Hydroxycitric Acid for Weight Control
Why Do Dieters Use It?*
Some dieters say that hydroxycitric acid, a compound found in Garcinia cambogia, helps promote fat loss.
What Do the Advocates Say?*
The promise of (-)-Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is based on animal studies that suggest it inhibits fat synthesis and perhaps suppresses appetite. Human studies have not been consistent, however, with one reporting no benefits while another reported improved results when combined with a weight-loss diet.
How Much Is Usually Taken by Dieters?
HCA, extracted from the rind of the Garcinia cambogia fruit grown in Southeast Asia, has a chemical composition similar to that of citric acid (the primary acid in oranges and other citrus fruits). Preliminary studies in animals suggest that HCA may be a useful weight-loss aid.1, 2 HCA has been demonstrated in the laboratory (but not yet in clinical trials with people) to reduce the conversion of carbohydrates into stored fat by inhibiting certain enzyme processes.3, 4 Animal research indicates that HCA suppresses appetite and induces weight loss.5, 6, 7, 8 However, a double-blind trial found that people who took 1,500 mg per day of HCA while eating a low-calorie diet for 12 weeks lost no more weight than those taking a placebo.9 A double-blind trial of Garcinia cambogia (2.4 grams of dry extract, containing 50% hydroxycitric acid) found that the extract did not increase energy expenditure; it was therefore concluded that this extract showed little potential for the treatment of obesity at this amount.10 Nonetheless, another double-blind trial found that using the same amount of Garcinia cambogia extract significantly improved the results of a weight-loss diet, even though the amount of food intake was not affected.11
*Dieters and weight-management advocates may claim benefits for this supplement based on their personal or professional experience. These are individual opinions and testimonials that may or may not be supported by controlled clinical studies or published scientific articles.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.