Obesity and excess weight have become widespread both in the US and worldwide. At the same time, the quest for a “perfect” body clashes with, on one hand, the limits of human physiology and on the other – modern day lifestyles, longer working hours and an increased tendency towards sedentary behaviors. Could a superfood reverse this problem?

Originating in Southern India, Garcinia cambogia is a unique plant that has up until now largely been ignored. However, recent discoveries have led experts to identify significant anti-obesity properties in this plant. In this article we discuss everything you need to know about Garcinia cambogia.

Key Facts

  • Garcinia cambogia is the scientific name for the Malabar tamarind, a tree that produces a fruit whose peel has weight-loss properties.
  • Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is the main active ingredient found in Garcinia cambogia.
  • HCA has a satiating quality and prevents the formation of fat from unused carbohydrates after meals.

Ranking: The best Garcinia cambogia supplements on the US market

There are a range of available Garcinia cambogia supplements. However, most do not contain a high enough concentration of active ingredients. We have analyzed a series of products to present you with the best Garcinia cambogia supplement options on the US market:

No. 1: GO Healthy Garcinia Slim Gold (120 capsules)

GO Healthy is a Kiwi brand that manufactures some of the very best supplements in the industry, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their Garcinia Slim Gold is Amazon’s Choice in the category. Manufactured in New Zealand, these capsules are powerful appetite suppressants, each unit offering the recommended amount of 60% of hydroxycitric acid (HCA).

Free from GMO and gluten, this product has been approved by the FDA and is made in a GMP-certified facility, a great proof of quality. GO Healthy recommends taking between one and three capsules a day with your main meals. Past customers have praised Slim Gold, many reporting that they had begun to feel less appetite within days of using it. Approximate price per capsule: $0.33.

No. 2: Grenera Garcinia Cambogia (90 capsules)

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Grenera Organics is an Indian brand who is bringing back traditional herbs and plants into modern nutrition. This is just what they’ve done with this Garcinia cambogia product, with each pack offering 90 capsules. They are free of GMO and gluten, and completely suitable for individuals following vegan or vegetarian diets. Approximate price per capsule: $0.33.

The manufacturer recommends taking two capsules in the morning for the most effective use possible. With 60% of hydroxycitric acid per unit, this supplement will cut back your appetite and boost your burning of fat. Past users have described an increase in energy and overall feeling of well-being after using Grenera’s Garcinia cambogia capsules.

No. 3: SVATV Organic Garcinia Cambogia (powder, 227 grams)

England-based company SVATV bases the production of its supplements on Ayurveda, the Indian traditional system of medicine. Produced in an FDA-registered facility, this Garcinia cambogia product is certified organic by various relevant institutions, including the National Organic Program of the US Department of Agriculture.

It is a little different from the other supplements present in our ranking, as this is pure Garcinia cambogia extract powder. The advantage of this format is that you can truly adapt your intake to your very needs. That being said, SVATV recommends a maximum intake of half a teaspoon twice daily, unless specified otherwise by your health professional.

No. 4: Swisse Garcinia Cambogia (60 capsules)

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Melbourne-based company Swisse specialises in vitamins and supplements tailored for our overall well-being, and their Healthy Plan line includes these high quality capsules of Garcinia cambogia. Each capsule offers a total of 60% of hydroxycitric acid, the active ingredient responsible for the slimming and satiating effect of the plant.

Swisse recommends combining two units a day with a healthy and active lifestyle for optimal results. According to the manufacturer, this product is vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Note that these capsules can be opened, facilitating intake by adding it to food or drinks. Approximate price per capsule: $0.52.

No. 5: Evlution Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia (60 capsules)

Evlution Nutrition is a company that focuses on providing high quality nutritional supplements to fitness enthusiasts and professionals alike. Their Garcinia cambogia product is vegetarian-friendly, as well as free of gluten and GMO.

Each of the 60 capsules includes 60% of HCA, as well as added calcium and chromium. Evlution Nutrition recommends taking one to three units per day, preferably before or immediately after training sessions. Approximate price per capsule: $0.33.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about Garcinia cambogia

The fruit of the exotic Garcinia cambogia plant has been an important component of Indian cuisine since time immemorial. The fruit’s extract decreases appetite and combats the accumulation of fat, which is why Garcinia cambogia is now considered an important tool for promoting weight loss.

