Garcinia cambogia is a plant that is in the spotlight because of the (supposed) appetite-suppressing and weight-reducing effect of the fruit.
In this article we check to what extent these claims have been confirmed in research.
Garcinia cambogia is the Latin name for a tree that is also called Malabar tamarind. The tree owes its name to the French / Dutch botanist Laurent Garcin, among others. In English the tree is called Garcinia gummi-gutta but also brindleberry, Malabar tamarind and kudam puli
The Garcinia gummi-gutta bears yellow / green fruits that look somewhat like a small pumpkin. The extract from the fruits of Garcinia gummi-gutta is receiving a lot of attention nowadays because it could cause a suppressed appetite and weight loss. However, research has shown that these preparations may have a potential toxic effect on the liver while the effect on weight loss has not been clearly demonstrated.
Garcinia gummi-gutta slimming pills?
Garcinia gummi-gutta is often said to inhibit appetite and lower body weight. The pharmaceutical sector has eagerly responded to this by offering extracts and slimming pills based on Garcinia gummi-gutta.
I wondered to what extent these claims, extracts and slimming pills are supported by scientific research. Personally, I always tend to be skeptical when another plant pops up somewhere that would solve all the problems of humanity.
However, I will again try to get there objectively. First I will describe the theory behind the claimed effect of Garcinia gummi-gutta. Then I will take the investigations to assess to what extent these claims can be confirmed or invalidated.
Hydroxycitric acid (HCA)
Extracts, powders and slimming pills based on Garcinia gummi-gutta must achieve their effect thanks to the active substance in the fruit and especially its skin. The skin consists of between 20 and 30 percent hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA is a derivative of citric acid.
HCA has an inhibitory effect on the enzyme ATP citrate lyase. ATP citrate lyase normally contributes to the cleavage of citrate in oxalacetic acid and acetyl-CoA. Acetyl-CoA is necessary for the synthesis (production) of new fatty acids. A difficult way to explain that HCA can limit the production of fats.
More HCA–> Less acetyl-CoA -> Reduced production of fatty acids.
In addition to limiting production, HCA also appears to increase the burning of fatty acids in animal and laboratory studies. But what does that say about what people can actually expect in practice?
Losing weight with HCA?
That is why I delved into a systematic review from 2011. This review was conducted by researchers who compared the results of multiple randomized clinical trials on the weight-reducing effect of HCA. In this way they hoped to come to a clear conclusion about the effect of HCA on the weight of people. They eventually found 9 relevant studies that met all the criteria for such a comparison.
The analysis showed HCA to have a small but statistically significant effect compared to a placebo (average difference of 0.88 kilos). HCA could, according to this comparison, therefore make a small contribution to weight loss.
The researchers who do the analysis therefore conclude that HCA can lead to weight loss in the short term, but that this effect is small. The clinical relevance is therefore questionable.
A year later, Spanish researchers came to the same conclusion. They also pointed out that the studies that did show an effect were often of small size and short duration.
“Garcinia gummi-gutta works less for people with a certain predisposition to being overweight”
Research was also carried out last year into the effects of Garcinia gummi-gutta on body weight. 214 people who were overweight or obese participated in the study. These received 500 mg Garcinia gummi-gutta twice a day.
There were a number of interesting things about how this research was set up. Firstly, the study lasted 6 months and therefore not only looked at short-term effects.
In addition, certain variations in genes that have previously been associated with obesity have been examined. For example, researchers were able to take into account a number of known congenital factors. For example, they looked at certain variations in genes that are known to cause you to always eat more, for example due to a lower satiety. But also genes that are known to be associated with lower fat burning and a slower metabolism. You can see the results at the picture below.
