How Garcinia Cambogia Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2022
How Garcinia Cambogia Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat
Learn about whether garcinia cambogia can help you lose weight

Garcinia cambogia (Garcinia gummi-gutta), also called Malabar tamarind, has been marketed for its purported ability to help you lose weight.

Native to Southeast Asia, garcinia cambogia is a small pumpkin-shaped yellow or green fruit that is extremely sour. Supplements are generally made from extracts of the fruit peel.

Weight loss benefits associated with garcinia cambogia are believed to be due to the active ingredient hydroxycitric acid (HCA), found mainly in the peel of the fruit.

Learn about whether garcinia cambogia can help you lose weight.

How does garcinia cambogia help with weight loss?

May reduce your appetite

Both human and animal studies have shown that garcinia cambogia can effectively suppress appetite.

Although it is unknown how garcinia cambogia keeps you satiated, it could be due to the presence of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which may stimulate serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin acts as an appetite suppressant.

However, many large-scale studies observed no difference in appetite in those taking garcinia cambogia supplements and those taking a placebo. Effects may vary from person to person

May block fat production

Garcinia cambogia may affect the production of new fatty acids. 

Studies have shown that garcinia cambogia may effectively burn accumulated belly fat in people with obesity. The fat-burning properties can be attributed to its ability to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called citrate lyase. Citrate lyase is needed to produce fat, and inhibiting citrate lyase may slow or block fat production in the body.

What are other potential health benefits of garcinia cambogia?

Other potential health benefits of garcinia cambogia include the following:

  • Lowering cholesterol levels
  • Improving rheumatism
  • Relieving intestinal problems
  • Improving blood sugar control
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity
  • Reducing inflammation

However, more studies are needed to determine the effects of garcinia cambogia on these health conditions.

What risks are associated with garcinia cambogia?

Garcinia cambogia can cause some side effects, especially when consumed in large amounts. Side effects may include:

Consuming hydroxycitric acid (HCA) in excess can lead to the following health risks:

  • Serotonin syndrome: Garcinia cambogia extract could cause serotonin toxicity when taken in large amounts. This is especially true for people who take serotonin reuptake inhibitors. 
  • Testicular atrophy: One trial revealed that high doses of garcinia cambogia, i.e., more than 389 mg per pound of body weight, can lead to testicular atrophy. Testicular atrophy is a condition in which one or both testes shrink with reduced function. Studies in rats suggest that taking garcinia cambogia supplements may also affect sperm production.
  • Drug interactions: Garcinia cambogia may interfere with certain medications and make them more dangerous, including:
  • Liver failure: Several case studies suggest that high doses of this supplement may cause liver damage or failure.


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What are dosage recommendations for garcinia cambogia?

Due to a lack of scientific research and FDA regulation, there is no set recommended dose for garcinia cambogia. Most studies on garcinia cambogia have used it in doses between 900-1500 mg of hydroxycitric acid (HCA).

It is important to purchase supplements from a reputed manufacturer. Look for a garcinia cambogia that contains 50%-60% of HCA. The usual recommended dose is to take 500 mg three times a day, 30 minutes to 1 hour before a meal.

Who should avoid garcinia cambogia supplements?

Garcinia cambogia supplements are not for everyone. 

Exercise caution when taking this supplement, because the consumption of hydroxycitric acid (HCA) can exacerbate certain conditions.

Avoid these supplements if you:

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2022
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