I am being bombarded with e-mail from companies that are selling Garcinia cambogia. No, it’s not clothing from Vietnam. It’s a fruit, a type of tamarind, used in curries in Indian cuisine. Ever since Doctor Oz applauded its fat-burning effects on his show, demand has taken off. Let’s dig a little deeper.
The active ingredient is hydroxycitric acid. According to the April ’13 Better Nutrition, “Both animal and human studies have demonstrated unique ways in which HCA promotes loss of bodyfat.”
For one thing, HCA appears to reduce an enzyme that turns food into bodyfat. So it somewhat blocks the fat production. “Instead of being stored as fat, sugars and carbs are converted into glycogen, a fuel that’s stored in the liver and muscles and burned to generate energy.”
Of course, you have to have a glycogen deficit in your liver and muscles to store more glycogen, but even so, the higher glycogen level in your blood can reduce hunger: “It signals your body that your fuel tank is full. In addition, HCA has been shown to raise levels of serotonin, the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter.”
Studies also show that athletes taking HCA had more energy during workouts. Hmm, might be an alternative to caffeine.
HCA researcher Harry Preuss, M.D., of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., performed a study with Super Citrimax, a combo of HCA, calcium and potassium, using healthy but overweight subjects. They ate 2,000 calories daily and walked 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The HCA group lost an average of 12 pounds, while the placebo group lost only three pounds. The HCA group also experienced much better changes in high-density- and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides and serotonin.
HCA may be worth a try for fat loss and appetite control. If nothing else, you’ll have more workout energy—and that alone can get you leaner.