Otherwise known as the Brindle berry or tamarind fruit, Garcinia Cambogia is a pumpkin-shaped fruit about the size of an orange that is native to South East Asia. Used as a spice for hundreds of years, the rind of the fruit contains an acid known as Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA). One of the actions observed from HCA is it’s ability to inhibit the action of an enzyme known as ATP-Citrate-Lyase. ATP-Citrate-Lyase is an enzyme involved in the kreb cycle, which accelerates the conversion of excess dietary carbohydrates into body fat and cholesterol. By inhibiting this enzyme, not only can HCA help to prevent the conversion of carbohydrates to fats, it also increases the amount of glucose available, which sends a signal to the brain to reduce appetite.
In 1996, the results from a study were presented to the seventh formal meeting of the representatives from the European Association for the study on Obestiy (EASO). The study carried out was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study which involved 60 patients for a period of 8 weeks. All the patients were on a low fat diet, exercised and received either 1,320 mg. of hydroxycitric acid or a placebo (in three equally divided doses per day). Results for the Hydroxycitric acid group showed an average weight reduction of 14 lbs., as compared to the placebo-controlled group which has lost an average of 8 lbs. Not only did the HCA group reduce significantly more body weight, but other beneficial results were observed which included a reduction in blood pressure and total cholesterol. Furthermore, when it came to the Appetite Score Survey taken, the appetite score for the HCA group was significantly reduced, but not for the placebo group.
Although the average content of HCA in the rind of the fruit usually varies between 10-30 percent, it should be noted that in order to more efficiently deliver around the same level of HCA used in studies, such as the one mentioned above, most Garcinia Cambogia supplements are standardized to contain around 50% HCA. Blood levels of HCA tend to peak about two hours after its oral ingestion and HCA remains active in the body for four to nine hours after its oral ingestion. Results from other studies have have shown that using HCA for the purpose of weight loss in persons afflicted with Obesity have been obtained by administering 250 mg of HCA around 30 – 60 minutes prior to meals three times per day (a total of 750 mg of HCA per day). HCA seems to be much more effective when administered three times per day than when only taken once per day.
Jena, B. S., et al. Chemistry and biochemistry of (-)-hydroxycitric acid from Garcinia. J. Agric Food Chem. 50(1):10-22, 2002.
Thom, E. Hydroxycitrate (HCA) in the treatment of obesity. Seventh European Congress on Obesity. Poster No. 08-193-WP1. 14 – 17 May 1996.
Holford, P., (1999) The Optimum Nutrition Bible, Crossing Press Inc.,Freedom CA p.190