Garcinia cambogia is a tiny fruit, shaped like a pumpkin. It is also called garcinia, Malabar tamarind, brindle berry, gambooge, mangoosteen etc. The fruit is purple or yellow in color and belongs to the mangosteen family. Garcinia cambogia extract is used as an herbal health supplement. The extract is made from the ripe fruit which is first dried and then ground into powder. The active chemical in this extract is hydroxycitric acid (HCA).
The health benefits of garcinia cambogia extract is got from HCA and other ingredients found in it. Being a citrus fruit, it contains plenty of vitamin C, xanthones and other antioxidants.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia Extract
We will look at the some of the key benefits of garcinia cambogia extract.
The main ingredient in garcinia cambogia extract – hydroxycitric acid (HCA) – is a powerful weight loss tool. Studies going on from the 1960s have found that HCA is able to suppress appetite and inhibits fat-producing enzyme. By doing so, this extract may also lower cholesterol levels. In a 2000 study of 40 obese patients, given garcinia cambogia extract, it was found that there was significant weight loss after 12 weeks. The weight loss was registered as fat loss rather than loss of muscle mass or water weight.
In a 2004 study, it was found that HCA not only lowered weight, but also improved mood and had a positive effect on lipid levels. HCA is able to burn body fat, suppress appetite and maintain optimal levels of cholesterol. The subjects in the study were given HCA or a placebo for 8 weeks, a similar diet and similar exercise schedule. After 8 weeks, it was found that the patients on garcinia cambogia extract had lower BMI, body weight, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They also had higher levels of serotonin – the neurotransmitter responsible for fat metabolism and regulation of mood, and higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels. In a 2008 study, it was found that the positive effect on cholesterol levels was maintained when garcinia cambogia was used irrespective of whether the patients lost body weight.
The key manner in which garcinia cambogia extract in able to promote weight loss is its ability to suppress hunger. This could be because it has leptin-like activity. Leptin has weight loss properties since it can improve energy levels, promotes fat lipolysis without causing loss of fat and lean muscle mass. Further research is required on the ability of garcinia cambogia in lowering leptin levels in the blood and the improving the ability of the body to use leptin. ,
Glucose metabolism seems to improve when garcinia cambogia is consumed. The HCA content in this supplement could reduce and delay absorption of intestinal glucose, therefore improving glucose metabolism. In one study, laboratory mice given garcinia cambogia had lower levels of insulin than the placebo group. This finding suggests that an extract of garcinia cambogia demonstrates leptin-like activity and improves glucose metabolism.
Garcinia cambogia offers anti-ulcer and anti-inflammatory benefits. This fruit has been used in the treatment of several gastrointestinal disorders such as colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastric ulcers. In a 2002 study, oral pre-treatment with the extract of the garcinia fruit was found to protect the gastric mucosa from forming ulcers. This was because garcinia cambogia extract was able to reduce acidity.
In another study, it was found that this extract has anti-inflammatory benefits and hence provides protection for inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract like IBS and colitis. Both IBS and colitis cause macroscopic damage. Subjects with these disorders were treated with garcinia cambogia and it was found that damage caused by these disorders like inflammation, swelling, pain and bloating sensation all subsided. The gastric mucosa seemed to return to normal too.
One component of garcinia cambogia is garcinol. This is said to protect the gastric mucosa by lowering acidity levels. The rind of this fruit acts as an astringent and has been used in traditional medicine to treat dysentery, diarrhea, duodenal and gastric ulcers.
Garcinia cambogia fruit contains vitamin C an essential antioxidant. Hence, consuming this fruit will offer us the benefits of natural vitamin C. Antioxidants are able to protect the body from damage by free radicals. Such damage can cause cancer, inflammatory diseases, heart diseases etc. Vitamin C is also required to repair damaged tissues and help with their growth. It helps with wound healing, repairs and maintains bones, teeth and cartilage. The most popular benefit of vitamin C is of course its ability to prevent common cold. The body cannot manufacture vitamin C. One rich natural source of vitamin C is citrus fruits like garcinia cambogia.
Benefits of Xanthones
Xanthones are polyphenolic compounds which are said to have beneficial effects in the treatment of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis and thrombosis. It could also prevent formation of certain tumors since it possesses anti-tumor benefits. These benefits can be enjoyed when garcinia cambogia is eaten for it contains xanthones.
Garcinia cambogia extract could be likely beneficial for many other disorders like:
- Open sores
How to buy pure Garcinia Cambogia supplement
Any product that suddenly takes the market by storm will immediately spawn other spurious imitations. The same holds true for garcinia cambogia supplements. Hence, before buying this supplement, make sure it meets the following criteria:
- Garcinia Cambogia (HCA) must be mentioned on the label
- The product must contain 50% HCA
- It must also contain calcium and potassium
- Offer a daily serving of 1500mg
- Must not contain binders, fillers or artificial ingredients
Since the fruit has been used in cooking for hundreds of years and no known side effect reported, it is safe to consume it. As a supplement, we must not exceed 3000 mg a day. The recommended dosage for weight loss is 500-1000mg thrice a day before meals. More than this could cause nausea, headaches and discomfort of the digestive tract. There are no known interactions with any other drugs or herbal supplements.
However, anyone taking diabetic medications or statin to lower cholesterol must avoid these supplements. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and anyone with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia must also avoid garcinia cambogia supplements. Although further extensive research is required for us to know the full benefits or side effects of garcinia cambogia extract, taken as a fruit, it can still offer many benefits due to the range of ingredients present in it.