What is garcinia?
Native to India, garcinia cambogia (also known as citirimax, citrin, hydroxy citric acid, HCA, and Malabar Tamarind) is a drooping evergreen tree that bears a fruit long used as a food source in India. Garcinia is closely related to mangosteen, one of the so-called “superfruits.”
What is garcinia used for?
In the 1970s, scientists noted that garcinia contains a substance related in molecular structure to citric acid. Closer study revealed that this particular compound interferes with the action of an enzyme called ATP-Citrate-Lysase, thereby inhibiting the body’s ability to convert glycogen, a kind of stored carbohydrate, into body fat.
This reduces blood sugar levels, in turn bringing down insulin levels in much the same way that low carbohydrate diets do. The body’s own thermogenic or calorie-burning processes then increase their activity, resulting in a higher metabolic rate.
Because the body becomes more efficient at burning its own lipids (that is, fats), blood serum levels of cholesterol and triglycerides reportedly drop. It is strongly suspected that this might reduce the risk of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease by fighting so-called “Syndrome X.” If true, this would be of considerable importance, given the rising rate of obesity in the modern world.
In one study involving overfed, under-exercised, near-diabetic rats, for instance, supplementation with garcinia resulted in the animals losing over an ounce of body-fat each, a significant amount given their small size. At the same time, such parameters as kidney and liver function also improved, results consistent with healthier blood sugar levels.
It is sobering to note that much of the original research dates back to the 1970s. Although the results were quite promising, the backers of various studies decided that since garcinia was a natural substance, and therefore could not be patented, no money could be made from it. As a result, work in this area was not resumed until twenty years later.
Garcinia might also benefit those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and ulcerative colitis. Within the stomach’s mucosal lining, garcinia seems to play the role of a COX-2 inhibitor, reducing markers of inflammation and DNA damage found in colon cells. Some researchers hope that this will someday result in the development of a drug-free alternative to the conventional therapies now offered to sufferers of these serious conditions.
How is garcinia is taken?
The usual dosage for garcinia is 300 to 500mg tablets three times daily taken half an hour before meals with water.
Note that a number of studies raise the likelihood that garcinia’s blood-sugar-lowering and anti-obesity properties can be considerably amplified with the addition of other nutrients, including niacin-bound chromium. Also, thermogenic compounds such a green tea and blood-sugar-stabilizing agents such as maitake extract might greatly improve the outcome of garcinia supplementation.
Is garcinia safe?
Those with diabetes need to discuss any course of action that might result in lower blood sugar readings, of course. In addition, a lowering of body-fat levels might well require a change in medication levels, a fact that should be brought to the attention of your physician.
Otherwise, garcinia appears to be safe and well-tolderated.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.