Biomedical

Is Garcinia cambogia an effective drug for weight loss?

Garcinia cambogia is a fruit with a sour taste. Lately it has become a popular supplement with claims that suggest it helps with weight reduction and obesity. It is widely used, but as with all supplements you should be careful because they are not regulated by the FDA like other drugs and even if something is “natural” it does not guarantee that its safe.

Although this fruit contains many ingredients that do have biological effects and most of them are adequately studied, the main ingredient is hydroxycitric acid (HCA). It interferes with proteins that play a role in fatty acid, cholesterol and triglyceride synthesis. The other ingredients have been shown to have hypolipidemic, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory,anticancer and hepatoprotective properties, although those studies are limited.

For weight loss, this supplements seems to be working. It mainly works in two ways. By inhibiting adipose production and by influencing serotonin level. So, it stops fat creation, and stops appetite. And at this point you may say oh ok, take my money please this sounds amazing. And it is great, all those claims, anti inflammatory, anticancer, reduced appetite, reduced fat creation, all of those are true. But at the same time all those are not studied enough, and in vitro studies are not the most reliable.

Additionally there have been side effects and no one will guarantee that those will not occur to you. There have been a few cases of people developing Mania with psychosis under this drug, with the side effects being reduced as the patient stopped taking supplements. It is not clear how this works and why this happens so rarely but it is something to keep in mind. Afterall it does affect serotonin and thus could have an impact on your psychology.

Another recent study reviews cases in which Garcinia cambogia cause hepatotoxicity when used as a supplement and this has been reported many times.

Obviously those side effects may be unrelated, and they may be only caused in some extreme cases. The thing is that until there are more complete studies on the effects of this fruit and its active ingredients i will personally avoid it. There are plenty of supplements that claim to have similar effects but are fully tested and don’t appear to have such side effects. But let me know what you think about this and if you have or are about to use it.

Sources: A comprehensive scientific overview of Garcinia cambogia

Hepatotoxicity Associated with Use of the Weight Loss Supplement Garcinia cambogia: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Possible Garcinia cambogia-Induced Mania With Psychosis: A Case Report

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Garcinia_Cambogia_Free_Trial_UK.jpg

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