The history of Garcinia Cambogia is an interesting one. Also known as Southeast Asian tamarind, Garcinia Cambogia is a small green pumpkin shaped fruit with an orange center. It has an extensive history in Southeast Asian cuisine, both as a food in its own right, and as a souring and thickening agent in certain sweet and sour curry dishes.
In addition, Garcinia Cambogia has been investigated since the 1960s for its particular capabilities in helping with weight loss. In an age when new weight loss supplements come and go more quickly than reality television stars, having a compound taken seriously for so long automatically makes it worth interest.
How does Garcinia Cambogia Work?
First of all, it is important to note that when speaking about Garcinia Cambogia as a weight loss supplement, we are not speaking about natural Garcinia Cambogia as a fruit. Instead, there is a particular extract derived from the rind of the fruit.
The compound in question is hydroxycitric acid, also known as HCA. Hydroxycitric acid is very similar to the citric acid found in oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits, but it has a very different effect on the body than citric acid. To understand how hydroxycitric acid works, we need to understand how the body gains weight in the first place.
The basic reason that people gain weight is because they consume more calories than they burn. All food contains energy the body may use, measured in calories. A certain amount of calories are used throughout the day simply to keep the body going. This is referred to as the basic or resting metabolic rate.
When the calories taken in via food exceed the basic metabolic rate plus additional exercise and activities, the body stores a portion of the excess calories. Some may be converted to muscle or other tissues, but many of these calories end up stored as fat. The human body evolved in a near starvation environment, so it evolved to store as much energy as possible. This means we are very good at packing on extra weight when we have an excess number of calories to work with.
The hydroxycitric acid in Garcinia Cambogia supplements help combat this storage of fat, and thus helps promote weight loss, in two primary ways.
Sugar Conversion Enzyme Inhibitor
Carbohydrates such as sugar are very easy for the body to convert to fat. They have a lot of caloric energy for their weight, and thus a relatively small amount of sugar can overbalance our meals. Studies of hydroxicitric acid show that the compound has the effect of inhibiting a key liver enzyme that is responsible for the conversion of sugar into stored body fat.
By reducing the availability of this enzyme, the extract reduces the rate at which the body converts sugar into body fat. Less body fat means that weight gain is slowed down. While this does not in itself reduce body weight, it does mean that healthy diet and exercise are made more effective, since the sugars we do eat cause less weight gain to fight against.
Hydroxicitric acid also has a dual effect on our appetite. Simply put, we can’t gain weight from food we do not eat.
In the first part of the effect, Garcinia Cambogia supplements reduce the basic desire to eat. Oftentimes, we can sabotage ourselves by grazing on sweet snacks in between meals. By reducing our appetite level, this supplement helps us reduce the total caloric intake we have to deal with, again reducing potential weight gain.
The second part of the suppressant effect is that Garcinia Extract potentially increases the satisfaction we gain from the food we do eat. When we feel full sooner, we’re less likely to overeat at any one meal. When a healthy meal feels satisfying and filling, we are also less likely to reach for those sweet, sugary treats in between other meals.
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These two effects are very interesting on their own, but they also work together. A less-intense appetite reduces the amount we eat, which naturally reduces the amount of sugars taken in. Not only does the extract decrease the rate of conversion of sugar calories into fat, it reduces the amount of sugar we consume in the first place. The body can perform more efficiently in this case, attacking the problem from two directions at once, with each approach working in concert with the other.
Garcinia Cambogia Benefits
There are additional benefits that have not been studied as thoroughly as the first two we have discussed. There is some evidence that in addition to inhibiting appetite and sugar processing, tropical Garcinia Cambogia extracts may function as a metabolism booster. This means the body’s basic or resting metabolic rate may be raised, increasing the baseline number of calories the body burns. The more calories the body burns while at rest, the easier it is to lose weight.
Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects
Before beginning any supplement regimen, it is vital that you speak with your doctor. It is common for people to hear a supplement is all natural, or derived from natural sources, and assume that this means it is healthy. However, many things that are natural can be dangerous if not treated with respect. Simply drinking too much water can literally poison the body, and water is one of the most basic of our bodily needs.
The compounds in Garcinia Cambogia have a direct effect on the body’s digestion and processing of food and sugars, which means there are side effects that must be considered. It is equally important to note that these side effects are very rare – most users can take the supplement safely.
The most common effects from garcinia extract supplements are digestive in nature. Nausea, gas, and digestive discomfort are the three most reported side effects. They may persist, or may subside as you get used to the supplement. Users diagnosed with digestive disorders are probably the most likely to experience additional digestive symptoms when taking these supplements.
