You’ve probably heard about garcinia cambogia being touted in the market, but there’s probably one thing you’re most curious about: are its health benefits true or just another fad?
In truth, there are many advantages and disadvantages to taking garcinia cambogia supplements. There are claims about it being a favorite celebrity weight loss secret, and there are claims about it being a “miracle drug.”
You might have heard about Dr. Oz praising this citrus fruit that hails from Southeast Asia. The fruit’s rind contains an extract called hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is the element that plays a huge role in its supposed weight loss benefits.
It’s available in pill or powder form but is more widely marketed as a health supplement. Its claims include an ability to block your body’s ability to store fat, and does a good job of suppressing your appetite.
Other benefits include keeping your blood sugar levels balanced and keeping LDL cholesterol at bay. For most, the main appeal of taking garcinia cambogia is that it can bring about changes with minimal physical activity required. And isn’t that the dream for most? Does it live up to the hype? Let’s find out.
The extract, hydroxycitric acid, is said to block an enzyme called citrate lyase, which is what the body needs to create fat. HCA also raises the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can affect our mood, and appetite, which can lead to feeling less hungry.
This element might be the one that constitutes its weight loss claims, since those taking it will feel less hungry and eat less. The Journal of Obesity has also published research on the effect of taking garcinia cambogia. Studies show that those taking a garcinia cambogia supplement with a balanced diet and exercise have lost between two to five pounds more than those who didn’t.
Experiments in mice and humans have provided evidence that supplementing with garcinia cambogia can boost the body’s metabolism, particularly in burning fat.
For athletes, garcinia cambogia supplements can help a person develop more endurance. It helps your body reach the peak of exhaustion longer than if you didn’t supplement it. A similar study on mice showed similar results as that of the study on athletes. Mice give garcinia cambogia showed better endurance in running exercises.
If you’re not after its weight loss benefits, then you might be interested in knowing more about its effects for Type 2 Diabetes and cholesterol control.
Several tests on mice have proven that garcinia cambogia can lower insulin levels. This is in comparison to a study on mice that did not receive a supplement of garcinia cambogia.
Part of diabetes management is to control glucose levels in the blood. Garcinia cambogia makes it easy for the body to process glucose. However, it’s important to take care of taking garcinia cambogia supplements, especially if you’re already taking medication to manage your blood sugar. Your glucose levels could get dangerously low.
Much the same as its effects on diabetes management, garcinia cambogia supplements can lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
Remember that triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body and works to store the excess energy from what we eat. On the other hand, LDL cholesterol is responsible for the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack
Garcinia cambogia, in turn, can raise the level of HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol. This type is responsible for preventing the buildup of bad cholesterol and protects us from heart disease.
Its mixed reviews leave a lot to be questioned. The aforementioned benefits are among the most commonly cited benefits of taking the supplements, but other claims not as popular include its ability to reduce joint pain, improved bowel movements, and a sudden desire to move and be physically active.
The last one may just have more to do with its energy and mood-boosting effects, which motivates people to do something with the surge in energy levels. Not everything people claim is backed by study and research, which is why until now there are people still on the fence about trying out the supplement.
Now that you know how well the product works, you’re probably wondering, what’s the catch?
The most commonly reported side effects are mild, such as an upset stomach and diarrhea. It might also cause dizziness and a dry mouth, so be mindful of your water intake when taking garcinia cambogia supplements.
Also take note to seek medical advice before starting with the supplements, particularly if you take medication for any of the following:
- Blood thinners
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Diabetes medication like pills and insulin
- Existing kidney or liver conditions
- Pain medication
- Prescription drugs for psychiatric illnesses
If you’re nursing or pregnant, definitely don’t take these! At the end of the day, we can only educate you about these supplements, but it’s up to you to seek professional medical advice before trying these out.
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