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   May 02

Garcinia Cambogia: Liver Side Effects, Is it Safe & Other Side Effects

This article looks at what science really says about side effects of garcinia cambogia on the liver. I will also look at research into whether garcinia cambogia is safe to use long term and what is the correct dose.

What is Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia cambogia is a fruit native to countries in Southeast Asia and India. Garcinia cambogia looks like a small pumpkin, and its rind has a sour acidic taste that is used to flavor fish curries. Garcinia cambogia is also called the Malabar tamarind, garcinia gummi-gutta, or kudam puli (pot tamarind).

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that the rind of garcinia cambogia contains a chemical called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Scientists have studied the health benefits of garcinia cambogia supplements and say that it is used for losing weight, treating rheumatism, or lowering blood sugar levels.1

According to research published in the journal Fitoterapia, extracts from garcinia cambogia have anti-obesity activity and help to suppress appetite. Also, HCA inhibits the formation of cholesterol and lipids (types of fat) in your blood.2

Does Garcinia Cambogia Work? What the Research Says

What does research say as to whether garcinia cambogia works or not? Dr. Carmen Patrick Mohan on WebMD says that some research into garcinia cambogia has shown modest results in helping to lose weight fast. Garcinia cambogia works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain and blocks enzymes that create fat in the body.3

For example, a clinical study on the effect of garcinia cambogia for weight loss found that supplementing garcinia cambogia in the diet helped decrease body weight. It also improved glucose intolerance and reduced inflammation in the body.4

Customer reviews of garcinia cambogia supplements are generally positive with many people reporting that it works for them to help losing weight. Some people also combine garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar for speedier weight loss.

Let’s look in more detail at other scientific studies into how garcinia cambogia works on the body.

Garcinia cambogia for weight loss

Garcinia cambogia became popular as a weight-loss supplement when Dr. Oz hailed the supplement as a safe way to boost weight loss and maintain a healthy weight. Can garcinia cambogia help you lose weight?

The journal Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine published a review of studies into how HCA and garcinia cambogia benefit weight loss. Researchers reported that HCA helps to lose weight, suppressed appetite, and also help to regulate and maintain healthy weight.5

Garcinia cambogia helps reduce body fat

Taking garcinia cambogia for weight loss will also help you lose body fat and visceral fat.

Research published in 2018 in the journal BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine reported that garcinia cambogia can help obese and overweight people shed excess fat from around their bellies. Patients took a dose of garcinia cambogia at 1000 mg per day and were advised to have a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly. After 3 months, the scientists observed a significant reduction in visceral fat and body fat mass.6

Can lower cholesterol

Research has shown that garcinia cambogia supplements also have a positive effect on overall levels of cholesterol in the blood.

For example, the journal Phytotherapy Research reported that HCA helps to lower cholesterol naturally. One group of women took 800 mg garcinia cambogia 3 times a day along with Amorphophallus konjac for 2 months. At the end of the trial, researchers noted that levels of LDL cholesterol were significantly lower than the group of women who took placebo.7

May help regulate blood sugar levels

People who suffer from diabetes use garcinia cambogia to help regulate glucose levels in the blood and improve the effects of insulin resistance.

According to a study published in the journal Fitoterapia, garcinia cambogia can help your body metabolize sugar easier. The research suggested that garcinia cambogia can help to lower insulin levels and also help lose weight.8

At the end of the article, you will find the answer to the question if garcinia cambogia is safe for diabetics to use.

Garcinia Cambogia: Liver Side Effects

People are concerned about possible side effects of garcinia cambogia on the liver. In 2009, the FDA advised people not to take weight-loss supplements that contain HCA because of possible side effects on the liver.

The World Journal of Gastroenterology reported on cases of people who got serious liver problems after taking supplements containing garcinia cambogia. It was reported that a number of people suffered hepatotoxicity from formulas with HCA. However, because the supplements also contained other active ingredients, it was unclear if garcinia cambogia was to blame.9

However, many studies into using garcinia cambogia for its health benefits have not found any link to liver problems.

For example, the journal Fitoterapia commented that most of the cases where issues could exist with garcinia cambogia supplements are with multi-component formulations. Garcinia cambogia hasn’t been confirmed as being toxic to the liver.2

Also, in a previous issue published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology researchers found that HCA extracts and garcinia cambogia didn’t increase toxicity in the liver. In fact, HCA helped to reduce markers of inflammation in the intestines, kidneys, and brain.10

The journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition reported that short-term use (less than 12 weeks) of humans using garcinia cambogia supplements hasn’t shown any adverse effects. Taking garcinia cambogia at safe doses usually doesn’t increase side effects in people. The report stated that only in rare cases there have been reports of toxic effect on the liver.11

Dr. Carmen Patrick Mohan (quoted earlier) said that results from research into the side effects of garcinia cambogia are mixed and inconclusive. It’s not recommended to take garcinia cambogia if you have kidney or liver problems.3

Other Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects

Some people report experiencing side effects using garcinia cambogia that are related to digestive problems or how it interacts with other medication.

