Thursday, January 21, 2021

Garcinia Cambogia Weight Loss: Does it Work?


Garcinia cambogia is a versatile weight loss supporting botanical. Find the various benefits and use of this medicinal herb, the mechanism of action, the traditional uses and clinically approved actions.

Mechanism Of Action Of Garcinia cambogia:

  1. Animal studies indicate its action is mediated by two pathways. HCA works by blocking lipogenesis or conversion of starches and sugars (Excess of Carbohydrates) into fat that is stored and increases our weight.
  2. This herbal supplement promotes the oxidation of lipids and spares carbohydrates. This action will result in lower blood levels of cholesterol and lipid i.e. a better lipid profile.
  3. The glucose or its stored form glycogen is promoted. As excess of glucose is spared from conversion to fat, this excess glucose is mediated by gluconeogenesis pathway to form glycogen.
  4. Glycogen signals the brain satiety center that sufficient food has been taken. So glycogen production with this herb further suppresses appetite.
  5. Another of its action is on Central Nervous system. It raises the levels of Serotonin like brain neurotransmitters that has role in regulation of appetite.
  6. This herb promotes thermogenesis process i.e. body’s production of heat. This burns more calories and excess of stored fat.

Other Common Herbs For Weight Loss:

Some other herbs like St John wort, Chromiusm and 5 HTP are used with G. cambogia for helping the overweight persons.

Traditional Uses Of Garcinia Cambogia:

  1. Astringent
  2. Rheumatism
  3. Bowel complaints
  4. Piles
  5. Bilious affections
  6. Antioxidant
  7. Anticatarrhal
  8. Demulcent
  9. Thermogenic
  10. Cardiotonic
  11. Anti-Cancer
  12. Edema
  13. Intestinal Parasites or Antihelminthic
  14. Constipation
  15. Delayed menstruation

Clinically Approved Uses Of Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia cambogia For Weight Loss:

In a study involving 60 obese men and women, the group is given G. cambogia for  eight weeks. And HCA was found to help people lose weight in comparison to placebo group who took dummy supplement.

One study on male Zucker obese rats showed the effectiveness of this herb for suppressing body fat accumulation. This study included the safety at high dosage with histopathological examination. The dose at 389 mg per kg of body weight per day (Too much than the normal dosage) was found safe and without causing toxic effects on testicles. This study suggested that G. cambogia extract inhibits the accumulation of lipids in fat cells in adipose tissue (Fat droplet size reduced from 30-40 microns to 10-20 microns).

Another study from Molecular Cell Biochemistry proved again in a 90 day study its efficacy in overweight management. The 60% HCA containing extract of Garcinia cambogia was found to promote fat oxidation, enhance serotonin release and its availability in brain, normalization of lipid profiles and reduction of serum leptin levels in overweight individuals. This study established its safety on many criteria as acue oral, dermal and eye irritation toxicities, mutation studies and mouse lymphoma tests.

HCA, the bio-available extract of Garcinia cambogia found safe for human use. This study was conducted to find out the effects of HCA on body weight and abdominal fat gene expression profile of Sprague-Dawley rats. The study concluded that HCA is found effective for restricting body weight gain in rats. However the plasma leptin levels were unaffected and abdominal fat leptin levels were lowered.

Another study found garcinia extract to be a potent inhibitor of ATP Citrate lyase, the cellular enzyme that hastens the break of citrate to Acetyl coenzyme A and oxalocitrate. This inhibition of the enzyme reduces the availability of Acetyl coenzyme A for fatty acid and lipid synthesis from spare carbohydrates like starches and sugars. This helps directly in restricting the weight gain and induces weight gain.

This study evaluated the effects of 3.3% garcinia extract on serum leptin and insulin. The findings suggested that this herbal supplement has leptin like activity and improved glucose metabolism.

Another reputed and controversial  study at Obesity Research Center at Columbia University, found no significant differences in estimated percentage of body fat mass loss between treatment groups, and the fraction of subject weight loss as fat was not influenced by treatment group. This study concluded that Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo.

Later some researchers pointed that the high fiber diet in this study might have interfered with absorption of HCA and monitoring HCA concentration in blood during the study period might resolve this controversy. Plus HCA works best when we are taking a noraml fat diet and not starving ourselves with greatly reduced fat intake.

