Garcinia

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What other names is Garcinia known by?

Brindal Berry, Brindle Berry, Cambogia binucao, Cambogia gemmi-guta, Garcinia affinis, Garcinia Cambogi, Garcinia cambogia, Garcinia gummi-guta, Garcinia sulcata, Gorikapuli, Kankusta, Kudam puli, Malabar Tamarind, Mangostana cambogia, Tamarinier de Malabar, Vrikshamla.

What is Garcinia?

Garcinia is a small to medium-sized tree that grows in India and Southeast Asia. The fruit rind contains the chemical hydroxycitric acid (HCA) and is used to make medicine. Don't confuse Garcinia with Garcinia hanburyi (gamboge resin).

People take Garcinia by mouth for weight loss, exercise performance, joint pain, bloody diarrhea, to increase bowel movements, and for treating worms and parasites.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Exercise performance. Taking a chemical compound found in Garcinia called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) might increase how long untrained women are able to exercise. However, it does not seem benefit men in the same way.
  • Weight loss. Research on the effect of Garcinia on weight loss is inconsistent. Some research shows that taking Garcinia extract that contains 50% hydroxycitric acid (HCA) for 8-12 weeks doesn't decrease fat breakdown or energy expenditure in overweight people. However, other research suggests that it might improve weight loss when taken for 12 weeks. Taking a specific Garcinia product containing 60% HCA (Super CitriMax InterHealth Nutriceuticals) by mouth in three doses daily 30 to 60 minutes before meals for 8 weeks, together with a healthy diet, seems to improve weight loss more than just diet alone. But other research shows that adding this specific Garcinia product to cereal bars or tomato juice and consuming them before lunch and dinner for 2 weeks does not improve weight loss. Reasons for the inconsistent results might be the dose, duration of treatment, or formulation of Garcinia extract that was used.
  • Joint pain.
  • Treating worms and parasites.
  • Emptying the bowel.
  • Severe diarrhea (dysentery).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of garcinia for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Garcinia work?

Garcinia contains the chemical hydroxycitric acid. Some research suggests that HCA might prevent fat storage, control appetite, and increase exercise endurance; however, whether these effects occur in humans is unclear.

Are there safety concerns?

Garcinia is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken orally. There have been reports of serious liver problems in some people who have taken products containing garcinia; however, it is unclear if garcinia is the actual cause of liver problems in these reports or if it is due to other factors. Common, but mild side effects also include nausea, digestive tract discomfort, and headache.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Garcinia if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Liver disease: Garcinia might harm the liver. This could worsen liver damage in people with liver disease. Don't use if you have liver disease.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Garcinia might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) can also affect serotonin. Taking Garcinia along with dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and can result in serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take Garcinia if you are taking dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others).



Escitalopram (Lexapro)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Garcinia might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Escitalopram (Lexapro) can also affect serotonin. Taking Garcinia along with escitalopram might cause too much serotonin in the brain and can result in serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.



Medications for depression (Antidepressant drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Garcinia might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Some medications for depression also increase serotonin. Taking Garcinia along with these medications for depression might increase serotonin too much and cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take Garcinia if you are taking medications for depression. Some of these medications for depression include the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and others; and tricyclic and atypical antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), and others. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.



Meperidine (Demerol)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Garcinia might increase a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Meperidine (Demerol) can also affect serotonin in the brain. Taking Garcinia along with meperidine (Demerol) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.



Pentazocine (Talwin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Garcinia might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Pentazocine (Talwin) also increases serotonin. In theory, taking Garcinia along with pentazocine (Talwin) might increase serotonin too much. This could cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.



Sertraline (Zoloft)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Garcinia might increase a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Sertaline (Zoloft) can also increase serotonin in the brain. Taking Garcinia along with sertaline (Zoloft) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.



Tramadol (Ultram)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Tramadol (Ultram) can affect a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Garcina can also affect serotonin. Taking Garcinia along with tramadol (Ultram) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and might result in side effects including confusion, shivering, stiff muscles, and others.

Dosing considerations for Garcinia.

The appropriate dose of garcinia depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for garcinia. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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