Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is otherwise known as Garcinia Cambogia and derives from the dried rind of the Garcinia Cambogia (family Guttiferae) fruit.
What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Hydroxycitric acid has been used for centuries as a food condiment in Southeastern Asia to make food more filling and satisfying.
Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) is a popular ingredient in commercial weight-loss preparations. Research has shown that HCA is effective at triggering safe weight-loss1,2,3 - even in untrained men and women.4,5
Animal studies have shown that HCA improves glucose function6, increases serotonin levels7,8, and is effective at weight restriction.9 Hydroxycitric Acid also shifts the bodies preferred energy source from carbohydrates to fats.10
In athletes, HCA increases lipolysis11 and may improve the synthesis of Ach - Acetycholine.12 Acetycholine is a neurotransmitter responsible for muscular contraction, and an improvement in its synthesis may improve athletic performance by increasing exercise endurence.13 By potentiating the effects of 5-HT, HCA may prove effective in the treatment of depression, insomnia and migraine headaches.
Animal studies show that HCA prevents "rebound" weight gain.14 Further research is needed to determine the importance of this finding in humans.
When used in conjunction with pyruvate and carnitine, HCA may be more effective at promoting fat loss15, and Hydroxycitric acid has been shown to elicit weight loss without stimulating the central nervous system.16
Research also demonstrates that HCA has antibacterial properties17 and may thus offer immune system protection.
Some studies do not support any benefit associated with HCA supplementation.18,19,20,21 but these studies are eclipsed by an overwhelming body of research testifying to HCA's efficacy.
Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?
No physiological need for hydroxycitric acid exists and thus no symptoms of deficiency exist.
All persons can benefit from hydroxycitric acid supplementation.
How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?
Strictly adhere to label recommendations.
Research has shown that HCA supplementation is non-toxic to humans, even in high doses.22,23
Supplementation may be accompanied by a slight breakdown of muscle tissue, though further research is necessary to confirm or debunk this possibility.
1. Shara M, Ohia SE, Schmidt RE, Yasmin T, Zardetto-Smith A, Kincaid A, Bagchi M, Chatterjee A, Bagchi D, Stohs SJ. Physico-chemical properties of a novel (-)-hydroxycitric acid extract and its effect on body weight, selected organ weights, hepatic lipid peroxidation and DNA fragmentation, hematology and clinical chemistry, and histopathological changes over a period of 90 days. Mol Cell Biochem. 2004 May;260(1-2):171-86.
2. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Kovacs EM. The effect of (-)-hydroxycitrate on energy intake and satiety in overweight humans. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Jun;26(6):870-2.
3. Jena BS, Jayaprakasha GK, Singh RP, Sakariah KK. Chemistry and biochemistry of (-)-hydroxycitric acid from Garcinia. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Jan 2;50(1):10-22.
4. Tomita K, Okuhara Y, Shigematsu N, Suh H, Lim K. (-)-hydroxycitrate ingestion increases fat oxidation during moderate intensity exercise in untrained men. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2003 Sep;67(9):1999-2001.
5. Lim K, Ryu S, Nho HS, Choi SK, Kwon T, Suh H, So J, Tomita K, Okuhara Y, Shigematsu N. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid ingestion increases fat utilization during exercise in untrained women. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2003 Jun;49(3):163-7.
6. Hayamizu K, Hirakawa H, Oikawa D, Nakanishi T, Takagi T, Tachibana T, Furuse M. Effect of Garcinia cambogia extract on serum leptin and insulin in mice. Fitoterapia. 2003 Apr;74(3):267-73.
7. Ohia SE, Awe SO, LeDay AM, Opere CA, Bagchi D. Effect of hydroxycitric acid on serotonin release from isolated rat brain cortex. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2001 Mar-Apr;109(3-4):210-6.
8. Ohia SE, Opere CA, LeDay AM, Bagchi M, Bagchi D, Stohs SJ. Safety and mechanism of appetite suppression by a novel hydroxycitric acid extract (HCA-SX). Mol Cell Biochem. 2002 Sep;238(1-2):89-103.
9. Roy S, Rink C, Khanna S, Phillips C, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Sen CK. Body weight and abdominal fat gene expression profile in response to a novel hydroxycitric acid-based dietary supplement. Gene Expr. 2004;11(5-6):251-62.
10. Ishihara K, Oyaizu S, Onuki K, Lim K, Fushiki T. Chronic (-)-hydroxycitrate administration spares carbohydrate utilization and promotes lipid oxidation during exercise in mice. J Nutr. 2000 Dec;130(12):2990-5.
11. Lim K, Ryu S, Ohishi Y, Watanabe I, Tomi H, Suh H, Lee WK, Kwon T. Short-term (-)-hydroxycitrate ingestion increases fat oxidation during exercise in athletes. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2002 Apr;48(2):128-33.
12. Ricny J, Tucek S Acetylcoenzyme A and acetylcholine in slices of rat caudate nuclei incubated with (-)-hydroxycitrate, citrate, and EGTA. J Neurochem. 1982 Sep;39(3):668-73.
13. McCarty MF. Inhibition of citrate lyase may aid aerobic endurance. Med Hypotheses. 1995 Sep;45(3):247-54.
14. Leonhardt M, Hrupka B, Langhans W. Effect of hydroxycitrate on food intake and body weight regain after a period of restrictive feeding in male rats. Physiol Behav. 2001 Sep 1-15;74(1-2):191-6.
15. McCarty MF, Gustin JC. Pyruvate and hydroxycitrate/carnitine may synergize to promote reverse electron transport in hepatocyte mitochondria, effectively 'uncoupling' the oxidation of fatty acids. Med Hypotheses. 1999 May;52(5):407-16.
16. Preuss HG, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Rao CV, Dey DK, Satyanarayana S. Effects of a natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX plus niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract on weight loss. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2004 May;6(3):171-80.
17. Mackeen MM, Ali AM, Lajis NH, Kawazu K, Kikuzaki H, Nakatani N. Antifungal garcinia acid esters from the fruits of Garcinia atroviridis. Z Naturforsch [C]. 2002 Mar-Apr;57(3-4):291-5.
18. Mattes RD, Bormann L. Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables. Physiol Behav. 2000 Oct 1-15;71(1-2):87-94.
19. van Loon LJ, van Rooijen JJ, Niesen B, Verhagen H, Saris WH, Wagenmakers AJ. Effects of acute (-)-hydroxycitrate supplementation on substrate metabolism at rest and during exercise in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Dec;72(6):1445-50.
20. Kriketos AD, Thompson HR, Greene H, Hill JO. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid does not affect energy expenditure and substrate oxidation in adult males in a post-absorptive state. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 Aug;23(8):867-73.
21. Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, Vasselli JR, Pietrobelli A, Greenfield D, Nunez C. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1596-600.
22. Soni MG, Burdock GA, Preuss HG, Stohs SJ, Ohia SE, Bagchi D. Safety assessment of (-)-hydroxycitric acid and Super CitriMax, a novel calcium/potassium salt. Food Chem Toxicol. 2004 Sep;42(9):1513-29.
23. Shara M, Ohia SE, Yasmin T, Zardetto-Smith A, Kincaid A, Bagchi M, Chatterjee A, Bagchi D, Stohs SJ. Dose- and time-dependent effects of a novel (-)-hydroxycitric acid extract on body weight, hepatic and testicular lipid peroxidation, DNA fragmentation and histopathological data over a period of 90 days. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Dec;254(1-2):339-46.