Garcinia Cambogia for Weight Loss Reviews, Benefits and Side Effects

By Alex Woodrow | Weight Loss

Sep 17

Garcinia cambogia is fast becoming a popular ingredient among those in weight loss programs. But does it really work? We will find out in this comprehensive guide. 

Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia cambogia is a small pumpkin-shaped tropical fruit that is greenish or yellowish in appearance. It is widely cultivated in Southeast Asia, the coastal areas of India, and west and central Africa. It thrives mostly in moist forests. 

Also known as malabar tamarind, garcinia cambogia is so sour that it is not typically eaten fresh but rather used in cooking. It is particularly used in preparing curries. Various cuisines in India, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma and other Southeast Asian countries also use it for cooking.

It is said that garcinia cambogia has the ability to suppress your appetite and burn fats. What makes it unique is that its peeling contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which plays a vital role in weight loss. A study published by the National Institutes of Health supports this. 

What You Need to Know

Most garcinia cambogia supplements are made from this fruit’s extract. They generally contain about 20 to 60 percent HCA. But studies show that supplements with about 50 to 60 percent HCA provide more benefits.

There are mixed results regarding the effectivity of garcinia cambogia for weight loss. A review of 9 different studies on garcinia cambogia for weight loss confirms this. There are studies that reveal significant weight loss, while others show little difference than the placebo. 

Some studies (1, 2, 3) show that those taking garcinia cambogia were able to shed about 2 more pounds than the placebo group in a 2-to-12-week trial period. On the contrary, there are also studies (1,2) showing that this ingredient does not offer a weight loss advantage.

The average reduction in weight for many studies around garcinia cambogia is small. One possible reason for this is that the studies were conducted for short periods of time. In fact, one study pointed out how short most of the studies were. There were also conducted on a small number of people. Longer tests and more participants are needed to fully understand the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia for weight loss.

How Garcinia Cambogia Works

There are three ways that garcinia cambogia can help you get rid of excess weight:

  1. Garcinia cambogia suppresses appetite.

Some human studies (1, 2) show that garcinia cambogia has the ability to suppress your appetite, making you feel full. How this happens isn’t clear yet. But studies in rats provide a clue. Garcinia cambogia increases the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a known appetite suppressant. With more serotonin in your brain, you’ll also have a reduced appetite.

It’s important to note that garcinia cambogia’s effect on appetite may depend on each individual.

  1. Garcinia cambogia blocks fat production.

Another important contribution of garcinia cambogia to weight loss has to do with fat production. This ingredient affects the production of new fatty acids and the fat level in the blood. Some studies (1,2) support this claim. The same studies also show that it reduces oxidative stress in the body.

One study also shows that garcinia cambogia may also be effective in reducing fat deposits in the belly. These fats in turn cause overweight and obesity.

Garcinia cambogia is thought to block fat production by inhibiting citrate lyase. When that happens, the body will slowly reduce blood fats and lower your risk of gaining more weight. 

Moreover, there’s also one study that has more to say about the benefits of this ingredient. In that study, 2,800 moderately obese individuals took 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia for eight weeks. At the end of that period, it showed an impressive reduction in the following:

  • Total cholesterol levels – reduced by over 6%
  • Bad cholesterol levels – reduced by over 12%
  • Good cholesterol levels – increased by over 10%
  • Blood triglycerides – reduced by over 8%
  • Fat metabolites – up to 258% were excreted in the urine
  1. Improves athletic performance.

Garcinia cambogia may also improve your athletic performance. In fact, it is also often marketed as a supplement for athletes. Taking garcinia cambogia increases your endurance levels during exercise and your body won’t easily feel tired. This makes you feel energized to continue your exercise routine. And when you have more stamina for a longer exercise or workout, you’ll be able to lose weight naturally. 

Other Health Benefits

Aside from its weight loss effects, garcinia cambogia also offers the following health benefits:

  1. Alleviates the symptoms of diabetes.

Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to process blood sugar. In the United States, an estimated 30.2 million people over 18 years old have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. If not managed properly, diabetes can lead to serious complications such as stroke and heart disease. This is where garcinia cambogia can help.

Studies conducted on both animal and test-tube suggest that garcinia cambogia may also have other health benefits, especially in connection with diabetes. These benefits include:

  • Decreased insulin levels
  • Decreased leptin levels
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improvement in blood sugar control
  • Increase in insulin sensitivity
  1. May boost your digestive system.

