Nancy Rahnama, MD
If you’ve heard of Garcinia Cambogia, you probably know that it’s a popular ingredient in weight loss supplements. How does it help? Is it safe for everyone to use? Are there any advantages to taking it other than weight loss? And, most importantly–is it right for you?
Garcinia Cambodia is an herbal supplement that has been used for the treatment of obesity for over a decade. The plant is native to Indonesia, and also grows in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and India. Its fruit is a common ingredient in Southern Asian cuisines, used in similar ways to the tamarind. The rind of Garcinia Cambogia fruit contains hydroxyl citric acid, or HCA, and that’s the substance in which the medical community has taken the most interest. The HCA, is extracted from the rind of the fruit and is considered the main ingredient that helps with appetite suppression and reducing body fat.
Garcinia Cambogia became known as a fat loss catalyst in the 1970’s, when a study in rats found correlations between HCA and reductions in both weight gain and food intake. In the time since then, further investigation has revealed many other ways this “super-herb” supports weight loss.
How Does it Help?
Studies show that the ingredient increases the delivery of serotonin in the brain, decreasing appetite and cravings. By increasing serotonin levels, HCA decreases appetite and curbs food cravings – and potentially lifts moods, as well. Garcinia Cambogia seems to inhibit an enzyme that slows down the metabolism, thereby raising the rate at which calories are burned. Recent studies indicate that the supplement also improves blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, and increases exercise endurance.
Is it Safe?
When given in supplement dosages, side effects from Garcinia Cambogia are very rare. When taken in larger doses, side effects can include rash, headache or abdominal symptoms. As with any supplement, Garcinia Cambogia should be discontinued if it does not show results, even if there are no side effects. Not every supplement is right for each person.
What’s the bottom line? When taken with a healthy diet and exercise regimen, Garcinia supplementation can help facilitate the weight loss process by decreasing cravings and appetite, improving fat metabolism thereby facilitating the weight loss process.
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