A potentially more serious side effect is caused by the way the drug interacts with the body’s sugar processing. Patients with diabetes that requires blood sugar management have reported that taking Garcinia Extract can cause their blood sugar to lower to a very dangerous degree. This is not a symptom to take lightly, as it can cause extremely serious health complications. Patients with diabetes should not under any circumstance begin taking Garcinia Extract without a thorough discussion of their condition, weight loss goals, and potential complications with their doctors.
Tested and Reviewed
While the clinical trials and studies are important, it is also important to hear what users have to say about using a supplement. Testimonials from end-users can provide insight into the effects of taking these extracts for personal weight loss.
While we will not discuss or share specific reviews from any sites, we will briefly discuss the broad aspects of these reviews.
On the positive side, significant weight loss claims are mentioned by a number of reviewers of various Garcinia Extracts available for sale online. Weight loss claims range from 10 to even 50 pounds in some cases. While no supplement can guarantee these results for every user, as each of us have different bodies and metabolisms, this is an encouraging degree of potential weight loss to see.
As to the negative side, most of it has focused on the previously mentioned side effects. However, a very common complaint is from the supplement not working at all, or working in varying degrees based on which company they purchased their supplement from. This brings us to the next point.
Where to Buy Garcinia Cambogia
It is an unfortunate fact that dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA the same way that pharmeceutical drugs are. This means that there is no governing body regulating how much of the supposed active ingredient is put into a supplement. Many scams exist in which supposed supplements are sold without any of the active ingredient included.
So, where are we to buy our supplements in order to combat this? This can be a tricky question to answer.
One of the most important ways to protect yourself is to see if the seller guarantees their product. If they offer a refund for lack of satisfaction with the product, your risk is reduced and you can have more confidence in the product. If the seller doesn’t offer you a simple, easily understood guarantee and refund policy, do not buy your extract from them. No one should sell a product that they aren’t willing to guarantee, and you should view the lack of such a guarantee as a non-starter.
There is also a lot of discussion about making sure the ingredients are pure. Many users advocate only purchasing pure Garcinia Cambogia, without any additives or fillers. Supreme Garcinia Cambogia and Garcinia Cambogia Slim are two such products. However, many supplements out there combine different natural compounds to boost effects, so this is a matter of personal preference.
My Recommendation: Garcinia Cambogia Extra
Garcinia Cambogia Extra is an example of a garcinia extract supplement that does compound its key ingredient with an additional supplement. In this case, it combines hydroxycitric acid with Raspberry Ketone.
Garcinia Cambogia Extra claims an ingredient list of 1000mg of Cambogia Garcinia with a 65% proportion of hydroxycitric acid, backed up by 200mg of the Raspberry Ketone compound. The Raspberry Ketone is claimed to make it easier for the body to burn fat through exercise, though it is stressed that it is not a metabolism boosting compound on its own. Rather it supports the body’s natural fat burning functions.
It must also be noted that while many supplements using hydroxycitric acid recommend a 95% value of the compound, the science looking into Garcinia Cambogia’s weight loss properties do not state this as a requirement. This is one of the areas where discussion with a doctor could provide additional insight, but the short version is that you do not need to be put off from trying it for this reason.
To review what we’ve discussed, there are several key points to mention.
Garcinia Cambogia and its active compound hydroxycitric acid have a definite effect on the metabolic and digestive processes of the body. Many supplements are sold with less extensive scientific examination and less history than this fruit and its compounds have received. Anything that persists for this long has to be considered carefully.
There are potentially serious side effects. Any change in diet, exercise, and supplementation are appropriate topics to discuss with your doctor. In particular, patients with diabetes are strongly encouraged to do so.
All this being said, the most important fact is that Garcinia Cambogia does something that other supplements don’t really claim to do. Most stress that they boost metabolism as their first or only line of attack on body weight. Garcinia supplements on the other hand focus on inhibiting the body’s processing of sugars. While the potential side effects for diabetics are real, the fact is that very few medications or supplements in the weight loss category help patients deal with excess weight on this level. The Western style diet is rich in sugars and carbohydrates of all sorts.
Indeed, excess sugar consumption is major indicator of potentially developing diabetes in the first place. Excess weight is also a serious warning sign for developing diabetes at any point in someone’s life. Any chance people have to potentially head off developing this serious condition is a matter to take seriously.
The scientific review of hydroxycitric acid and its parent fruit are still ongoing. For those who are encouraged by the testimonials of other users, and the science that has been released so far, Garcinia Cambogia Extracts offer a relatively unique way to approach the matter of personal weight loss. By reducing appetite, the rate at which the body processes sugar into body fat, and by potentially boosting resting metabolism, this is a supplement anyone interested in weight loss should ask their doctor about.