Garcinia Cambogia is a fruit that is known to enhance the culinary experience of food, and enhances satiety from a meal (possibly by enhancing the flavor experience). Its usage as a fat burner does not appear to extend to humans.
Garcinia is most often used for
Garcinia Cambogia (Malabar Tamarind) is a small fruit that has some traditional usage to enhance the culinary experience of a meal, but beyond that has limited medicinal usage. It is a very good source of hydroxycitric acids (structurally related to citric acid, a sour flavorant) and one of the isomers, known as (-)-Hydroxycitric acid, is thought to help in weight control.
The mechanism of action is inhibiting an enzyme called Citric acid lysase which is required in the synthesis of fatty acids, known as de novo lipogenesis. At least in rats, evidence of suppressed de novo lipogenesis has been noted and oral consumption of (-)-Hydroxycitric acid appears to reliably reduce food intake and body weight (the latter to a degree where food intake cannot explain all the observed effects)
Studies in humans, for the most part, fail to replicate this; this may be related to less actual activity of de novo lipogenesis in humans and a much higher level in rats. Some isolated studies do note weight loss, but it appears to be quite variable and unreliable. Many studies also do report subjective appetite decrease, but tend to record dropout rates (how often people leave the study due to being unable to maintain the diet protocol) rather than food intake; even then the benefits are still unreliable and sometimes not present.
Although there is some limited potential for (-)-Hydroxycitric acid as a weight loss aid, the magnitude of effect is quite low (up to 2kg over 3 months) and the benefit is unreliable; making it hard to recommend this compound as a fat burner or anti-obesity agent.
- Pazham Puzhi
- Bitter Kola
- Malabar Tamarind
- (-)-Hydroxycitric Acid
- Hydroxycitric Acid
- Garcinia Cambogia
- Hoodia gordonii (another ineffective appetite suppressant)
Standard dosing of Garcinia Cambogia and its bioactive, (-)-Hydroxycitric acid, is 500mg of (-)-Hydroxycitric acid taken 30-60 minutes prior to a meal and usually taken at up to three different meals daily.
It is unsure if this is the ideal dose since human studies usually fail to find a benefit with any dosage.
What is Garcinia Cambogia?
As a plant...
Garcinia cambogia is a fruit that is also known as Malabar Tamarind, a small fruit that was typically ingested with a meal because some cultures enjoyed the culinary experience. Some old sources suggests that it could potentially help curb the appetite, but for the longest time it was uncertain whether this was because it had actual appetite suppressing properties or whether the taste experience just made people be more satisfied with less food.
It was only due to some exploratory studies looking at what was inside the fruit that it became a popular supplement.
As a supplement
Within garcinia cambogia is a molecule, (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA for all intents and purposes), that is related to the taste of the fruit. The fame of this fruit as a fat loss agent skyrocketed in the 70s when a study[reference|url=https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4815800|title=Effect of (-)-hydroxycitrate upon the accumulation of lipid in the rat. II. Appetite|published=1974 Feb|authors=Sullivan AC, Triscari J, Hamilton JG, Miller ON|journal=Lipids|] in rats found that it reduced food intake by as much as 17% and weight gain by as much as 36%. It was assumed that this applied to humans and a safe supplement that quartered your food intake was then being talked about most commonly in the fat loss supplement Hydroxycut, which got it's brand name as a reference to both hydroxycitric acid and 'cut' (used to refer to the process of losing fat).
It was sold for quite some time, but come 1998 the first study on the topic failed to show any benefit of this fruit[reference|url=https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9820262|title=Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial|published=1998 Nov 11|authors=Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, Vasselli JR, Pietrobelli A, Greenfield D, Nunez C|journal=JAMA|] with subsequent follow-up studies also showing an outright failure of the fruit to influence fat mass or appetite.[reference|url=https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21936892|title=Does Glycine max leaves or Garcinia Cambogia promote weight-loss or lower plasma cholesterol in overweight individuals: a randomized control trial|published=2011 Sep 21|authors=Kim JE, Jeon SM, Park KH, Lee WS, Jeong TS, McGregor RA, Choi MS|journal=Nutr J|][reference|url=https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11134690|title=Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables|published=2000 Oct 1-15|authors=Mattes RD, Bormann L|journal=Physiol Behav|] So what gives?
Why does it fail in humans?
The main mechanism for HCA is inhibiting the enzyme known as ATP Citrate Lysase which produces fatty acids in the body, and suppressing this pathway in rats is quite effective at reducing their fat mass.[reference|url=https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11564468|title=Effect of hydroxycitrate on food intake and body weight regain after a period of restrictive feeding in male rats|published=2001 Sep 1-15|authors=Leonhardt M, Hrupka B, Langhans W|journal=Physiol Behav|][reference|url=https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15474881|title=Effect of hydroxycitrate on respiratory quotient, energy expenditure, and glucose tolerance in male rats after a period of restrictive feeding|published=2004 Oct|authors=Leonhardt M, Balkan B, Langhans W|journal=Nutrition|] Unfortunately, however, this process known as de novo lipogenesis is one that is very important to weight regulation in rats while humans are significantly less reliant on it; preventing a minor process from occurring in humans is only going to give minor results, and it seems that the effect is so minor that it fails to outperform placebo.
It is still commonly sold as a dietary supplement in part because it is cheap to produce and not everybody knows of its demonstrated failures in humans, and sometimes it is added to fat loss supplements in a 'it can't hurt' methodology. However, at this moment in time it seems that the effects of HCA are too mild to influence the human body.