Garcinia cambogia is a fruit which resembles a tiny pumpkin. This fruit grows in many tropical countries like Indonesia, India, West Africa, Southeast Asia etc. For centuries, people in these countries have been adding this fruit to their diet to spice up curries or chutneys. The liquid extract can also be used to make soups, juices or teas. The reason for its popularity is that it makes a person feel full quickly and this prevents us from eating more. The fruit is quite bitter and cannot be eaten plain but incorporated in this manner.
Now that the benefits of this tiny fruit are being learnt by western society, garcinia cambogia supplements are making waves all across the world for these weight loss abilities. This herbal supplement is relatively inexpensive and contains hydroxycitric acid – the chemical known for its weight loss properties. Along with proper diet and exercise, people are known to lose even 4lbs a month.
Possible side effects of Garcinia Cambogia extract
Garcinia cambogia fruit has been eaten by Asian societies for years. Taken in normal amounts, this fruit extract is likely safe for all individuals. However, there are some side effects some of which could be due to the presence of hydroxycitric acid (HCA) in garcinia cambogia extract.
The appropriate dosage of garcinia cambogia depends on the age and health of the consumer as well as other factors. Taken for 12 weeks or less, garcinia cambogia extract is mostly safe. The long term safety of this supplement has not been researched as yet. Some mild side effect could be:
- Discomfort of the digestive tract
There is only little information about the side effects of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), the main ingredient in garcinia cambogia extract, since only small studies have been conducted so far. Larger studies are required to find out uncommon side effects which may occur with long term use of this product.
When using any herbal supplement, you must watch out for allergic reactions. An allergic reaction is caused when a person’s body reacts adversely to one or more ingredients found in a product. Some typical allergic reactions are:
- Swelling of the throat or mouth
- Difficulty breathing
If you display any of these symptoms, stop using garcinia cambogia extract at once and consult a doctor. Left unchecked, allergies can worsen and lead to anaphylaxis which could prove fatal. Rat models found that HCA could cause shrinking of the testicles. Similar effect has not been studied on humans.
The following people may experience some side effects when taking garcinia cambogia:
- Diabetic patients should carefully monitor blood sugar levels since this extract could lower blood sugar levels.
- Rhabdomylosis is a fatal degeneration of skeletal muscle. This was reported 3 hours after taking herbal supplements for weight loss which contained garcinia cambogia with 50% HCA, ephedrine, guarana an active caffeine alkaloid, chromium, Gymnena sylvestre and chitosan. However, since there are so many ingredients in this product, it cannot be pinpointed that the cause was garcinia cambogia. Anyone who has suffered from rhabdomylosis previously or taking statins, must be careful when taking such supplements.
- Acetylcholine could form in the brain of patients with dementia.
In a weight loss study over a 12 week period, volunteers taking 1500mg HCA or a placebo had almost similar side effects.
The biggest risk arise from taking spurious supplements. As they can actually harm body rather than help. Thus make sure you buy pure GCE. To avoid spurious supplements, make sure the supplement you buy contains at least 50% HCA and has GCE or garcinia cambogia written on the label. It is recommended that for weight loss, a person uses 500-1000mg before a meal, thrice daily. Do not exceed 3000mg per day. There is sufficient evidence that taking HCA of up to 2800mg / day is safe for humans.
Taken within normal amounts garcinia cambogia extract will likely cause no side effects. However, all pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid all types of herbal supplements, for their long term effects on a baby are not known. Those taking glyburide or insulin for diabetes and those taking statin to lower cholesterol levels must avoid garcinia cambogia supplements. There could be side effects like muscle degradation or rhabdomyolosis. Anyone suffereing from dementia brought on by degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease must also avoid garcinia cambogia supplements.
A person may experience none or all of the above symptoms after taking garcinia cambogia extract. A doctor will not be able to predict beforehand if you will suffer any reactions from a supplement which you have not used before. So, let them know as soon as you display any unusual symptom. As a general precaution, anyone on specific medication is advised to consult their doctor before starting supplements of garcinia cambogia extract.