Hydroxycitric acid is extracted from the fruit of Garcinia Cambogia, a citrus plant that grows in Southeast Asia. Traditionally utilized in cooking dishes as both a condiment and to enhance the flavor of food, the plant and its extracts have increasingly become popular for use in weight loss. Hydroxycitric acid is found in the rind of the fruit and in studies has both appetite reduction qualities and stimulates weight loss. Studies evaluating hydroxycitric acid have demonstrated that when compared to a placebo, weight reduction occurs at a quicker and more consistent pace for those taking hydroxycitric acid supplements. The research and documentation supporting use of hydroxycitric acid as a weight-loss tool continues to expand and offers an alternative to individuals researching methods of losing weight.
Scientific studies have shown that individuals taking hydroxycitric acid supplements benefit from not only losing weight, but also may experience improvement in other areas of health. Health care providers have long recognized the link between obesity and chronic health conditions such as hyperinsulinemia, fatty liver, and dyslipidemia. Often, when a patient loses weight successfully, these conditions become less of an issue, and a patient’s overall health and well-being improve. Preliminary studies on hydroxycitric acid also demonstrate benefits with use as an antioxidant, diabetes, exercise endurance, and red blood cell count. In regards to exercise endurance hydroxycitric acid seems to limit the use of stored energy in the muscles, reducing the amount of fatigue an individual experiences during exercise routines.
The active agent in hydroxycitric acid is believed to be xanthone, a phytochemical that works to prevent damage to the body’s cells and DNA. Xanthone aids in metabolic activity and its process is presumed to enhance the body’s immune system through the strengthening of cell walls. Hydroxycitric acid also slows the absorption of sugar into the body, requiring a slower, more gradual release of insulin throughout the body, which ultimately has beneficial effects on metabolism. Garcinia cambogia is available in tablet or capsule form with a maximum dosage of 1,500 mg per day. The appropriate dosage amount varies among individuals based on multiple factors and is individualized. It may be sold by itself or in combination with other ingredients designed to maximize weight loss properties.
Individuals who decide to incorporate hydroxycitric acid as part of their regimen should be aware of side effects associated with it. Most side effects and symptoms are mild and the benefits of using hydroxycitric acid usually outweigh the disadvantages. These symptoms may be temporary and include dry mouth, headache, and nausea. It is generally recommended that prior to beginning any weight loss program that individuals consult with their primary health care provider to discuss the risks associated with any dietary approach and lifestyle change. Those who are pregnant or nursing should not take the supplement as the effects on pregnancy or breastfeeding are not known. Certain medications are contraindicated for use with hydroxycitric acid and individuals should therefore disclose all the medications they take to their health care provider and provide a full medical history prior to using any supplement. This includes not only prescription medication but other natural and herbal supplements that are taken as well as vitamins.