Garcinia: Weight loss Miracle? Or just another Fad Diet.

by: Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj 

Garcinia Cambogia is a fruit native to Southeast Asia. The fruit is known by many names depending on the region of use. Common names to include: Garcinia gummi-gutta, a tropical species of Garcinia native to Indonesia. Gambooge, Brindleberry, Malabar tamarind, Assam fruit, Vadakkan puli (northern tamarind) and kudam puli (pot tamarind). With so many variations on the name it is most commonly portrayed as Garcinia cambogia (a former scientific name) which is typically recognized throughout the world. It is cultivated in parts of Karnataka and Kerala. The fruit has a thin skin/rind with prominent vertical lobes; it will range in size from the size of a small orange to a large grapefruit. It will also vary in color from a yellowish green to a reddish pumpkin color. It is often used in curries and chutneys in Indian cuisine, used for it medicinal and herbal properties with claims of helping with treating worms and parasites Aside from use in food preparation and preservation is also used in traditional medicine as a natural mild laxative. It has traditionally been  the Indian Ayurveda medicine as "sour" flavors are said to activate digestion. It has also been used in traditional medicine as a laxative and to treat parasitic infections. It is an essential souring ingredient in the Southern Thai variant of kaeng som, a sour curry.

garcinia weight loss miracle or not

The Weight loss Craze
In 2012, a United States television personality, Dr. Mehmet Öz, promoted Garcinia cambogia extract as a "magic" weight-loss aid. Now Dr. Oz was ‘discovered by non other than media Mogul Oprah Winfrey’ and has gained a following of day time TV viewers that will swear by anything or anyone that Oprah has endorsed.
This has led to a craze in the United States and around the world with people using the supplement.

Does it really work?
A 1998 randomized controlled trial looked at the effects of hydroxycitric acid, the active component in Garcinia cambogia, as a potential anti-obesity agent in 135 people. It is claimed that HCA in high doses can help with the suppression of epididymal fat accumulation. The results of this study though were less than encouraging. The conclusion of the study was that the purported ‘superfruit' failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with a placebo. More studies have been done since then and a recent meta-analysis found a possible small, short-term weight loss effect (under 1 kilogram). However, side effects—namely hepatotoxicity (chemical-driven liver damage)—led to one preparation being withdrawn from the market.

Should I use it?
Supplements are always a risky proposition. The FDA and other regulatory agencies do not subject them to the same scrutiny and research that new medications from a pharmaceutical company would have to undergo. This means a company can package and market a supplement and make hay while the sun shines before any of the potential side effects become apparent to the general population. Also, no data exists on how this drug interacts with OTHER medications that a patient might be taking (your BP pills, your Diabetes Medication, etc).

Considering the fact that at least one preparation was pulled because of liver damage we suggest that anyone with a liver issue give this supplement a pass. As for everyone else, the choice is ultimately yours.


Article is related to:


Diseases and Conditions :              Weight loss,   Parasitic infection
Drug/Medication :                         Supportive medication
Treatment/Therapy :                      Weight management,   Diabetes management
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