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Garcinia Cambogia has gotten a lot of press recently as a weight loss product, ushered into the limelight by Dr. Oz, among others. It is not a newly discovered supplement though, and has been sold for years.
The pure garcinia cambogia supplement contains HCA (hydroxycitric acid) and is extracted from the rind of the tamarind fruit, which is a member of the mangosteen family. Our readers may be familiar with a variety of benefits associated with mangosteen fruit, including its use as a weight loss supplement.
How does garcinia work? The effect is two-fold.
First, in the normal process of digestion, carbohydrates that are not immediately burned are converted to fat to be stored in the body. This process of making fat requires the action of the enzyme citrate lyase. Garcinia (HCA) directly inhibits the action of citrate lyase, preventing the enzyme from converting the excess carbohydrates into stored fat. (And as an added bonus, cholesterol levels are prevented from rising as they normally would when the process of forming fat would have happened.)
There is a second action associated with garcinia cambogia that is especially helpful for people who may eat for emotional reasons, boredom, stress, depression, and similar tendencies. The HCA from garcinia helps boost levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and calm. The boost to serotonin levels can help increase positive emotions and lessen feelings of anxiety, sadness, stress, etc. so people who often find themselves eating in reaction to feeling bad will not feel the urge to eat in response to emotion.
There are a few conditions to be aware of when deciding if garcinia cambrogia is right for you. Because it lowers blood sugar and cholesterol, you should speak with a health care professional and may need to be monitored if you have diabetes or take statins for cholesterol management. As with many supplements, you should seek professional advice if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. And if you have Alzheimers or a similar dementia condition, it's best to avoid this supplement.
When taken for weight loss, garcinia should be taken before meals, in the range of 500-1,000 mg before each meal. Don't exceed 3,000 mg per day.
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And remember, while studies have shown a modest weight loss in those taking garcinia cambrogia without making any lifestyle or dietary changes, you can of course expect more dramatic effects by exercising and eating a sensible diet. Supplements are helpful, but the natural benefits of exercise and eating healthily will multiply the weight loss potential of any supplement.
Until next time, good health to you!