A Review of the Weight Loss Effects of Garcinia Cambogia

Dr. OzSince making its debut on the Dr. Oz show in late 2012, Garcinia Cambogia has gone from almost total obscurity to becoming a global phenomenon and veritable superstar of the weight loss industry. Such is the excitement surrounding this exotic but unremarkable looking fruit that it is regarded by some as the holy grail of dietary supplements, and, unlike many similar products which are soon forgotten, its celebrity status has continued undiminished.

In New Zealand, as in the rest of the developed world, many people are living increasingly busy lives and as a result find it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Poor diet and lack of exercise have contributed to an epidemic of obesity and an associated increase in the incidence of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Under these circumstances the convenience offered by supplements such as Garcinia Cambogia has obvious appeal, but can it really deliver on its promise of easy and painless weight loss?

What is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia Cambogia extract is a natural dietary supplement derived from the fruit of Garcinia gummi-gutta, a  tree native to Indonesia. A tropical plant species now found throughout South and South-East Asia, as well as parts of Africa, it is known by a variety of different names, including Gambooge, and Malabar Tamarind. The fruit of this small to medium sized tree is roughly pumpkin shaped and varies in size between an orange and a grapefruit. The fruit’s colour is highly variable and is dependent on its general environment and maturity. Most often it is a shade of yellow or green, but reddish coloured fruits are not uncommon.

In the countries of South and South-East Asia the fruit has, for many centuries, been used for a combination of medicinal and culinary purposes. All parts of the fruit are used, including, and in particular, the rind, which is garcinia cambogiadried and used as a spice/condiment, and also as a food preservative. The rind also contains most of the active ingredient, hydroxycitric acid (HCA), used in the formulation of Garcinia Cambogia weight loss supplements.

As in many Asian cuisines, where food is typically valued as much for its medicinal as it is for purely nutritional properties, it is used as a treatment and cure for a variety of ailments including rheumatism and bowel complaints. Even in traditional societies, it has been recognized for its ability to promote weight loss. In Malaysia, for example, it is sometimes used to make a soup which is served before meals in order to suppress appetite.

Key Benefits

Garcinia Cambogia contains significant amounts of Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) and is, in fact, the only practical source of this organic compound. The results of a study conducted by the department of physiology at Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington D.C., concluded that HCA is, “a safe, natural supplement for weight management.”

The reason this extract has proven so effective from a slimming perspective is due to the fact that it not only functions as a fat blocker by preventing the formation of fat cells, but also as an appetite suppressant, making you feel full for longer. By reinforcing each other, both sides of this dual action form a potent fat burning combination. A compelling demonstration of this is provided by the results of one independent study which demonstrated Garcinia Cambogia based supplements to be 2-3 times more effective at burning fat compared to dieting and exercise. It is important to remember, however, that regular exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.

In addition to contributing to weight loss in the two aforementioned ways, there are a number of additional benefits which can accelerate the process while at the same time producing metabolic conditions more favourable to maintaining a healthy weight. A summary of these includes the following:

  • stress: lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol

  • mood: stimulates production of serotonin

  • insulin resistance: lowers blood sugar levels

  • body composition: more lean muscle less fat

How Does it Work?

The primary means by which Garcinia Cambogia prevents fat storage is through the ability of its active ingredient HCA to block the enzyme responsible for converting sugars into fat cells. The sugars that would have otherwise been deposited as fat on your hips, thighs, or elsewhere, are instead converted to glycogen to be used as a ready source of fuel for your muscles. A notable consequence of this process is an improvement in the ratio of lean muscle to fat, an important indicator of general health and degree of fitness. As muscle burns approximately 10 times more calories than fat, having a higher proportion of lean muscle is, in itself, a significant advantage.

One often overlooked aspect of weight management has to do with the role of psychological and emotional factors in determining our dietary habits. Many people turn to food as a way of dealing with depression or to help them cope with stressful situations, and without first addressing the underlying issues our efforts at long term weight loss will, more often than not, end in frustration and despair.

In most cases the neurotransmitter Serotonin plays, to some extent at least, a causal role in these self-destructive behaviours. By correcting Serotonin imbalances in the brain,  supplements containing HCA   function as a natural appetite suppressant, helping emotional eaters to control their unhealthy eating habits, and breaking the vicious cycle of depression and overeating.

Although most of us are already aware that high stress levels are strongly correlated with a range of serious health issues, less well known is the fact that it can also make us fat. High amounts of the stress hormone cortisol are associated with an increase in belly fat in particular, which poses an especially high risk with regard to a number of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Once again, Garcinia Cambogia extract is thought to have a moderating influence on levels of this hormone, helping you achieve a slimmer figure as well as protecting you against the associated health risks.


Garcinia Cambogia has been subjected to numerous in-vitro and clinical studies over many years, none of which point to any serious safety concerns with respect to its use as a dietary supplement. However, as supplements are prepared using a variety of different ingredients determined by individual manufacturers, any unwanted side effects are more likely to be the result of formulations using potentially harmful fillers, binders, or artificial ingredients. This point highlights the importance of buying only from a reputable supplier, although there are systems in place designed to protect consumers.

The United States is by far the largest market for dietary and herbal supplements, and in order to sell their products there, manufacturers and distributors are required to adhere to strict FDA regulations. These include accurate labelling and conducting whatever tests are necessary to ascertain the safety of their products.

New Zealand consumers also have a similar level of protection under the provisions set out in the Dietary Supplements Regulations (1985), which likewise calls for tests to screen for potentially dangerous side effects, and labels containing important information relating to the product, its ingredients, and safe dosage. Although the system here, as in the U.S., places the onus on vendors to ensure compliance with the relevant guidelines, severe penalties are imposed on those who are found to be in breach of the law.

Garcinia Cambogia in New Zealand

Garcinia Cambogia Select is one of the best selling and most trusted herbal supplement brands on the market. Although not quite a magic pill, it ticks all the right boxes in terms of delivering real and measurable results without compromising your lifestyle.