Make sure you understand the composition of your Garcinia cambogia supplement if you suffer from any type of food intolerance.
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What is Garcinia cambogia?

Also known as Garcinia gummi-gutta or Malabar tamarind, Garcinia cambogia is a tree native to Southeast Asia.  In India, its peel is used as a condiment and as a remedy to treat a variety of health conditions.  The peel and pulp of Garcinia cambogia fruit contain hydroxycitric acid (HCA) and anthocyanins, compounds with slimming, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiparasitic properties.

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The fruits have a very bitter taste due to their high concentration of acids, which is why they are not usually consumed raw.

What are the active ingredients of Garcinia cambogia?

The peel – and, to a lesser extent, the pulp – of this plant contain up to 30% active ingredients. Hydroxycitric acid (HDA) and anthocyanins are the main active ingredients of Garcinia cambogia.  HDA serves as a biological switch for the enzyme that creates fats from carbohydrates.

The Garcinia cambogia plant is an important tool for weight control.
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Anthocyanins are a series of vegetable pigments or flavonoids found in the peel of bright-coloured fruits (red, blue or purple).  Anthocyanins have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.  This powerful cocktail of ingredients makes Garcinia cambogia a tremendously useful health supplement for athletes, healthy eaters and anyone interested in weight management solutions. The following table details the properties of both of these ingredients:

HCA Anthocyanins
Appetite suppressant Retinal antioxidant (protection of normal vision)
Anti-obesity Cardiac antioxidant
Hypolipidemic agent (decreasing blood fat levels) Hypolipidemic agent (decreasing blood fat levels)
Anti-diabetic Cutaneous antioxidant (anti-ageing)
Anti-inflammatory Antiviral
Anti-cancer (under investigation) Anti-cancer (under investigation)
Anti-ulcerous Hemostatic (bleeding control)
Diuretic Hypotensive (blood pressure control)

How do Garcinia cambogia supplements work?

Most Garcinia cambogia supplements come from the bark extract. These products offer high levels of HCA, the main slimming ingredient. We’ve listed the main effects of this compound below:

  • Serotonin increase: Trials performed on rats have shown that administering Garcinia cambogia extract could increase serotonin levels – a neurotransmitter in charge of regulating among other things, mood and appetite.
  • Leptin-like activity: Adipocytes – or fat cells – synthesize the hormone called leptin, a substance that inhibits appetite and increases metabolic activity. Certain studies have reported that HCA acted in a similar way to leptin, providing a feeling of satiety.
  • Anti-obesity activity: On top of decreasing appetite, HCA can block the enzyme called ATP-citrate lyase, a body system that contributes to the formation of new adipose tissue. And so, this process helps limit the creation of new fats will burning stored fats in the body.
  • Improvement of lipid profile:  some studies show that giving high doses of Garcinia cambogia extract to obese women could decrease triglyceride and cholesterol levels – fats that store unused calories – after merely two months of treatment.
  • Decrease in insulin levels: Insulin enables cells to use nutrients, transforming them into energy – or fat. High insulin levels will cause hypertension and accelerated atherosclerosis. HCA contributes to regulating the levels of this hormone.
  • Hepatoprotective activity: Lab studies have demonstrated that Garcinia cambogia prevents fat deposit in the liver, which could reduce the risk of fatty liver disease.
  • Anti-ulcer activity: Some studies show that Garcinia cambogia extract, when given to rats could decrease the production of hydrochloric acid – the main component of gastric juices, leading to a reduction in the formation of stomach ulcers of up to 80%.
  • Neuromuscular and cerebral protection: Researchers have observed that HCA could prevent the destruction of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholin which is vital for our memory and coordination.
  • Antimicrobial activity:  Garcinia cambogia extract could inhibit the growth of several pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium responsible for the vast majority of skin infections.
  • Diuretic effect: HCA has a diuretic effect, contributing to the elimination of liquids and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium.

The synergistic effects discussed above could contribute to healthy weight loss . Noting the highly promising results of Garcinia cambogia, some experts have titled this plant the “Holy Grail of weight loss”.

