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Question

Garcinia cambogia: What is Garcinia cambogia? Is it effective for weight loss, and is it safe to take?

OPSS Answer

Garcinia cambogia (GC) is a tree native to Southeast Asia and Africa. It produces a small, pumpkin-like fruit that is popular in the cuisines of Thailand and India. The fruit of GC is believed to offer some health benefits and is used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine.

Extracts of GC fruit contain hydroxycitric acid (often abbreviated as HCA on labels), a substance thought to contribute to weight loss by suppressing appetite and inhibiting fat production. Although some scientific studies in animals and humans have shown positive short-term effects of GC and/or HCA on weight loss, the majority of human studies have found no effect. There is currently insufficient reliable evidence to support the claims that GC extract is effective for weight loss in humans.

On its own, GC is generally well-tolerated and has been used in studies for up to 12 weeks without serious adverse effects. However, there is at least one report of acute liver failure associated with a specific GC dietary supplement product. More research is needed to confirm the association.

FAQ updated 02 November 2016

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