Garcinia Cambogia is a small pumpkin-like fruit from an evergreen tree native to southeast Asia and India. The rind of this fruit is rich in hydroxy citric acid (HCA) which has been associated with promoting weight loss, suppressing appetite, and increasing energy levels. HCA is not a stimulant or appetite-supressing drug. Such drugs can contain powerful chemicals that act directly on the brain and turn off appetite – but with risks of severe side effects. Instead HCA, found by researchers to be non-toxic, acts indirectly. It both satifies the body’s demands for energy and causes the liver to signal to the brain when enough food has been taken.
As well as decreasing appetite, HCA discourages the fat storage and encourages calorie burning. The result is more energy and less bulk, and while HCA accelerates the breakdown and dispersal of fat already laid down, it also reduces excess cholesterol. It is reported that HCA works best combined with chromium, an essential mineral which helps the body to control its blood sugar effectively – cutting sweet cravings. Often we lack chromium as we get older.
A Japanese study on laboratory animals indicated that use of HCA during exercise sessions can promote fat burning. HCA reduces blood lipid levels and blood cholesterol. HCA works by inhibiting an enzyme called citrate lyase, which is responsible for turning excess carbohydrates into fat. Once this enzyme is inhibited, carbohydrate oxidation is boosted. The metabolism of carbohydrates is diverted towards production of glycogen in the liver. When HCA builds up in your system, you can easily maintain your ideal weight.
Garcinia cambogia extract (HCA) claims to suppress appetite and improve fat burning. Several studies have shown that it does aid weight loss; however there are other studies that are less conclusive.
A study at Georgetown University in Washington found that after 8 weeks of taking the garcinia extract, there was a 5.4% reduction in body weight and body mass index, and a significant reduction in low density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides with an associated rise in high density lipoproteins (HDL). This is good news for those suffering from high cholesterol levels, since the LDL lipoproteins are those that carry cholesterol to the major blood vessels, and which when oxidized by free radicals deposit fatty plaques on the artery walls. These plaques constrict the arteries and the resultant atherosclerosis can lead to cardiac problems and strokes. HDL lipoproteins carry cholesterol back to the liver for destruction, and is known popularly as ‘good cholesterol?.
The studies also indicated modifications to certain indicators of the status of fat deposits in the body and of appetite modifiers in the brain. In this respect they found 38% decreases in serum leptin and increases in serotonin levels of 44%, and the excretion of fat metabolites in the urine increased from between 32% and 104%.
These are significant findings, and further research has indicated that HCA helps to suppress appetite. Serum leptin is an indicator of the level of fat stores in the body, and as the leptin levels in the blood reduces, the hypothalamus is given an instruction to increase the appetite so as to increase the fat levels again. However, it is believed that HCA possesses leptin-like properties, and this signal is either not generated or is modulated.
The increase in serotonin has the same effect. It is known that serotonin controls the appetite, although the exact mechanism has not yet been established. What is known is that serotonin activates certain neurons and melanocortin-4 receptors (MC4R) in the brain, that not only curb appetite but also block the effect of other neurons that would normally increase appetite by blocking the effect of MC4Rs. However, the claim that HCA promotes weight loss isn’t without controversy. A 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association failed to show HCA supplementation has any positive weight loss effects. Those critical of this study however point out the low-carb, high-fiber diet the participants were on inhibited the absorption of HCA and therefore its weight loss properties were diminished. Some researches suggest the benefits of HCA may best be realized after dieters have lost some weight and no longer follow a carbohydrate restricted diet. In such cases HCA may help prevent weight re-gain because of its ability to inhibit the conversion of carbohydrates into fat.
You have to be very organised about taking HCA regularly, half an hour to an hour before food, with a glass of water. This means that you have to know in advance approximately when you’re going to eat. It is recommended to consult your doctor before using Garcinia Cambogia HCA or any other slimming supplement.