When people talk about supplementing with garcinia cambogia, they are really talking about hydroxycitric acid. Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is an extract of garcinia cambogia (also known as the Malabar tamarind), a small, sweet, tropical fruit shaped like a pumpkin.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
HCA blocks an enzyme called citrate lyase, which helps turn sugars and starches into fat.
Citrate lyase is an enzyme that facilitates the formation of acetyl-CoA. Acetyl-CoA is a vital building block for the creation of fat and cholesterol (1).
By blocking that enzyme, carbohydrates are diverted into energy production rather than accumulating as body fat.
There are multiple benefits from this result: First, less new fat is created, making it easier to burn off existing fat. Second, because there is more fuel available for your body to burn, your appetite may be reduced.
This may not be the only way HCA reduces appetite. Inhibition of ATP-Citrate lyase results in an increase of cytosolic citrate. Cystolic citrate stimulates gluconeogenesis, contributing to satiety. Thus, HCA appears to affect satiety at the metabolic level and not directly at the central nervous system as typical appetite depressants do.
HOW TO TAKE IT
“You have to take the right dose of the right product, and you have to take it properly” – Dr. Harry Preuss
Take on an empty stomach, 30-60 minutes before each meal. This takes advantage of the appetite-curbing effect but, more importantly, increases bio-availability.
Maximizing bio-availabilty is crucial to the success of HCA.
HCA’s mechanism of action has been verified in laboratory settings, and human studies have confirmed the expected results:
30 overweight subjects over an 8-week period we’re split into two groups: one taking HCA and one taking placebo. (2) Each subject consumer 2,000 calories per day and walked for 30min five days a week. At the end of the study, subjects taking HCA lost an average of 12lbs, compared to only 3lbs in the placebo group. In a similar study of 60 people, the HCA group lost an average of 10.5lbs compared to 3.5lbs in the placebo group. (3)
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 44 subjects with a visceral fat area greater than 90cm^2 found that after 12 weeks the group using HCA (1000mg per day) had significantly reduced visceral, subcutaneous, and total fat areas compared with the placebo group. (4)
1. Chypre, M., Zaidi, N., & Smans, K. (2012). ATP-citrate lyase: a mini-review. Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 422(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.04.144
2. Preuss, H.G., et. al. (2004). Efficacy of a novel, natural extract of hydroxycitric acid… Nutrition Research. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531703002215
3. Preuss, H. G., Bagchi, D., Bagchi, M., Rao, C. V., Dey, D. K., & Satyanarayana, S. (2004). Effects of a natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX plus niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract on weight loss. Diabetes, obesity & metabolism, 6(3), 171–180. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1462-8902.2004.00328.x
4. Hayamizu, K., et. al. (n.d.). Effects of garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric acid) on visceral fat accumulation. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4053034/