Take this supplement three times a day for about eight weeks for its effects to begin to show.
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Who can benefit from Garcinia cambogia supplements?

Garcinia cambogia’s properties enable scientists to design an optimal supplement for weight loss. People looking to lose weight may benefit from using this supplement, particularly if they belong to one of the following groups:

  • Healthy individuals suffering from excess weight: Weight loss diets can stress the body. Please discuss your situation and goals with a health specialist prior to starting a regime.
  • Individuals looking to control their appetite: Garcinia cambogia has a strong satiating effect. It is a powerful option for people who overeat since it controls that urge directly.
  • Individuals starting a new diet: A poorly planned diet can impede healthy weight loss goals.  It is therefore important to contact a health professional and to choose the best health supplements and regimen for this program. HCA will prevent extra calories from being stored in the form of body fat.
  • Individuals looking to lead a more active life: Since HCA prevents the transformation of unused carbohydrates into fat, the body will use these extra carbs to create glycogen. Glycogen is a key energy source for muscles.
  • Premenopausal or menopausal women looking to lose weight: During the climacteric or menopause, the body produces a hormonal readjustment that may contribute to weight gain in some women. Garcinia cambogia could be beneficial for these women, by impedeing an increase in body fat mass.

Garcinia cambogia is particularly useful for those who have gained abdominal fat, also known as visceral fat. This fat covers the internal organs – the heart, liver and kidneys, to name a few – and is the main cause of cardiovascular risk, especially in older individuals.

How should I take my Garcinia cambogia supplements?

Garcinia cambogia supplements are available in several forms – tablets, powder or liquid. Make sure to follow the general advice and recommendations listed below for the duration of your supplementation:

  • Dosage and concentration: The latest studies indicate a slimming effect when using doses of 500 to 1,000 milligrams (mg) of HCA spread over three daily intakes. This is why you must pay attention to the HCA concentration found in your Garcinia cambogia supplement. We’ll give you some examples in the table below.
  • Mode of use: You are advised to take the supplement two to three times a day (regardless of the dosage form), between ten and thirty minutes before your main meals. This is how the anti-obesity properties of HCA can prevent unused carbohydrates from being turned into body fat after you eat.
  • Healthy diet: Garcinia cambogia supplements decrease body weight when used alongside healthy eating habits.
Example Amount of Garcinia per daily dose (mg) % of HCA Total amount of HCA per day (mg) Does it offer an adequate concentration?
Supplement A 1,000 60 600 Yes
Supplement B 1,500 25 375 Insufficient
Supplement C 600 95 570 Yes
Supplement D 1,500 80 1,200 Possibly excessive

How long will it take for my Garcinia cambogia supplement to take effect?

You should begin noticing the results of Garcinia cambogia supplements one month after beginning their use.  Some users have noted weight loss due to reduced fluid retention, which is provoked by the diuretic effect of hydroxycitric acid.

However, the real slimming effects of HCA are notable after three months of use. Some studies show a decrease in body fat mass of up to 12% after six months of use.

You should see the outcome of Garcinia cambogia supplements after one month of use, beginning with a reduction in apetitie levels.
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Studies have shown no rebound effect when users stopped taking the supplement  after six months.

Are Garcinia cambogia supplements really effective?

After the properties of Garcinia cambogia began to emerge, its popularity grew dramatically.  Nevertheless, Garcinia cambogia has strict limitations, contraindications and precautions that need to be followed.

Garcinia cambogia supplements are only effective when the doses and a healthy diet are adhered to. If your intake is lower than the recommended amount, or if you frequently skip taking the supplement, you will not benefit from its slimming effects.

What precautions should I note while supplementing?

