What is Garcinia Extract? Does it work?

Garcina Extract - An Apple a Day

The latest magic pill/craze to hit the weight loss market is Garcinia Extract. Their marketing campaign has all the bells and whistles, of which includes celebrity endorsements, limited time offers, a number of ‘before and after’ photos (that I’ve seen endorsing other products) and a string of “complete strangers” commenting on various articles about the product’s effectiveness. Whilst all of this is pretty standard for this type of weight-loss product, they also claim the product is backed by scientific research… so I looked into it. 

What is Garcinia Extract? 
Garcinia cambogia is a citrus fruit that grows in Southeast Asia. Whilst it has been traditionally used for cooking, an extract from the fruit rind called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) has recently been praised as a weight-loss agent. 

Does Garcinia Extract work?
A meta-analysis (a study that looks at a range of other studies) published in the Journal of Obesity, revealed the following information: 

  • The overall meta-analysis revealed a small difference in change in body weight between the HCA and placebo groups however, the effect size was considered too small to be of any clinical relevance. 
  • The largest and most rigorous random control trial found no significant difference in weight loss between HCA and placebo.
  • Given the short duration of the studies involving the use of Garcinia Extract, it is unclear how safe this dietary supplement is on the intermediate and long term. 
  • All of the studies included in this review except two, incorporated some form of dietary control into their trials, with participants in one study receiving high fibre diets. The daily caloric intake for participants in the trials included in this review ranged from as low as 1,000?kcal to as high as 3,009?kcal, possibly skewing results. 

Are there any side effects?
Seven out of 12 random control trials reported adverse events, with headache, nausea, upper respiratory, and gastrointestinal tract symptoms being the most frequent ones. Other side effects include dizziness and dry mouth. 

What’s the verdict?
All in all, the product isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In my opinion, save your pennies (and your GIT tract) and seek the help of a qualified nutritionist to help you meet your weight-loss goals 😉 

You can view a full copy of the meta-analysis here

Have you sought the expertise of a qualified nutritionist to help you achieve your weight-loss goals? I would love to hear about your experience. 


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Meet Alyse

I’m a qualified Nutritionist who believes an evidence-based approach to modern nutrition is severely under-rated. Patients are so often left in the dark when it comes to health-care and as a firm believer in the old saying “knowledge is power”, my ultimate goal is to provide my readers, students and patients with clear and actionable advice that ultimately helps you reach your full potential.