Garcinia is a small tropical fruit, which is rich in hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This is similar to the acid found in citrus fruits and shows promise as a weight loss supplement. The active ingredient of garcinia is known to aid fat burning and appetite regulation, but garcinia supplements offer benefits beyond weight loss, as there is also evidence that they promote a healthy cholesterol level. As cholesterol is often raised when you are carrying excess weight and high cholesterol is an important risk factor for heart disease and strokes, many of us can benefit from taking a garcinia supplement each day.
When taken by overweight participants, studies show that garcinia supplements promote a healthier lipid profile. For instance, reductions in both total and LDL cholesterol, as well as triglycerides, are seen, while HDL cholesterol is raised. This is beneficial for cardiovascular health, as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are associated with fat deposits and narrowing of the arteries, and HDL cholesterol removes fatty deposits to maintain a healthy blood flow. Changes in these blood fats with garcinia supplements are significant enough to produce clinical benefits, though it is important that you continue with a lipid lowering diet to achieve greatest benefit.
Hydroxycitric acid promotes fat burning by blocking the enzyme citrate lyase, whose role it is to convert carbohydrate into fat for storage. By blocking this enzyme, dietary carbohydrates are instead used as an energy supply. This not only means that less fat is deposited in your tissues, but when you burn fat through exercise it is not replaced, so your overall fat stores decrease. It is no surprise then that one study showed weight loss of around 12lb is achievable when taking garcinia supplements for six weeks. The participants followed a 2000kcal a day diet plan and walked for 30 minutes most days, showing that modest changes to diet and exercise can promote weight loss when taken alongside garcinia.
If you find you are constantly battling with hunger when trying to lose weight, garcinia supplements can also help you to curb your appetite, which makes adhering to a weight loss plan easier. Hydroxycitric acid suppresses your appetite by enhancing satiety, so you feel more satisfied and as a result eat less at your meals. Although the mechanism by which HCA increases satiety is unclear, one suggestion is that the acid alters your metabolism so that you produce a signalling molecule to let your brain know that you are full. One possibility is that 5-hydroxytryptophan, which is one of the building blocks of proteins, sends this appetite modulating signal. As 5-hydroxytryptophan is needed for serotonin production, the so-called feel good hormone, the raised levels of serotonin seen in people taking garcinia supplements makes this a plausible suggestion for how HCA encourages feelings of fullness.