Side Effects of Garcinia Cambogia Extract

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:

  • Nausea
  • Discomfort of the digestive tract
  • Headache 

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 isSide Effects of Garcinia Cambogia Extract caused when a person’s body reacts adversely to one or more ingredients found in a product. Some typical allergic reactions are:

  • Rash
  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • 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. 

  • Shirley Love

    I am taking a cholesterel lowering drug althoughmy cholesterel is not that high. if i discontinue it can i then that GC safely. Why is there a reaction between these two elements?

    • Jim Hughes

      I bought some but haven’t taken any. Now I’m getting reservations about taking it at all. I do take Atorvastatin.

  • Dale

    Shirley, I take low dose statins and will not take the risk especially as this stuff has not had any trials that actually prove it works or that its safe. I’ve seen too many articles that say it does nothing. Check with your doctor.

    • Miss Notch

      I didn’t break out in hive, but instead I started itching to death literally! First, it was hot day and I started to sweat a bit after running around house doing errands! My scalp started to feel itchy, but figured it was just due to sun heat sweating with hair.Then as I started sweating on my chest, that area started itching too. I was like WTF! I had just got out the shower before and thinking could it be my clothes have fabric softener on them, which I have a serious allergy too and also causes me to immediately itch like crazy. I washed my own clothes and never use that stuff, so it was obviously not ! Then the itchiness got intense so I practically ripped my clothes off and bolted to take a cold shower thinking I could wash the irritant off. I stayed in for about 15 minutes and it calmed down. Now I get out the shower and my place it still warm inside from the heat and I started to sweat little and the itching madness started all over. I jumped back in the shower and then just filled the tube with cold water and stayed in for a good hour scared to get out thinking I’d start itching to death. As I was in the tube, I was trying to figure out it could be and I realize I just started taking Garcinia pills day before, I was fine but it was a cool day and I didn’t nothing to cause sweating.I figured that had to be it. I check the net found that itchiness is one the main side effects. Now i still wasn’t sure but that was only thing I did different and started only after sweating, but no itching beforehand. I waited a few days and decided to test it out to see what would happen. I took a pill with glass of water, no other pills or food ingested, and hour went by I was fine so I purposely jogged around to build up a sweat, and sure enough, the itching madness began all over. What I realized is that once you start sweating like anything its coming out your pores and causing allergy skin reaction! That was it, Garcinia was the culprit! I threw that whole big bottle out immediately and have not had a itching incident since that time.

  • Does it cause Cancer? As i’ve read some article in which it was mentioned that the fruit contains xanthones, which inhibit pre-neoplastic lesions in mammary and colon cancer. Is it safe to use?

  • Elsa

    Does garcinia cause swelling in feet and ankles. Im noticing after starting taking garcinia they swell and my water retention pill is not working. Has anyone reported such symptoms?

    • Andrea Evertsen

      I have noticed over the last 2 days that my legs and ankles are extremely swollen! It’s been so bad that I can’t even see my ankles at all! I will be upset if these pills make me swelling up because I have lost weight since I started taking them.

      • Debbie Chancellor

        I have the same issue. After 2 days of use my feet and ankles are so swollen I can barely walk. I’m with you…this is going to suck because I am starting to loose weight. ugh!

        • Nerie Ramos

          my feet and ankles been swollen too…..worse…feel bloated and gaining more weight because of water retention…..we should stop this immediately

        • ClyTi Swartz

          OMG!! I just went thru chemo and started radiation Monday. I started taking garcinia last week. Wednesday my feet and ankles were so swollen I called my Dr. The radiaton Dr said it would not be from that. My family dr sent me today for blood tests on my heart and kidneys. Thank you so much for your posts. I am betting this is what is going on with me!!

      • Elsa

        I discontinued it. I didn’t loose weight at all although I just used it for a week and a half. I will not risk my health with all the swelling it caused. Now Im back to normal loosing weight the traditional way. Are you still trying taking it? Did you get results of weight loss?

    • Sandriecka

      I took it for about a week and a half and I am experiencing knee and ankle swelling that has caused me serious pain! Did yours get better on its own? If so how long did it take? If not what did you do?

      • Elsa

        I discontinued taking GC and improved. Swelling went down. I read somewhere that there could be interaction between the water pill my doctor prescribed and GC. Now I’m dieting and exercising without it and feel fine. If it causes swelling like it did to me I would not take it.

    • Karen Wirtz

      I have swelling of the ankles after using for about 2 weeks

  • Sue

    I took Garcinia Cambogia+ with green coffee included and broke out in hives. Has anyone else had this reaction. Considering I only took 1 pill and the dosage is 2 pills 2xday, I am a little apprehensive about taking it again. Can’t think of anything else that would have caused this reaction.

    • Lara Berkey

      I broke out at in hives too! I’m going to stop taking it.

      • Lisa

        I also experienced the worst rash of my life, and wasn’t sure if it was from the garcinia first. I only took two pills, over a week. I also had tried pumpkin seed protein powder and thought it was maybe that. But have had that since with no rash. Now after reading other posts, I bet it was the garcinia. Does anyone know why this ingredient causes such severe hives?

        • Karen Wirtz

          Not hives but a rash that was unbearable! I was scratching my head contstantly

      • Rebekah

        I broke out too . Will never take it again how are you treating the rash?

    • drhilda carpenter

      I didn’t take it with green coffee, but my allergic reaction symptoms keep increasing. My lips swelled, cracked, rash around my mouth, my skin feels like it is crawling. I didn’t experience these symptoms until I’d been taking it for several months. The rash feels, but does not look like, hives. Taking benadryl and herbal tea to try to calm down, but I really feel like scratching my face off. I also noticed an increased sensitivity to anything acidic, e.g., tomatoes, chilis, Am stopping this immediately and cannot wait for it to get out of my system.

  • Londa Clark

    I feel bloated and my feet are swollen. Could this or the coffee detox cause this. I have been taking pure garcinia cambogia pills for a week and 1/2.. One garcinia in morning and 1 coffee detox at night.

  • drhilda carpenter

    I’ve been having cracked lips, facial rash for several months. I feel like I want to scrape off my face with my nails it itches so much. I suspect it could be an allergic reaction to the carcinia gambogia, am stopping taking it today. Anxiety is very high.

  • Karen Wirtz

    I have been taking this supplement Garcinia Cambogia for about 2 weeks now, the past few days I have noticed swelling of the ankles and unreal itching of the base of my head by my neck and the back of my head. I had my husband look at it today and he said I had a rash into my hair line.
    At first l thought maybe I came across something outside, but then I remembered I started 2 new supplements. I decided to look up side effects on both and found that I am not alone. I am stopping now hopefully I will have some relief in a few days.

  • marie

    I took the garcinia cambogia combined in a supplement with green tea extract and raspberry keytones, green coffee bean for 3 days. It was purchased over the counter at CVS. I took one supplement 3 times a day before every meal. On the 3rd day, I broke out in a rash and hives all over my body. My husband rushed me to urgent care where I received a steroid shot and was put on prednisone for 5 days and told to take 2 benadryl tablets every 6 hours. I was told the symptoms would go away quickly. The next day I phoned my Dr. to tell him I was still miserable and itching after the treatment. He had me come in for another shot and said the first one should have been enough. The following day my lips swelled up and I had welts all over including the back of my neck and head. The itching had not let up. He admitted me in the hospital for 2 days for further treatments monitoring and constant shots of benadryl and steroids. Even after I went home, 4 days after the initial treatment, I was still itching for a few days. It was definitely the supplement. I will never take this again and will lose weight the old fashion way.