Does Garcinia Cambogia Extract really work?

Can Garcinia Cambogia Extract Help with Weight Loss?

Today’s market is full of “miracle drugs” and supplements that claim to help you drop pounds fast. It’s no wonder they fly off the shelves and into medicine cabinets across the country. TV personality Dr. Oz and others like him have showered praise on one of these products in particular: the controversial garcinia cambogia fruit.

Garcinia cambogia is a citrus fruit that grows in Southeast Asia. An extract from the fruit’s rind, hydroxycitric acid (HCA), has historically been used for cooking, but it has also been used for weight loss. You can buy garcinia cambogia online or at most health and supplement stores. It comes in pill form or as a powder. Let’s look at what, if anything, garcinia cambogia can do for your weight.

Health claims: Fact or fiction?

Advocates say that HCA, an organic acid, works by making you feel full, reducing your appetite, and affecting your metabolism. It’s this effect that has led many to herald it as a natural weight loss cure. Some say it may also help improve high cholesterol or enhance athletic performance.

The list of garcinia cambogia’s rumored benefits is a long one. It can be hard to determine the truth to the claims about its “miracle” properties. So, how do these health claims match up to scientific research?

 

PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES HATE GARCINIA CAMBOGIA

According to this article in Washington Post, it cost between $800 million and $2.6 BILLION to bring a new prescription drug to market.

Once they start clinical trials, the pharmaceutical company only has 20 years of patent protection to recoup that cost, so they have to charge exorbitant prices to make that back and pay their shareholders a good return on their investment.

Of course they don’t want potential customers to think a natural product that cost a tiny fraction of what they charge can be effective at all.

Hence pharmaceutical manufacturers often fund research studies they hope will cast the competition in a bad light. A few million dollars to fund a study on a competitor is nothing compared to the billions it cost to develop a drug.

For example, this meta-review that examines existing clinical studies on Garcinia Cambogia is funded by GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of the prescription weight loss pill Orlistat, marketed under the name Alli.

For reference, Alli cost $60 for 120 capsules! The literature claims it can block 25% of the fat you eat from being absorbed.

Not surprisingly, the research they pay for often finds mixed results, with some studies showing positive effects for Garcinia Cambogia and some not.

The academic editor for that meta review was also the lead author for a few of the studies that found Garcinia to be ineffective. He also was the lead author for several studies that showed positive results for Orlistat (1, 2, 3).

Conclusion: Big Pharma spends hundreds of millions of $$$ funding research to cast doubt on the effectiveness of natural weight loss products like Garcinia Cambogia.

SIDE EFFECTS

Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)

Garcinia Cambogia is recognized as GRAS by the FDA, meaning it has “been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use”.

There have been several studies to test the effectiveness of these products and in these controlled quantities there were no significant side effects.

This meta-analysis examined all published research on Garcinia Cambogia, and found garcinia to be free from any major side effects when taken at dosages up to 2800 mgs per day (with 60% HCA).

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