What is Garcinia cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is a tropical plant native to India and South East Asia. It looks a little like a green pumpkin, hanging from a tree, and ripens to lovely shades of yellow, orange or red.
The skin of the fruit contains a chemical called hydroxycitric acid (HCA).
In research on animals, HCA seems to prevent the body from storing fat, and it might reduce the animals’ appetite.
Because of this animal research, it has been included in weight loss supplements for humans. You can buy it in bottles and jars 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 humans 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.
Although Garcinia cambogia seems to be fairly safe, some studies have shown it can cause headache, nausea, and symptoms in the upper respiratory tract, stomach and intestines. 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 Many websites are fake sites that sell out-of-date, poor quality, contaminated or fake medicines, and sorting the real sites from the fake is not easy.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 then talk to your doctor. They can help you find a safe and effective weight loss strategy that is right for you.
Last reviewed: October 2016