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Optimal amounts of HCA remain unknown. Although dieters sometimes take 500 mg of HCA three times per day (before each meal), this amount is far below the levels used in animal research (figured on a per-pound body weight basis). The effect of HCA is enhanced when used in conjunction with a low-fat diet, because HCA does nothing to reduce the caloric effects of dietary fat. Since HCA’s mechanism of action seems to be at least partially a blockade of conversion of simple sugars into fats,12 it is likely to work best in conjunction with a high simple sugar diet. HCA may therefore be less useful if it only offsets the negative effects of an otherwise unhealthy diet. High-fiber diets may impair absorption of HCA as noted above. HCA supplements are available in many forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, snack bars, and chewing gum.
Where to Find It
HCA is found in only a few plants, with one rich source being the rind of a little pumpkin-shaped fruit called Garcinia cambogia, which is native to Southeast Asia. This fruit (also called Malabar tamarind) is used as a condiment in dishes such as curry.
Since it is not an essential nutrient, HCA is not associated with a deficiency state.
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.