Garcinia Cambogia – Dieters and weight watchers often risk getting unpleasant side effects with many of the popular weight loss supplements. Most of these side effects can be traced to their active ingredients like ephedra (Ma-Huang), caffeine, and phenylpropanolamine. They are known to have adverse effects on the nervous system and other body systems that may lead to heart palpitations, jitteriness, low energy levels, heightened nervousness, insomnia, stomach cramps, and nausea.
In contrast, the Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) concentrate in the Garcinia cambogia extract (GCE) is safe when orally ingested for its recommended dose and purpose as a dietary supplement. WebMD considers it safe when used for three months or less as it finds no study to suggest its safety over longer term. Nevertheless, several lab and clinical studies have evaluated the potential toxicity of HCA as a weight control supplement as this carries paramount importance considering that such supplements are used continuously over extended periods of time to maintain weight reduction benefits. In all cases, its clinical safety has been established, two of which are cited below:
In a 2002 study to investigate the efficacy of HCA on serotonin uptake in the brain cortex in vitro and its toxicity levels in vivo, albino mice were sacrificed. Appetite suppression in HCA was determined using slices of mice brains incubated in Krebs solution and transferred to buffer solutions with serotonin while another group was exposed to HCA at10 microM – 1mM. For determining safety levels, live albino rats were administered with HCA and tested with oral toxicity, eye irritation, and dermal toxicity tests at various HCA doses. The in vivo test results showed that HCA inhibited serotonin uptake and increased HCA bioavailability, suggesting its promise in controlling appetite, while toxicological tests indicated that LD50 (lethal dose at 50%) is higher than 5,000mg per kg of body weight when administered orally in a single dose, indicating HCA to be safe under at normal doses. The study concluded that HCA from the Garcinia extracts is biologically safe while promising weight loss efficacy due to its appetite suppressing ability.
This 2012 literature review explored previously published In Vivo and In Vitro laboratory reports and clinical studies on the safety of HCA extracts from the Garcinia cambogia fruit rind and its efficacy in treating obesity under several dosages used in the studies. While just about every study showed HCA efficacy in leading to moderate to significant weight loss with no toxicity, a few studies showed possible toxicity leading to potential spermatogenesis when HCA is used in a multi-herbal formulation containing other herbal extracts. None of them, however, pointed to a conclusion that the HCS is unsafe and simply suggested that other extracts in the mix could cause the reported toxicity. The review concluded there was no direct causal link between HCA and any level of toxicity that would justify any re-appraisal of its use in dietary supplementation. The comprehensive review ended up with a compilation of scientific evidence showing that HCA is safe under a NOAL (No Observed Adverse Effect Level) of up to 2,800 mg per day.
Garcinia Cambogia Safety Precautions
While there are no published scientific studies indicating any medically significant toxicity or side effect in the Garcinia Cambogia Extract as a diet supplement, some prudence dictates that some precaution be observed. Consider the following:
(1) Patients diagnosed with a diabetic condition face potentially serious health risks when taking Garcinia cambogia extracts. The HCA in the extract can reduce blood sugar levels which help in managing fat accumulation, but can fall to dangerous levels to aggravate diabetes.
(2) To date, no clinical study has been undertaken to indicate that HCA is safe for children below 12 years old, as well as for lactating and pregnant women. Both are generally considered high risk groups of consumers who should consult with their doctors before taking any drug or supplement.
(3) Some people may allergies to the Garcinia cambogia extract without knowing it until they take the supplement. Stop taking one should the common signs of allergic reaction appear. These may include skin rashes and itching headache, breathing difficulties, mouth inflammation, or stomach pain.
(4) There are as yet no scientific reports on the pharmacological interaction of HCA with ingredients in other drugs or prescriptive medication.
In any of the these situations, it is best to consult with your doctor, pharmacist or health professional before taking Garcinia cambogia Extracts or any diet supplement for that matter, especially if you are under medication to treat some health ailments. It is possible that HCA may interact with some active ingredients in your medication, either to diminish its efficacy or that of your medication to make it unsafe or less effective.