Every person wants to lose weight, but it requires determination and motivation. Some people can afford strict healthy diet plans provided by some renowned nutritionists, and some cannot. Weight loss is a complicated process, and people find it difficult to stick to it. This complication leads them to go for easy methods which do not require spending long hours in gyms or following strict diet plans. People struggling with obesity have to face various daily life challenges along with some serious health issues. They suffer from low self-esteem because of their appearance. There are several solutions to this problem, one of which is the extract of Garcinia cambogia, which has weight-loss benefits.
Not only for weight loss, but this fruit is also healthy for human beings in many other ways. Such as making the mood better by increasing the serotonin in patients with depression or anxiety. It also helps in reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes in non-diabetic patients by decreasing blood glucose levels.
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Garcinia Cambogia is probably the most popular supplement used for weight loss. It is a tropical plant found in Southeast Asia and South Asia. Some people also call it names like Brindle berry and Malabar Tamarind. It is small to medium-sized tree having a height of approximately 20 meters with drooping branches. Leaves are dark-green in color with a shiny surface, ovate shaped, having a length of 5-9 cm and 2.5 -4 cm of breadth. Its fruit looks like a small-sized pumpkin.
The unripe fruit diameter is 2-4 cm. The tree blooms in the summer season and gives fruits in the rainy season. Its color varies from green to pale yellow, turning dark brown to black when dried for extraction. It cannot be eaten fresh as it has a sour taste, so it is used in cooking. The extract is obtained by drying the fruit in the sun under controlled procedures in an open environment. The dried rind is used in culinary as a flavoring agent. It is also used in curries to give a sour taste as tamarind or lemon.
The Active Ingredient
Its active ingredient is hydroxycitric acid, extracted as a dietary supplement for weight loss. This fruit also has other phytochemicals like polyphenols, luteolin, and kaempferol, out of which only hydroxycitric acid has the weight-loss ability. It is extracted from fruit’s rind, containing 50% hydroxycitric acid. Hydroxycitric acid is found in lactone forms and as the free acid. The free acid form of hydroxycitric acid is biologically active, which helps in weight loss. The extract is prepared with the help of the water extraction method.
The extract contains potassium or calcium salts of hydroxycitric acid. The potassium salt of hydroxycitric acid extract is obtained by extracting fruit’s rind with methanol. This process needs several repetitions, and then the extract is treated with methanolic potassium hydroxide. The obtained precipitated potassium hydroxycitric acid extract undergoes the process of filtration, then it is vacuum dried and then packed for consumer use.
Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia
- Loss of appetite
- Regulation of serotonin
- Reduced lipogenesis
- Fatty acid oxidation increases
- Reduced plasma insulin and leptin levels
- Reduced glucose intake rates in tissue
All the above mechanisms help reduce respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and increase energy expenditure (ER) during exercise and resting state.
The presence of hydroxycitric acid in its rind gives this fruit an anti-obesity effect. It is also used in the various treatments in Ayurvedic medications. Its fruit undergoes the process of decoction, which is then used in various ailments and given as a purgative for intestinal parasites, dysentery, rheumatoid fever, bilious digestive conditions, and tumors. Its extract is also known to have a cardiogenic property to treat angina.
The rind also has some amazing properties in treating enlarged spleen in rickets and aid in healing minor bone fractures.
The rind of dried fruit is sometimes used as an appetizer and eaten raw.
The dried fruit rind is also used in fish preserving methods. When it is mixed with salt, it helps in lowering the pH, which gives a bacteriostatic effect providing fish curing properties.
However, as far as its weight loss activity is concerned, several researchers have mixed conclusions. It is still a debate whether it has profound weight loss activity. Some groups of people in trials had little weight loss, and some did not show any changes in their weight.
The extract is also used as a raw material in the cosmetic industry.
Mechanism of Garcinia Cambogia Extract in Weight Loss
Studies show that hydroxycitric acid helps to reduce weight gain by inhibiting the enzyme ATP citrate lyase (ACLY). ACLY catalyzes the cleavage of citrate to oxaloacetate and acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA), which helps synthesize fatty acids. Hence, HCA helps reduce acetyl-CoA and eventually malonyl-CoA pool, which reduces the synthesis of fats and cholesterol by restricting the availability of two carbon groups that are integral parts in the synthesis of fats and cholesterol.
Its 800 to 1000mg standardized extract can be given twice daily.
50% standardized HCA extract can be given four times a day in a dose of 500mg
Garcinia Cambogia has some major and minor side effects like every medicine or drug. FDA released a warning in 2017 that products containing garcinia are unsafe. Diabetic patients must not use it.
Its common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Stomach upset
Its major side effect includes:
It is banned by FDA for usage as a weight loss supplement because it causes a serious liver problem. Its active ingredient, HCA, causes hepatic failure and must not use by patients having hepatic diseases. It is also associated with increased cancer risk in immune-compromised patients.
In the race of looking slim and smart, one must not ignore the pros and cons of medication and supplements. As long as Garnicia Cambogia is concerned, no clinical studies have shown impressive results in weight loss. However, lifestyle changes and exercise can have an impact on weight loss.
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