Animal studies suggest that garcinia cambogia could also boost your digestive system. Based on the animal studies, this ingredient helps reduce your risk of stomach ulcers and damage to the inner lining of the digestive tract. However, further studies are needed to confirm this.

Side Effects

Garcinia cambogia supplements are generally safe to take. However, some people may notice certain side effects including:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Skin rashes
  • Diarrhea or upset stomach

It’s important to note that in 2009, the Food and Drug Administration warned everyone against the use of weight loss products that contain garcinia cambogia as some people taking it were found to suffer from serious liver problems. However, these supplements have other ingredients too, so it was not clear if garcinia cambogia was solely to be blamed. A lot of research suggests that garcinia cambogia supplements are generally safe.

While generally safe, garcinia cambogia may interact with medications for:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Anemia
  • Pain
  • Psychiatric conditions
  • Drugs that lower cholesterol
  • Blood thinner

Moreover, if you are pregnant or nursing, take the safe side by consulting your healthcare provider before taking supplements with garcinia cambogia. The same is true if you are suffering from a health condition.


Many weight loss supplements have garcinia cambogia as their main ingredient. If you want to buy one, get it from a reputable manufacturer. For best results, choose a supplement that contains 50–60% HCA.

The recommended dosage may vary among brands. Generally, you may take 500 mg three times a day. Most manufacturers also recommend taking the supplement 30 to 60 minutes before meals.

For the exact dosage and instructions, check the product label.

What to Expect

After taking garcinia cambogia, you can’t expect to see an immediate reduction in your weight. You should consistently use it for several weeks. Apart from taking the supplement, you should also eat the right food and do regular exercises for best results. 

The results may vary from one person to another. For some, it may just take a few weeks before they can see a significant change in their weight. For others, it may take longer. Aside from your personal lifestyle, the type of garcinia cambogia supplement you are taking can make a big difference.

Our Top 3 Choices for Garcinia Cambogia Supplements are:

  1. Garcinia Cambogia EXTREME 


If you are looking for a garcinia cambogia supplement that is all natural, this supplement is a good choice. Containing 95% HCA, it is one of the highest in the market. It is a proprietary blend made from garcinia cambogia fruit rind and other natural ingredients. This supplement does not contain fillers, binders and other artificial ingredients. Moreover, it is free from egg, caffeine, peanuts, shellfish, wheat, soy and gluten.

Garcinia Cambogia EXTREME is made in the US, following the strict Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in an FDA-registered facility.

  1. Wiselife Naturals Garcinia Plex


Garcinia Plex is also our top choice considering that it contains 60% HCA from pure garcinia cambogia extract. It also contains organic rice bran extract, vegetarian capsule, calcium and potassium for optimum benefits. It does not contain egg, caffeine, peanuts, shellfish, wheat and soy.

Its health benefits include:

  • Controlling hunger signals
  • Preventing fat productions
  • Boosting metabolism
  • Increasing healthy cholesterol levels
  • Enhancing mood
  • Boosting energy

This product is made in the US. It offers a 100% money-back guarantee. 

  1. Orphic Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia


The garcinia cambogia supplement from Orphic Nutrition is also one of our best choices because of its natural ingredients which include pure extract from the fruit. Overall, it contains 95% HCA which is one of the highest in the market. This vegan and vegetarian capsule is free from GMO, gluten, binders, fillers, allergen and other artificial ingredients. 

Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, this supplement helps you burn fats, break down excess sugar into energy, and boost your metabolism faster than other supplements. It is also a powerful appetite suppressant.

This product is proudly made in the US. It is manufactured and tested in a GMP-certified facility for premium quality.


The evidence supporting the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia for weight loss shows mixed results. Some studies show a small and insignificant effect while other studies suggest otherwise. It might be reassuring to realize that these differences may be due to the fact that only a limited number of participants were involved and that the studies were conducted in a short period of time.

Various weight loss supplements contain garcinia cambogia. Many of these supplements are proven to work on many of their users. If you are convinced that garcinia cambogia is the right supplement for you, your next step is to compare products.

Garcinia cambogia supplements vary in terms of HCA content and ingredients. It would be good to choose the supplement that is made from natural ingredients and with high HCA content. The three products listed above are some of the best supplements available due to their high HCA and natural ingredients.

About the Author

Alex Woodrow has been a contributor for for over 10 years and has a deep passion for Male health and well being. Alex has studied chemistry at UCLA and has a thorough understanding of the supplements industry, product formulation and the science behind male health.

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