- Posted March 11, 2014 by
Recent Garcinia Cambogia HCA Study Shows It Does Not Promote Liver Toxicity
A recent study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology and posted online at PubMed on November 28, 2013 shows that the active ingredient of Garcinia cambogia, Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA), does not promote inflammation or liver toxicity. These findings are in direct opposition to many other human and animal studies on the safety and effectiveness of HCA. The problem is that studies with humans has shown mixed results.
From the study in PubMed: “...this literature shows HCA to be protective against the liver toxicity associated with ethanol and dexamethasone administration, and to maintain serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase at near normal levels. In both animal and clinical literature, elevated intakes of HCA per se have not led to signs of inflammation or hepatotoxicity. The compound has been found to reduce markers of inflammation in brain, intestines, kidney and serum.”
A 2012 study published in the journal, “Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition” and re-published at PubMed online showed similar results. The Article titled, Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of hydroxycitric acid or Garcinia cambogia extracts in humans, stated this conclusion:
“Therefore, there is still little evidence to support the potential effectiveness and long-term benefits of G. cambogia extracts. With regard to toxicity and safety, it is important to note that except in rare cases, studies conducted in experimental animals have not reported increased mortality or significant toxicity. Furthermore, at the doses usually administered, no differences have been reported in terms of side effects or adverse events (those studied) in humans between individuals treated with G. cambogia and controls.”
In direct opposition to the two studies linked to above, some studies have found HCA to be harmful to the liver. For example in this paper on the National Institute of Health website (NIH.gov) called, “Hepatoxicity associated with weight-loss supplements: A case for better post-marketing surveillance”, the Abstract stated this:
“There is a growing number of case reports of hepatoxicity from the widely marketed weight-loss supplement Hydroxycut, which contains the botanical ingredient Garcinia cambogia. These case reports may substantially undercount the true magnitude of harm. Based on the past experience with harmful dietary supplements, US regulators should assume the more precautionary approach favored by Canada and Europe.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall on Hydroxycut products in 2009. This was after 23 people claimed to have had a serious health problem after taking Hydroxycut. A class action lawsuit was settled with the makers of Hydroxycut for $23.5 Million in December, 2012.
If you want to read more about Hydroxycut hepatoxicity, there is a very detailed 2008 article on the PubMed website. It has 2 case studies and 72 References. The title is, “Hydroxycut hepatotoxicity: A case series and review of liver toxicity from herbal weight loss supplements.”
An interesting quote from this article states this:
“HCA was initially studied in rodents for the dietary treatment of obesity and the results seemed to be promising. Unfortunately randomized controlled trials in humans for this purpose showed very conflicting results. Nevertheless, HCA is a primary component of many weight loss supplements in the market, and similar to others in its class, the toxicity profile is poorly studied.”
Study #4 – HCA as a Weight Loss Supplement
This next review article was published in the Journal of Obesity Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 509038. This is the most extensive and authoritative publication about HCA as a weight loss supplement that I found. The article can be seen republished on the National Institute of Health website, Here.
It is a garcinia cambogia extract review of multiple clinical trials. 12 randomized clinical trials (RCTs) including a total of 706 participants met their inclusion criteria, and were included in this systematic review.
The authors of the above review article drew no conclusions and stated this:
“The evidence from RCTs suggests that Garcinia extracts/HCA generate weight loss on the short term. However, the magnitude of this effect is small, is no longer statistically significant when only rigorous RCTs are considered, and its clinical relevance seems questionable. Future trials should be more rigorous, longer in duration, and better reported.”
About HCA and Garcinia cambogia
HCA, a derivative of citric acid, is found mainly in a small, sweet, purple, pumpkin-shaped fruit called the Malabar tamarind or, as it is most commonly called, Garcinia cambogia. The Malabar tamarind has been used for centuries in Indian and South East Asian cooking. HCA is extracted from the dried skin of the fruit.
Some people taking Cambogia garcinia have stated that they not only lost weight but they also felt more positive, happy and had a brighter mood. This could likely be because it helps the brain produce more serotonin than usual. Serotonin is a natural chemical in the brain that controls mood levels.
HCA works in two major ways: 1) It helps the liver turn sugar into energy and not into fat so the body becomes a fat fighting machine instead of a fat absorbing machine. 2) It reduces the amount of leptin in the blood. Leptin is a hormone that triggers the sensation of hunger. This results in feeling less hungry and feeling fuller, faster, at mealtimes.