Although Garcinia cambogia supplements are considered safe when guidelines are adhered to, there have been rare reports of cases involving serious adverse effects. Please check with your physician before supplementing with HCA if you belong to any of the groups listed below:

  • Individuals on antidepressant drugs: Many antidepressant medications act by increasing serotonin levels. Since Garcinia cambogia can also raise the levels of this neurotransmitter, you may experience side effects from excessive serotonin increase. These can include anxiety, chills and muscle stiffness.
  • Individuals taking medicines metabolised in the liver: There have been reports of very rare cases of fulminant liver failure secondary to taking HCA supplements. These individuals were taking several treatments that could potentially affect the liver, such as antibiotics, contraceptives or treatment with thyroid hormone.
  • Individuals who abuse alcohol or other toxic substances: Alcohol and drugs can harm the liver.  Taking these substances alongside Garcinia cambogia can create a variety of liver complications.
  • Children and teenagers under the age of 18: This supplement has never been tested on children. It is strongly recommended to avoid giving this supplement to children under eighteen years of age.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women: There isn’t sufficient scientific evidence to corroborate that this supplement is safe during pregnancy or lactation. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid consuming Garcinia cambogia.
  • Couples trying to conceive: Certain trials on animals have demonstrated that Garcinia cambogia reduces sperm count.
  • Individuals taking diabetes treatment (insulin or oral anti-diabetics): HCA has an anti-diabetic effect, increasing our sensitivity to insulin. Its use in combination with insulin or medications such as metformin should be carefully monitored to avoid a dangerous reduction in blood sugar levels.
  • Individuals taking other slimming or cholesterol-controlling medications: The effects induced by the association of drugs such as Orlistat or statins with Garcinia cambogia are not yet known. The combined effects of these substances may be harmful to health.
  • Individuals suffering from migraines: People who have regular migraines may experience severe headaches triggered by the use of HCA supplements. Discuss with your physician prior to use.

Garcinia cambogia may provoke serious side effects when taken simultaneously with other treatments.
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What symptoms indicate that I should stop taking Garcinia cambogia?

Garcinia cambogia may cause mild intestinal discomfort and headache after the first few doses. These effects are harmless and should disappear after a few weeks of consumption. Still, with any of the following severe symptoms cease treatment immediately:

  • Yellowing of the skin or mucous membranes
  • Sudden weight gain (more than ten kilos in two or three days)
  • Leg swelling or increased abdominal volume
  • Appearance of haematomae or bleeding after small traumas
  • Choking feeling
  • General reddening of the skin
  • Pruritus (itching) all over the body
  • Swelling of the lips, eyelids or tongue

Any of the symptoms mentioned above indicate the occurrence of liver failure or a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). If you experience them, stop taking the supplements and seek medical attention immediately. Additionally,  take the Garcinia cambogia supplement with you to show medical professionals.

Despite all this, it is important to note that the negative cases that have been discussed are very rare. The majority of individuals who have taken followed the correct guidelines with Garcinia cambogia were very pleased with the outcome and did not notice any negative effects from the treatment.

Are Garcinia cambogia or L-carnitine supplements more effective?

An array of products are available to boost weight loss. Fitness and nutrition enthusiasts also especially appreciate L-carnitine, a supplement that helps with weight loss. However is it better than Garcinia cambogia?

The characteristics of each individual will strongly shape the effectiveness of both L-carnitine and Garcinia cambogia. We present the main differences of the two supplements in the table below.

Supplement and active ingredient Mechanism of action Slimming effect after 12 weeks Side effects
Garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric acid, HCA) Inhibition of new fat synthesis. Reduced appetite. Reduction of up to 16% of body weight. Intestinal discomfort, nausea and headache. May exceptionally provoke fulminant hepatic failure (possible interaction with other medication).
L-carnitine (levocarnitine) Transport of lipids to the mitochondria. Reduction of up to 5 kilos of weight (if accompanied by physical exercise). Nausea and stomach pain.

HCA has an appetite suppressant effect and inhibits the synthesis of new fats. The increase in glycogen synthesis it provokes also leads to a small energy boost. This is especially useful for weight management among people who need to combat overeating.

L-carnitine, on the other hand, will only act when a stimulus (physical exercise) allows the mobilisation of fats to produce energy. Individuals starting a new fitness routine will therefore benefit to a higher level from the use of this supplement.

What is the average price of Garcinia cambogia supplements?

Garcinia cambogia supplements cost between $20- $40 dollars depending on the product brand and size. We encourage you to confirm and cross-check the product size.

