Garcinia Cambogia: How It Works, Weight Loss Benefits, Clinical Studies And Side Effects

Garcinia Cambogia fruits hanging from tree

What is Garcinia cambogia?

Garcinia cambogia

Scientific Name: Garcinia gummi-gutta

Previous Scientific Name: Garcinia cambogia

Other names: Brindle berry, Malabar tamarind, brindal berry

This tree is found in Southeast Asia, where it’s been commonly used in cooking. However, its role as an aid in weight loss is very recent.

Ingredient usages: In many popular fat burners available in the market.

Similar weight loss ingredients: Bitter orange, raspberry, glucomannan, etc.

It is a citrus fruit which is naturally found in Southeast Asia. It is pumpkin shaped and its acid HCA is similar to the citric acid found in lemons and oranges. The hydroxycitric acid (HCA) has been used in cooking for a long time. Recent research has shed some light on probable role of garcinia cambogia in weight loss which is why it has become quite popular since the last decade or so.

Benefits of Garcinia cambogia for Weight Loss

Following effects of garcinia cambogia are believed to be helpful for weight loss:

  • It improves your metabolism
  • It can reduce your appetite
  • It can help you feel full faster
  • It increases your satiety level after food intake
  • It regulates cholesterol in the blood
  • It also increases the endurance during exercise, i.e. it enhances exercise performance

How Does It Work?

how does garcinia cambogia work

HCA is known to block an enzyme called citrate lyase. This enzyme is used by your body to make fat. Blocking this enzyme makes it unavailable to take part in the process of adipogenesis (the making of fat cells/tissue). As the number of fats cells produced by your body decrease, then your body fat will also decrease. Another effect of HCA is that it increases the level of a chemical substance called serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical which is released by the brain which makes you feel less hungry.

Other Benefits

Other benefits of Garcinia cambogia other than weight loss are listed as under:

  • It reduces joint pain
  • It can increase bowel movement
  • It is used for the treatment of parasite infections such as worms
  • It is also used to cure bloody diarrhoea and dysentery

Clinical Studies

garcinia cambogia hanging from tree

In a study, comprising 30 healthy but obese participants, it was found that HCA promotes weight loss. The participants were all in the 21-50 age group who consumed 2,000 calories daily and walked five days a week for half an hour. The individuals were either given HCA extract or a placebo throughout the study. At the end of the eight week period, the HCA group lost 12 pounds while the placebo group only managed to scrape off 3 pounds from their body – an incomparable rate of 400 percent!

In a study (source) similar to the one mentioned above, 60 people took part with controlled diet and proper exercise regime. The study reported a loss of 10.5 pounds on average in the group who received HCA while the placebo group just lost 3.5 pounds on average.

The above studies prove that when HCA is used to supplement your low-calorie diet and daily exercise, you will end up losing more weight – and faster.

Side Effects

Although the extract from garcinia cambogia is safe to use for weight loss in the recommended dosage, some people might suffer from the following side effects:

  • diarrhoea
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • discomfort of the digestive tract
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • upset stomach

A word of caution

There is not much evidence about the effect of garcinia cambogia on pregnant or/and breastfeeding women. If you are pregnant or are a breast-feeding mother, do exercise proper care and consult your doctor before starting to use this product. However, for safety concerns it is recommended that you avoid use of Garcinia cambogia in such situations and stick to a low-calorie diet and exercise to lose weight.


garcinia cambogia fruit cut into halves

Garcinia cambogia is popularly used by weight loss enthusiasts and dieters looking to cut fat and get a toned, leaner body. The effects of garcinia cambogia for weight loss are evident when it is used as a supplement while maintaining a proper diet and exercise of at least half an hour for five days a week. If you stick to the manufacturers label and do not exceed the daily dosage, then you are typically quite safe from any serious side effects. However, depending on your body, you may experience some of the mild side effects as listed in the article.

If you make the choice to use garcinia cambogia supplementing your weight loss regime, then make sure to first consult your doctor to avoid any kind of situation which might be unhealthy for you.