Quick Summary Points
- Garcinia Cambogia is a tropical species of the family Garcinia, a group of evergreen plants and shrubs
- Packed full of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), Garcinia cambogia has been used traditionally for centuries to assist in increasing satiety
- Commonly found in weight management supplements to promote fat burning & inhibit fat synthesis
- Garcinia Cambogia have no proposed side effects associated with doses of up to 5g/kg body weight
What is Garcinia cambogia?
Garcinia Cambogia is one of the most tried and true fat burners available. It produces a yellow fruit that is similar in shape to a pumpkin, but about the size of an orange or grapefruit. The colour can vary considerably from a greeny yellow to an orangey yellow, and it becomes black when dried and stored. As nature’s richest source of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), Garcinia cambogia has traditionally been used for centuries as a condiment in Southeast Asia to make food more filling and satisfying.
Where Does Garcinia cambogia Come From?
Garcinia Cambogia belongs to a tropical species of the family Garcinia, a group of evergreen plants and shrubs. Garcinia cambogia is found in South East Asia, India, and some areas of West and Central Africa. It grows only in forests with a high moisture level, but is quite widely distributed. It is generally used as a flavour enhancer in culinary dishes, to increase sourness or counteract sweet flavours in curry. It is also used in coastal areas to cure fish, making use of its antibacterial properties.
Garcinia cambogia Health Benefits
Traditionally, Garcinia cambogia has been used to add flavour to savoury dishes and been used to enhance satiety after consumption. There has also been evidence to suggest that the fruit was traditionally used to treat gastrointestinal issues. Interestingly the seeds of the garcinia cambogia plant have quite a high iron content, a mineral that is extremely useful for women, but also for trainers who participate in a lot of running due to the phenomenon known as ‘footstrike hemolysis’, whereby constant foot impact can result in loss of red blood cells and therefore iron. Moreover, a significant number of studies have shown that extracts of Garcinia cambogia high in HCA effectively promote fat burning and inhibit fat synthesis, making it an essential supplement for effective weight management. It suggests that HCA promotes weight loss by increasing the release of serotonin.
Garcinia cambogia Benefits for Athletes
Garcinia cambogia synergises effectively with other popular fat burning nutrients like l-carnitine and Gymnema sylvestre; with several studies showing this combination to be effective for fat loss.
Most of the benefits for Garcinia has been attributed to its potential as a fat loss ingredient. Garcinia cambogia is often included in weight loss products such as fat burners. This is due to its ability to reduce fat synthesis and storage from non-fatty foods, although many of the studies were performed in rodents, which have different fat storage mechanisms to humans. It does however attenuate the rate of weight gain in general as well as regain after a diet. While the effects aren’t huge, average weight loss from use of Garcinia cambogia is 1.3kg more than placebo – which for some people can be a good push towards achieving further weight loss.
Garcinia cambogia has also been studied to have mild diuretic effects, however this is only when the leaves of the plant are eaten. Hydroxycitric acid, the key active component of garcinia cambogia may also be able to support better glycogen resynthesis when supplemented alongside carbohydrates in a post-training state.
Garcinia cambogia Side Effects, Safety and Negatives
Few studies have been conducted on the safety and side effects of Garcinia cambogia or hydroxycitric acid supplementation. In general there are no side effects or mortality associated with doses of Garcinia cambogia up to 5g/kg of body weight.
Garcinia cambogia Recommended Doses and Ingredient Timing
There are no conclusive recommendations on the dosage of Garcinia to support its positive effects. Generally however, most studies have utilised a 500mg dose of Garcinia cambogia to be taken 30 minutes to an hour before eating a main meal, and can be taken at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Garcinia cambogia Supplements
Throughout the years, Garcinia cambogia has been an extensively studied ingredient that have been popular in the supplement and weight loss industry. Studies have proved that the high HCA content to cut down the extra fat. Garcinia can either be taken as a standalone supplement or taken with a combination of ingredients in certain fat burners like Body War Body Shred.
Stacking Garcinia cambogia
Garcinia cambogia would be best stacked with other weight loss products, either with or without a Garcinia cambogia component, to enhance the effects, such as fat loss proteins and even pre-workouts and intra-workouts. You can also easily stack Garcinia with any other supplement really such as regular protein powders or creatine.
Márquez F, et al. Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of hydroxycitric acid or Garcinia cambogia extracts in humans. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. (2012)
Telford RD, Sly GJ, Hahn AG, Cunningham RB, Bryant C, Smith JA (January 2003). "Footstrike is the major cause of hemolysis during running". J. Appl. Physiol.94 (1): 38–42.
Heymsfield SB, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. (1998)
Mathew GE, et al. Diuretic activity of leaves of garcinia cambogia in rats. Indian J Pharm Sci. (2011)
Cheng IS, et al. Oral hydroxycitrate supplementation enhances glycogen synthesis in exercised human skeletal muscle. Br J Nutr. (2012)