Shopping Criteria

Garcinia cambogia supplements have grown in popularity. With such a high amount of product offerings, finding a the best product can be hard. We’ve compiled the following  criteria to help you identify the key aspects that should guide your choice:

  • Allergens and intolerances
  • Vegan and vegetarian nutrition
  • HCA concentration
  • Dosage form
  • Other ingredients
  • Value for money

Allergens and intolerances

There have been reports of allergic reactions to HCA, the most abundant active ingredient found in Garcinia cambogia supplements. These allergies may cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort.  If you experience these symptoms, stop treatment and consult a doctor immediately.

These supplements may also contain other allergens in the form of excipients (such as magnesium stearate) or be manufactured in laboratories using gluten, nuts, or soybeans. Individuals suffering from any type of food intolerance should stick to brands that guarantee that their products are free of allergens.

Carefully check the composition of your Garcinia cambogia supplement if you suffer from any type of food intolerance.
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Vegan and vegetarian nutrition

Garcinia cambogia is an ingredient of plant origin. Capsules or products derived from the supplement can include animal products. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, we encourage you to verify your supplements ingredients.

HCA concentration

The highest quality Garcinia cambogia supplements will offer a hydroxycitric acid (HCA) concentration of at least 50%. We suggest you check the HCA percentage found in the product you are examining.

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Did you know that the bark of the Garcinia cambogia fruit has to go through an aggressive dehydration process at 600°C, followed by a crystallisation and precipitation process to create the powder used in nutritional supplements?

Dosage form

Garcinia cambogia supplements are available in various dosage forms. These formats can suit the specific needs of each individual with the very same degree of effectiveness. We’ve detailed the main dosage forms currently on the market in the list below:

  • Tablets: These Garcinia cambogia supplements can easily be taken three times daily, simplifying the intake. Note that certain people may have difficulties swallowing the capsules.
  • Powder: You can also buy Garcinia cambogia supplements in the form of a suspended powder, which you will need to dissolve in liquid (preferably water) and drink. For instance, certain manufacturers use individual sachets with a predetermined dose that simplifies the mixing process.
  • Liquid: Some users have an aversion to taking tablets and do not want to mix powder supplements. These individuals can purchase Garcinia cambogia extract in liquid form. Please remember that this form often leads to overdosage, so take care when consuming in this manner.

Other ingredients

It is very common to see Garcinia cambogia combined with other substances that promote weight loss in supplements. In the table below, we’ve summed up the actions and side effects of the products most often associated with Garcinia cambogia. This will help you pick the most appropriate combination for your needs:

Active ingredient Beneficial effects Side effects
Caffeine Antioxidant, diuretic, ergogenic (performance enhancement), stimulant, satiating and thermogenic effect (increased destruction of fat to generate heat). Nervousness, hypertension, headache, gastric discomfort, irritability and increased voiding frequency (constant need to go to the bathroom).
Green tea (theine) Antioxidant, diuretic, ergogenic, stimulant, satiating and thermogenic effect. Nervousness, headache, stomach discomfort and increased voiding frequency.
Glucomannan (fibre) Appetite suppressant, improved glycemic control and improved intestinal transit. Reduced assimilation of nutrients and intestinal obstruction (rare).
L-carnitine Increased sports performance, thermogenic and ergogenic effect. Nausea, abdominal swelling and intestinal discomfort.
Flavonoids or anthocyanins (plant extracts of Garcinia or other plants) Antioxidant, blood pressure control, anti-ageing effect. Nausea (rare) and intestinal discomfort (rare).

Value for money

Choose supplements that contain a minimum of ninety capsules (or the equivalent amount in powder or liquid form). You will need to consume this supplement three times a day over two months to see an effect. Products that offer low amounts of Garcinia cambogia can end up costing more over time.

Summary

Garcinia cambogia provides a ground breaking solution for weight loss. Its medicinal properties have antioxidant, satiating and slimming effects.  Although HCA can’t solve all your health goals, it can help you lower cravings. Be patient with your Garcinia cambogia supplements, follow a healthy lifestyle eating and exercise regimen and you will reach your optimal weight goals in no time.

If you enjoyed reading this guide about Garcinia cambogia, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below or share on social media.

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