Garcinia cambogia is the tamarind tree of Southeast Asia. The trees small pumpkin-shaped fruit and rind contain Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA), a natural chemical extracted for use in appetite suppressant diet supplements. National Institutes for Health lists HCA as “an ephedra-free diet aid.” Because tamarind has for centuries been used to flavor the human diet there is no concern for its safety as food. As an herbal support sold as an appetite suppressant the NIH must research toxicity.
HCA when used as an appetite suppressant is claimed to inhibit lipid synthesis and storage while burning fat. Various trials have been conducted. NIH reports a diet regimen with eight weeks of Garcinia Cambogia supplementation resulted in lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides as well as elevated serum serotonin levels. Thus, HCA combined with portion and calorie control resulted in weight loss.
Dr. Ozs website cites HCAs lift of serum serotonin as helpful for “emotional” eaters seeking an appetite suppressant. When serotonin levels rise, mood improves while anxiety and appetite lessen. The rise in serotonin also improves sleep quality.
Both the NIH and Dr. Oz caution against using HCA if pregnant or nursing or if you are diabetic, take statins or have dementia. HCA can also adversely affect heart rhythms. Heart patients taking nitrates or calcium channel blockers or muscle relaxants should not use HCA as an appetite suppressant. Consult your physician. Dr. Oz calls HCA “likely safe in normal amounts” as an appetite suppressant.