has been found to aid weight loss in animal trials.
The extract of HCA is available in powdered form or pill form and can be purchased online or in health stores under a range of names — garcinia, garcinia cambogia extract, cambogia garcinia, garcinia diet supplement, garcinia gummi-gutta, garcinia complex or brindleberry.
Does Garcina cambogia enable weight loss?
The best research on people suggests it probably does not help people to lose weight or if it does, the effect is very small. It is certainly not a breakthrough, as some of the advertisements might say.
Researchers examined the results of 9 different studies using Garcinia cambogia for weight loss in humans. They found mixed results, with some studies producing significant results and others showing little difference.
Overall, the average reduction in body weight was small and the studies were only done for short periods. The researchers said they could not draw “firm conclusions about the effects of HCA on body weight” and that more research was needed.
Another study found that HCA worked better if the person taking it had a healthy diet, which is the opposite of how HCA is sometimes marketed.
Is Garcina cambogia safe?
The Therapeutic Good Authority (TGA) has evaluated the safety and quality of Garcinia cambogia, and found that it is safe to be used as an ingredient in lower-risk medicines. (The TGA didn’t evaluate specifically whether or not the ingredient works.)
A few people who were taking weight-loss supplements containing Garcinia cambogia have developed liver damage, but experts are not sure which ingredient was responsible.
If you are taking Garcinia cambogia, it’s important to remember that it is a medicine. Like all medicines, it can have side effects and can interact with any other medicines you are taking. Always tell your doctor if you are thinking about taking a new medicine and why. They can then make sure it’s a suitable medicine for you, and safe for you to take.
Garcinia cambogia can be bought online, but this can be risky. Many websites are fake sites that sell out-of-date, poor quality, contaminated or fake medicines, and sorting the real sites from the fake is not easy. Visit the NPS Medicinewise website to find out about buying medicines online.
Most dietary supplements are not very effective for weight loss. If you are concerned about your weight, talk to your doctor. They can help you find a safe and effective weight loss strategy that is right for you.
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Last reviewed: October 2018