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Garcinia cambogia for weight loss*

There’s growing interest in a fruit extract from garcinia cambogia trees and its potential use for appetite control and weight loss. Questions we get asked are, “Does it work? How does it work? How much weight will I lose?” We’ll try to answer all these important questions and a little more.

What is Garcinia cambogia extract?

Cambogia extract comes from the fruit rind of the garcinia cambogia tree which grows in southern Asian and is a close relative of the trees that mangosteens come from. Scientists have discovered that the active ingredient in this extract is hydroxycitric acid (HCA).

Study shows how much to take

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 90 participants suffering from excess body weight were given either 1,555 mg of garcinia cambogia extract (60% HCA) or a placebo three times a day 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for eight weeks. The participants were placed on a strict diet of 2,000 calories per day from food that was prepared and delivered to them. They also took part in a 30-minute walking exercise program five days per week. 

Study shows three times more weight loss*

Researchers assessed changes in body weight, body mass index (BMI), fat metabolites, serum serotonin levels, appetite and lipid profiles. The average weight loss was 10.8 pounds in the garcinia group, which was three times greater than the placebo group (diet and exercise alone) who lost 3.3 pounds.* 

More serotonin, less appetite*

The garcinia group also reduced their food intake and curbed their appetite by 15%. Their appetite reduction correlated with a significant increase in serum serotonin levels. It appears garcinia may suppress appetite by enhancing serotonin availability, leading to increased satiety.* This makes sense because Serotonin is the “feel good” brain hormone that helps tell you you’re full. If your appetite is reduced, you’ll eat less - plain and simple. Keep in mind garcinia cambogia is not an effective alternative to medication prescribed by doctors. Consult your physician before use if you are taking any medication [especially anti-depressants such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)] or have a medical condition. 

How it works

The active component (HCA) in garcinia appears to inhibit the enzyme ATP-citrate lyase. This diverts carbohydrates away from fat storage and towards stored energy in the form of glycogen. Increased glycogen levels are believed to send a signal to the brain that the body is “full,” resulting in reduced appetite and food intake.* Secondly, as mentioned before, it appears to stimulate serotonin release which is associated with decreased food intake.* It also may help break down the protective perilipin layer surrounding fat cells making it easier for the body to burn fat cells.*

The best form to take

The studies quoted in this article used 60% HCA from garcinia cambogia extract (Super CitriMax brand) that is patented and bound to calcium and potassium to improve uptake. It is the ingredient used in many of the reputable brands sold on the market due to this research.

Best dosage level

The dose with the best results seems to be about 1,500-1,555 mg taken before three meals a day. That translates into taking two 750-778 mg capsules, three times a day. However, even a short term, lower-dose study resulted in decreased calorie intake by 25% and snacking by 40% when only 500 mg was taken three times a day.* But, due to the more comprehensive and longer-term study done with the higher dose, it is still the recommended daily amount. All doses mentioned are based on using a 60% HCA extract

Who can benefit from Garcinia

With so many diet ingredients to choose from, why take garcinia cambogia extract instead of one of the many other diet ingredients? Garcinia appears to work best with people who tend to overeat or have appetite control issues.* You should combine it with a reduced calorie diet and exercise. 

A clinical study on a combination product of garcinia cambogia extract with other ingredients such as gymnema sylvestre extract and chromium showed slightly better weight loss results than taking garcinia cambogia alone. Therefore, garcinia cambogia extract may be a great ingredient to pair up with other diet ingredients.*

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