What you need to know about the latest weight-loss trend

Garcinia Cambogia

What you need to know about the latest weight-loss trend.

By Judy Dang and Tara Storjohann

Weight-loss is a topic that will always be surrounded by new trends or supplements that may guarantee fast and easy results. The buzz of garcinia cambogia has increased as celebrities have openly advocated for its use to shed pounds quickly. Before beginning any weight-loss agent, it is always important to ask the following three questions: What is it? Does it actually work? And, most importantly, is it safe?

What is it?

Garcinia cambogia can be found growing on trees native to India or Southeast Asia. These pumpkin shaped fruits have rinds rich in hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is believed to be the active component contributing to weight loss. HCA is thought to block the action of citrate lyase, an enzyme involved in a pathway resulting in fat and cholesterol production. It’s also been suggested that HCA can increase serotonin production, which contributes to suppressing food desires. Garcinia cambogia has been marketed as a natural product that can reduce fat production, increase fat burning, and minimize appetite. All three of these targets are what most individuals look for when searching for the ideal weight-loss supplement.

Does it actually work?

An optimal dose of garcinia cambogia is unknown and studies have shown a wide range of doses. In general, Garcinia extract 800 mg to 1500 mg taken three times a day, 30 to 60 minutes before meals, and in combination with reduced-calorie diets for eight to 12 weeks has been used for weight-loss. A review article published in the Journal of Obesity determined that HCA may have an overall increase in weight-loss short term, however, this decrease in body weight is very minimal and the supplement is not as effective as traditional weight-loss pills. The average amount of weight that was lost was around one to two pounds. Studies pertaining to the efficacy of garcinia cambogia have been mixed, although concerns regarding serious side effects from this supplement have been on the rise.

Is it safe?

Garcinia may possibly be safe when used short term although there is insufficient reliable data regarding the safety with long-term use. Side effects from this natural product range from not any side-effects to severe side-effects. Some may report mild side effects including: headache, nausea, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal issues. Garcinia cambogia has been noted to have associations with severe liver damage, which is the most concerning side effect of this natural product. There have been reports of patients having a notable increase in liver enzymes, some needing liver transplants, while some may not experience any liver issues at all.

It’s important to note that natural products can have serious side effects and can also interact with your current medications. Garcinia cambogia may be suitable for individuals who are not severely struggling to lose weight and are only looking to shed a couple of pounds. This natural product should be used with caution as it has been associated with liver concerns. Before beginning garcinia cambogia, a physician or pharmacist should be consulted to ensure safety and whether or not it is indicated.

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