Gracinia cambogia is the scientific name of Malabar Tamarind, a tropical plant seen commonly in India and South-east regions. In these regions the fruit of the plant is used in chutneys and curries as part of their cuisine. It was only in the late 60s did the scientist discover it’s supposedly weight-loss properties and started including them in weight-loss supplement pills and powders.

Garcinia cambogia is a component of many supplements sold online and in the markets for weight loss purpose. It is also listed as various names such as Brindal Berry, Brindle Berry, Cambogia binucao, Cambogia gemmi-guta, Garcinia affinis, Garcinia Cambogi, Garcinia cambogia, Garcinia gummi-guta, Garcinia sulcata, Gorikapuli, Kankusta, Kudam puli, Malabar Tamarind, Mangostana cambogia, Tamarinier de Malabar, Vrikshamla.

What is Garcinia Cambogia used for and what does it do health wise?

Garcinia Cambogia is believed to be used for the following:

  • weight loss
  • improve exercise performance
  • joint pain
  • treating worms and parasitic infections
  • to empty bowel
  • severe diarrhea
  • to some extent helps control Type 2 Diabetes and High Cholesterol

Garcinia Cambogia and weight loss:  How does it work?

The weight-loss property of Garcinia Cambogia is said to be attributed the presence of an active ingredient called Hydroxycitric acid or HCA which blocks the enzyme citrate lyase which plays a key role in lipid metabolism. This inhibitory action f HCA on citric lyase apparently blocks the formation of lipids or fat and therefore reduced the fat stores in the body leading to weight loss.

In addition, it is also believed to increase levels of serotonin, giving you a feeling of being satiated and hence down-regulating one’s appetite and leading to decreased food intake and subsequent loss of weight.

The research on the weight-loss property of Garcinia Cambogia has been inconclusive and not very affirmative. A review published in the Journal of Obesity that those who took Garcinia Cambogia lost 2 pounds compared to those who didn’t. But if the weight loss was merely due to the actions of Garcinia or was it also the effect of diet and exercise routine followed by the cohort under study is not clear.

Some research shows that taking Garcinia extract that contains 50% hydroxycitric acid (HCA) for 8-12 weeks doesn’t decrease fat breakdown or energy expenditure in overweight people. However, other research suggests that it might improve weight loss when taken for 12 weeks. Taking a specific Garcinia product containing 60% HCA in three doses daily 30 to 60 minutes before meals for 8 weeks, together with a healthy diet, seems to improve weight loss more than just diet alone. But other research shows that adding this specific Garcinia product to cereal bars or tomato juice and consuming them before lunch and dinner for 2 weeks does not improve weight loss.

The research on people suggests it probably does not help people to lose weight or if it does, the effect is very small. It is certainly not a breakthrough, as some of the advertisements might say.

Garcinia Cambogia and its effect in Type 2 Diabetes and High Cholesterol

Garcinia Cambogia decreased the levels of bad cholesterol in blood called LDL( Low-Density lipoproteins) which are responsible for the occurrence of atherosclerosis and other cholesterol-related conditions. Gracinia also improved the good cholesterol levels that is the HDL ( High Density Lipoproteins) and maintains the cholesterol levels. But these reports haven’t been backed by enough scientific evidence.

Side effects of Garcinia Cambogia

Like all pills, these supplemental weight loss pills also come with a list of side effects which include:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • stomach ache
  • diarrhea

It is not advisable to take Garcinia along with cholesterol medications, diabetic medications or insulin, psychiatric medications and pain medications.

Not to be taken by pregnant or nursing women.

Is Garcinia Cambogia safe ?

In 2009, the FDA issued a safety warning after receiving more than 20 reports of severe reactions, including liver damage, in people taking the supplement Hydroxycut.

case study published in 2016 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology by Keri E. Lunsford, et al., examined an instance where Garcinia cambogia caused hepatic failure resulting in the need of a liver transplant. The patient had taken the supplement for several months before his liver had failed. Although the exact mechanism of how Garcinia brings about liver damage is unclear, its usage has been linked to liver issues.

In 2017, FDA warned against the usage of garcinia Cambogia following reports of this supplement having led to severe liver complications.


Before you take up any of these weight-loss supplements, asking your physician’s opinion on it is the wise thing to do for, some of the ingredients in these might be allergic or may interact with your existing medications or medical conditions.

Garcinia Cambogia has a lot of mixed reviews and isn’t exactly as effective as the manufacturers claim it to be. One shouldn’t be merely dependent on these supplements for their weight loss and must take up a proper workout routine and diet regimen for noticeable changes.

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