We first analyzed whether the treatment of people with overweight or obesity with GC and GNN had any effect of weight, metabolic basal rate, fat mass and visceral fat. We found a dramatic, highly significant and sustained reduction of weight at 3 and 6 months compared to the start of the study. This decrease was parallel to a highly significant and significant increase in metabolic basal rate in 3 months 6 months respectively (Fig. (Fig.1b) .1b). Weight loss was also related to a highly significant reduction of fat and visceral fat in 3 and 6 months (Fig. (Fig. 1c) .1c). Weight decrease was independent of sex, age, or suffering from hypertension, DM2, dyslipidiasia or their combinations–Andrea Maia-Landim, University of Córdoba
Obesity genes “
Weight and fat mass decreased significantly while the metabolism was increased. In addition, the researchers also saw improvements in blood sugar, the amount of fatty acids in the bloodstream and cholesterol.
As mentioned, the researchers also looked at the effect of certain variations in genes associated with obesity. The results of people with three different types of these variations were compared with the results of people who did not have these variations.
On the right you see the difference. People with these variations in genes (FTO, PLIN and ADBR3) lost less weight and lost less body fat than the others. The researchers saw no difference when it came to the effect on metabolism, blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol.
They therefore conclude that Garcinia gummi-gutta can be an effective means for weight loss, but that this effect can be smaller in people with the genetic variations mentioned. They therefore advise first to determine whether there are such variations so that a better estimate can be made of the expected result.
Of the 214 people in the study, 76 were found to have one of three variations. That was slightly more than a third of the 214 overweight people who participated in the study.
Diet or Garcinia gummi-gutta?
Even if you take the genetic variations into account, you could still be quite impressed with the result. But this result was not only achieved by the Garcinia gummi-gutta! The researchers have had this combined with a diet with calorie restriction.
“Yes, that’s how I can do it”, I can already hear you say. Rightly so. After all, how can you distinguish between the effect of the diet and the effect of the Garcinia gummi-gutta? You could do that by giving one half of the group a placebo. In both groups you would expect people to lose weight due to the diet, the difference could possibly be attributed to the Garcinia gummi-gutta.
The researchers write that they have worked with a placebo group. However, I do not find the results of this control group in the study. Although the researchers are positive, it is not clear to me on what they base this.
I mentioned this research mainly to show that you have to take genetic differences into account when you have certain expectations of a supplement.
Is Garcinia gummi-gutta dangerous?
Fortunately, the same difference between theory and practice also seems to apply to safety.
In the latter study, doses of 500 mg Garcinia gummi-gutta were given twice a day. This appeared to cause no adverse side effects and the researchers concluded that it can be used safely. A conclusion that matches other studies.
The safety of Garcinia gummi-gutta was investigated in 2012, again by comparing the results of different studies. The conclusion was that there were no indications that Garcinia gummi-gutta leads to negative side effects. Even at doses up to 2800mg per day. In those cases where side effects were reported, there was combined with other products.
Those products which have been reported to have adverse effects are either polyherbal or multi-component in nature. To date, there is no case study or report showing the direct adverse effect or HCA. The structure, mechanism of action, long history of the use of Garcinia gummi-gutta / HCA and comprehensive scientific evidence had shown “no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL)” at levels up to 2800 mg / day, suggesting its safety for use.
-Chuah Lo, University Science Malaysia
Researchers also try to explain their different results when it comes to the effect of Garcinia gummi-gutta on body fat and weight. They mention differences in the composition of the supplement itself, but also genetic differences of study participants as possible causes of these differences.
Although there is therefore a theoretical basis for the functioning of Garcinia gummi-gutta, we cannot yet state with certainty that it can work (for everyone).
By.S.van der Tap.Internet Marketer Founder Of digitalstico.com
Garcinia gummi gutta. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 11 December 2017.
Inhibition of lipogenesis in rat liver by (-) – hydroxycitrate. Sullivan AC, Hamilton JG, Miller ON, Wheatley VR Arch Biochem Biophys. 1972 May; 150 (1): 183-90.
Citrate and the conversion of carbohydrate into fat. Fatty acid synthesis by a combination of cytoplasm and mitochondria.Watson JA, Lowenstein JM J Biol Chem. 1970 Nov. 25; 245 (22): 5993-6002.