Digestive upset

One garcinia cambogia side effect seems to be that it can cause digestive upset. However, this side effect of the supplement isn’t universal and doesn’t affect everyone.

According to the Journal of Obesity, garcinia cambogia can result in gastrointestinal problems. For example, some report increased bouts of diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. However, it was noted that in most trials, none of the patients reported any adverse side effects of garcinia cambogia.12

Interacts with other medication

If you regularly take medication, you should speak to your doctor about possible interactions that garcinia cambogia could have.

Dr. Carmen Patrick Mohan says that garcinia cambogia may cause adverse side effects if you are taking any of the following medication:3
• Treatment for relieving asthma symptoms or allergies

• Pills or insulin used to treat diabetes

• Cholesterol-lowering medication like statins

• Iron supplements

• Blood-thinning drugs

• Painkillers

Other side effects of garcinia cambogia

The Journal of Obesity reported that other adverse effects of garcinia cambogia may include:
• Headaches

• Skin rashes

• Toothache

• Upper respiratory infections like the common cold

Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe?

It seems that for most people, garcinia cambogia supplements are safe to take. Most of the studies into the safety of garcinia cambogia supplements were short trials and showed few, if any, side effects. Therefore, the National Institutes of Health says that garcinia cambogia is safe for most people.1

What is a safe dose for taking garcinia cambogia for weight loss? Many of the studies mentioned in this article have reported on varying dosages when using garcinia cambogia as a supplement.

The journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that taking up to 2,800 mg a day had no adverse effect on people.13 Some reports even suggest taking 5,000 mg for a 12 week period to help healthy people lose weight quickly.14

However, the website Drugs.com gives a safe recommended dose for taking garcinia cambogia. It is recommended not to take a dose of garcinia cambogia more than 1,500 mg per day.19

Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe for Diabetics?

There is some evidence that garcinia cambogia can be used to help control the symptoms of diabetes and lower insulin and blood sugar levels.

The World Journal of Gastroenterology reported that using garcinia cambogia as a weight-loss supplement also has a positive effect on blood sugar levels. Taking garcinia cambogia helped to reduce glucose intolerance and improve fasting blood glucose markers.15

However, there is a risk that garcinia cambogia may interact with diabetes medication and cause your sugar levels to drop too low. Therefore, if you have diabetes, you should always speak with your doctor before taking garcinia cambogia for weight loss or insulin control.

Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe for Heart Patients?

Taking garcinia cambogia as part of a safe weight-loss program can also help to keep your heart healthy.

Of course, losing weight, getting regular exercise, and reducing blood cholesterol levels are important for a healthy heart. Many studies have shown that garcinia cambogia can help get and maintain a healthy weight.

The journal Current Therapeutic Research said that garcinia cambogia supplementation can help to reduce belly fat and visceral fat.16 This can have implications on your heart’s health. For example, researchers from Harvard Medical School report that belly fat increases a person’s risk of heart disease, even if they are not overweight.17

There is also evidence that extracts of garcinia cambogia can also benefit your heart. For example, the journal Fresenius Environmental Bulletin reported that the cholesterol-lowering effect of HCA supplements helps to lower total cholesterol and triglyceride (blood lipids). The researchers concluded that garcinia cambogia could be used to help protect against coronary heart disease.18

Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe During Pregnancy?

Dr. Carmen Patrick Mohan says that you should not take garcinia cambogia supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.3

Read my other related article: Garcinia Cambogia and Apple Cider Vinegar Diet: What Science Says

Medical Sources
• NCCIH. Garcinia cambogia.

• Fitoterapia. 2015 Apr;102:134-48. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2015.02.012. Epub 2015 Feb 27.

• WebMD. Garcinia cambogia: Safe for weight loss?

• J Clin Diagn Res. 2015 Feb; 9(2): BF01-BF04.

• Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 751658.

• BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018; 18: 26.

• Phytother Res.2008 Sep;22(9):1135-40.

• Fitoterapia. 2003 Apr;74(3):267-73.

• World J Gastroenterol. 2016 Dec 7; 22(45): 10071-10076.

• World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Nov 28; 19(44): 8160-8162.

• Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr.2012;52(7):585-94.

• J Obes. 2011; 2011: 509038.

• Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 197920.

• J Oleo Sci. 2003;52(12): 663-671.

• World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Aug 7; 19(29): 4689-4701.

• Curr Therap Res. 2003 Sept-Oct;64(8): 551-567.

• HealtHarvard. Belly fat boosts risk of dying of heart disease.

• Fresenius Enviro Bul. 2012 Jan;21(4): 918-921.

• Drugs.com. Garcinia (hydroxycitric acid).

Source: Healthy and Natural World

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