We are all aware of the fact that slimming is a mega-dollar industry. With millions, if not billions of people of all ages struggling to lose weight, and very few pharmaceutically effective medications available to assist them, the desperate public will literally clutch at straws. Every week sees the launch of a new “miracle” diet pill or potion and a “surefire” diet guaranteed to help believers shed kilos like magic.
What is Garcinia Cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is a small pumpkin-shaped fruit which is typically light green or yellowish in colour. Garcinia cambogia was formerly the scientific name, but it has since been changed to Garcinia gummi-gutta. It also has a number of other common names, such as Malabar tamarind and Brindleberry.
This particular genus of plants has as many as 300 different species within it, but garcinia cambogia is the one that receives the most attention for its healthy properties. Thriving in tropical settings, this tree is primarily grown in Southeast Asia, India, and central Africa, and it is widely used in traditional recipes, as well as curries in a number of Asian countries. Various parts of the fruit and its extracts can be used for different flavour profiles, and it is also known as a traditional remedy for a wide range of afflictions.
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
According to a local study from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) “this small fruit, reminiscent of a pumpkin in appearance, is currently most popularly used and widely advertised as a weight-loss supplement”.
Health Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia
Let’s review the benefits of garcinia cambogia that actually have some merit and seem to be effective in some manner.
1. Promotes Weight Loss
Garcinia cambogia extract, often considered a miracle cure for obesity, affects weight loss in a number of ways. Firstly, the hydroxycitric acid (HCA) found in garcinia cambogia can prevent calories from being stored as fats. Certain enzymes slow down the metabolism, which is when the body “gets lazy” and starts storing calories as fat. However, HCA blocks the production of these enzymes. So instead of fat, those calories are converted into glycogen, which is necessary for building muscles.
2. May Help People With Type 2 Diabetes
Garcinia cambogia may make it easier for your body to use glucose, the sugar your cells need for energy. Mice that got garcinia cambogia in one study had lower insulin levels than mice that didn’t. That’s another reason, besides weight loss, that people with diabetes are interested in it. However, if you’re taking garcinia cambogia along with a medication to control your blood sugar, your glucose could get dangerously low.
There have been instances where blood sugar has dropped down to extremely low levels. This is not considered a positive side effect. Other reported side effects include headaches, nausea, and various digestive disorders.
3. Improves Metabolism
If you want to boost your metabolism, which means even faster results in the weight-loss realm, adding garcinia cambogia to your daily routine is a wise choice.An increased metabolism means more immediate energy and less packaging of calories into adipose fat.
4. Lowers Cholesterol
The other major way that garcinia cambogia is able to help those who use it for weight loss is by optimizing the cholesterol balance in the body. HCA and other compounds in this herb are able to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This will help reduce your likelihood of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes, while also loweringand giving you more energy for your daily tasks.
5. It May Block Fat Production and Reduce Belly Fat
The most important activity of garcinia cambogia is probably its effects on blood fats and the production of new fatty acids. Studies in humans and animals have shown it may lower high levels of fat in the blood and reduce oxidative stress in the body (24, 25, 26, 27, 28).
One study also suggests it may be especially effective at reducing the accumulation of belly fat in overweight people (8).
Another study gave moderately obese individuals 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia daily for eight weeks (14).
By the end of the study, the group had drastically reduced several risk factors for disease:
- Total cholesterol levels: 6.3% lower
- LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol levels: 12.3% lower
- HDL (the “good”) cholesterol levels: 10.7% higher
- Blood triglycerides: 8.6% lower
- Fat metabolites: 125–258% more excreted in the urine
By inhibiting citrate lyase, garcinia cambogia is thought to slow down or block fat production in the body. This may reduce blood fats and lower the risk of weight gain, two major disease risk factors (33).
6. It Acts As Antioxidant:
Garcinia cambogia acts as an antioxidant. Studies have found that Garcinia Cambogia can reduce oxidative damage.