Protection From Gastric Ulcer With Garcinia cambogia:

Garcinia cambogia extract is found to increase the mucosal defensive mechanisms in stomach and thereby it is helpful as a protective agent against Gastric ulcers. The rats that were pretreated with this herbal supplement was found with decreased acidity and increased mucosal protective factors.

The G. cambogia extract was given in the dose of 1 gm/kg of body weight/day for 5 to 10 to 15 days to rats. This study tested the herbal extract effect with Indomethacin (20 mg/kg/day) induced ulcerogenic effect. This supplement reduced both the volume and acidity of gastric juice. Beside this effect on acid, the supplement showed promotion of defensive factors on gastric mucosa.

Garcinia Cambogia Plant Information

Garcinia cambogia or its extract HCA or Hydroxycitric acid is the botanical that is famous for obesity. Obese persons use it with success as it has many favorable actions. Find the names, history, medicinal parts, dosage and chemical constituents.

Local Names:

  • Bindin
  • Bhinda
  • Biran
  • Kokum
  • Katambi
  • Raktamba
  • Amsol

Latin Name:

Garcinia Cambogia. This genus Garcinia includes 50-300 species of evergreen trees and shrubs. The species of this genus are grown for their foliage and edible fruits.

Other Synonyms:

  • Cambogia gummi-guta L.
  • Cambogia gutta L.
  • Cambogia gutta Lindl.
  • G. cambogia (Gaertn.) Desr., nom. illeg.
  • Mangostana cambogia Gaertn.



Other Names:


  • Garcinia kola
  • Bitter kola
  • Malabar Tamarind
  • Mangosteen Oil tree
  • Brindali Berries
  • Brindle Berry
  • Brindall berry

Danish Name:

Gummiharpiks (product), Gummiguttræ.

Dutch Name:

Geelhars, Guttegom (product).

French Name:

Gamboge (tree), Gomme-gutte (product), Mangoustanier du Cambodge, Tamarinier de Malabar (as G. cambogia).

German Name:

Gummigutt (product), Gummiguttbaum.

Italian Name:

Gummi-gutti (product).

Japanese Name:

Garushinia kanbogia.

Sinhalese Name:


Vietnamese Name:

mang cut.

Brief History:

It was unknown outside the ayurvedic usage. Lately it has drawn great attention as weight reducing aid. G. cambogia became a weight loss supplement because of HCA or Hydroxy citrate or Hydroxy Citric Acid which is found in the rind of its fruit.

The fruit has been traditionally used as in food preparation and cooking with a unique acid sweet taste. HCA is extensively studied for 30 years and is found useful for inhibiting lipogenesis, reducing the production of cholesterol and fatty acids, producing more glycogen in liver, increasing BMR or basal metabolic rate or increasing the production of heat in body by activating the process of thermogenesis, suppressing the appetite and encouraging weight loss.

The fruit was used in Bombay Army in 1799. It was used as a substitute of ‘Kokam butter’. South Indian province, Ceylon and Thailand use this herb as the condiment.

Medicinal Parts:

  • Dried and powdered rind of the fruit.
  • Extract of the fruit rind.


  1. Extract: 250 mg to 1000 mg of HCA (or Garcinia extract 500 mg to 2000mg with 50% standardized HCA extract) three times a day.
  2. The most common dose is 300 mg to 500 mg of HCA three times a day.
  3. It is better to take this capsule or tablet 30 to 60 minutes before meal with water.
  4. This herbal supplement is available in capsules, tablets, softgels, powder, dried small pieces of herb for making tea.

It is better to take this herbal supplement with a diet rich in simple sugar. With this diet, HCA works best as it reduces the tendency of generation of fats from excess sugar.

The diet should have low fat as HCA doesn’t affect dietary fat intake.

The diet should not include high fiber food as high fiber diet might interfere with absorption of HCA and intended result might not come.

The best option to take HCA supplement half to one hour before meals.

Chemical Constituents:

  1. Hydroxycitrate or Hydroxy Citric Acid or HCA
  2. Vitamin C
  3. Camboginol
  4. Cambogin

The fruit of G. cambogia possess 20-30% hydroxy citric acid lactone and some trace amount of Citric acid.

As a native Indian and an Ayurvedic holistic healer, Arjun writes in the lane of herbal healing and home remedies. Certification: BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery With Modern Medicine).

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