Garcinia, or Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA), is commonly sold as a weight loss supplement. It is available alone, but is usually sold in a combination pill that includes other supplements such as ephedra or chromium. It is often sold as CitriMax or CitraLean. It is claimed to reduce appetite, burn fat, or prevent the formation of fat.
Studies on animals suggested that HCA might affect the way the body burns carbohydrates and stores fat. However, no studies have shown similar effects on humans. An extensive study by JAMA concluded: Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo.
Is HCA safe? According to Berkeley Wellness: no one knows if HCA has any long-term adverse effects; some animal research found that it’s toxic. It may be combined with other diet compounds, and the safety of such products ‘witch’s brews of herbs and chemicals’ is certainly questionable. The PDR for Nutritional Supplements states that pregnant or nursing mothers, and those with dementia syndromes such as Alzheimer’s disease should avoid HCA. They also state that those with diabetes should be cautious with it.
There is no evidence to show that HCA is beneficial for weight loss, and it can be harmful in some cases. Recent studies have also linked it to liver damage. It is better to wait and see what future research shows before taking it.