10 Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects You Should Know About


Looking for a way to lose weight without having to do anything extra? Sounds too good to be true, and this has been the case with garcinia cambogia (GC). This small fruit is native to Southeast Asia and India that grows on a small to medium-sized tree and looks a bit like a pumpkin crossed with a tomato. It has been used as a way to lose weight naturally and for exercise performance enhancement, but you should be aware of garcinia cambogia side effects. The rind contains the active ingredient hydroxycitric acid (HCA) and is available in pill and powdered form in health food stores and online.

Claims have been made that it stabilizes blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, and lowers your appetite. Sounds like a great idea! But these claims are unreliable and not effective. We’ll review some garcinia cambogia side effects you should be aware of before you give this supplement a try.

What Is Garcinia Cambogia? 

cambogia fruits

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Garcinia cambogia is also known as a Malabar tamarind. It is said to suppress the appetite, block fat production, and increase endurance. It may be good for cholesterol and blood sugar levels. This is not something new – it has been used in Asia for years and became popular in the U.S. only recently.

It is said to be used for the following:

  • Joint pain
  • Treating parasites and worms
  • Emptying the bowel
  • Emptying the bowel

Exercise Performance 

HCA may increase endurance in women but unfortunately, the effect doesn’t seem to hold true for men.

Weight Loss

Some studies show it may work to aid in weight loss efforts, while other studies show it doesn’t work at all.

Does It Work? 

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The active ingredient HCA has been shown to suppress appetite and boost fat-burning in studies. It blocks an enzyme call citrate lyase. It also raises serotonin levels in the brain to decrease hunger. Its safety and effects are mixed.

Results are not that impressive in studies. It seems that for people who used it for weight loss, they only lost about 2 extra pounds than those who didn’t take it. Studies are still being done to find out how effective it really is. Many of the claims have not been scientifically backed, but some have.

Some claims about garcinia cambogia are that it can do the following:

  • Creates a strong desire to be physically active
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Reduces joint pain
  • Improves bowel movements
  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Increases concentration and energy

High Cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes

Blood sample

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Garcinia cambogia lowers triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol) while raises HDL (good cholesterol). However, it shouldn’t be used by those who are taking a prescription for cholesterol.

Garcinia cambogia allows the body to use glucose more efficiently, glucose is the sugar you require for energy. In a study done with mice who were given garcinia cambogia, they showed lower insulin levels. Unfortunately, the garcinia cambogia side effects are present when used with diabetes medication, as glucose levels can become dangerously low.

Garcinia Cambogia Interactions

  • Blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin
  • Statins that lower cholesterol
  • Medications used for depression and anxiety
  • Pain medications
  • Iron supplements
  • Insulin and diabetes medication
  • Allergy and asthma medication
  • Existing kidney or liver damage
  • Breastfeeding and pregnancy

What Is the Recommended Dosage?

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This depends on a persons health, age, and other factors. There isn’t enough data to say what the right dose is. Natural products are not always safe and the dosage can be important. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for information on the best dosage for you.

In studies, some people have taken between 1 to 2.8 grams a day. It is typical to take 250 to 1,000 milligrams daily. It was taken over a period of 2 to 12 weeks. It isn’t clear what an optimal dose is, but higher dosages may have an effect on weight loss. Garcinia cambogia is a widely used supplement, but there needs to be more research to see what long-term effects are.

What Is It Used For?

Weight Loss

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Garcinia cambogia may, in fact, be good at producing minimal weight loss, but there are health concerns to consider. Its effectiveness is not consistent nor is it very strong. The enzyme HCA blocks adenosine triphosphate citrate lyase which contributes to the production of fat cells and was found to only decrease weight on average 1 to 2 pounds. There was no proof that garcinia cambogia was actually the reason for the weight loss.

Garcinia cambogia side effects include digestive issues that were twice as common compared to a placebo group in a study. A couple of studies report that there was a significant decrease in visceral, subcutaneous, and total fat, whereas other studies found there was no difference. Garcinia cambogia used for 12 weeks showed no significant results. The overall opinion is that the effects were minimal and more research should be done.

Lowering Appetite

Studies have found that by increasing serotonin in the brain, the appetite was lowered. The risks of garcinia cambogia side effects seem to outweigh the benefits, however, and there are better ways to decrease the desire for comfort foods and produce calm and happy feelings. Eating healthy carbs throughout the day and balanced meals that contain protein are a safer way to go.

Lowering Cholesterol

There is some evidence that Garcinia cambogia has lowered triglycerides and improved cholesterol levels, it may even raise HDL. But it isn’t safe for those on cholesterol medication. The effect it has doesn’t seem to warrant the risk. Studies have shown that HGC has no significant effect on glucose levels or triglycerides, but may have a slight benefit in lowering cholesterol. There are other ways to improve cholesterol such as by eating beans, seeds, nuts, veggies, and getting plenty of exercise.

Stabilizing Blood Sugar

There is some proof that garcinia cambogia can help to control blood sugar by effecting how the cells use glucose for energy production. It may inhibit pancreatic amylase enzyme which changes fatty acid synthesis and alters intestinal alpha glucosidase. This may alter how carbs are metabolized. It could help the body process insulin better. It can also raise the risk of low blood sugar in some. For those with a history of being diabetic, prediabetic, have blood sugar swings, or who are on diabetes medication, garcinia cambogia could drop blood sugar to dangerous levels.

10 Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects You Should Know About

Tree of Garcinia Cambogia

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The FDA warned that people should stop using garcinia cambogia, as some were reporting serious liver problems. There are mixed reviews about whether garcinia cambogia alone was to blame. Some people have ended up needing liver transplants after taking it. This supplement is not well-regulated. Some garcinia cambogia side effects include the following:

  1. Dizziness or weakness
  2. Dry mouth and bad breath
  3. Headache
  4. Diarrhea or upset stomach
  5. Liver damage/failure
  6. Anxiety
  7. Fatigue and brain fog
  8. Skin rashes
  9. Lowered immune system
  10. Mania which includes irritability, decreased need to sleep, fast speech, overexcitement, delusions, and euphoria

Warnings and Precautions

  • Garcinia cambogia should not be used when nursing or with pregnant women.
  • Bipolar disorder is said to worsen with garcinia cambogia. Manic symptoms may present themselves as garcinia cambogia side effects
  • Liver disease can worsen with garcinia cambogia. It should be avoided in those with liver or kidney issues.

Reliable Methods to Lose Weight

Given the side effects of this supplement, here are safer ways to lose weight:

  • Using essential oils for aromatherapy such as ginger, cinnamon, and grapefruit
  • Scheduling workouts and making sure to follow through
  • Adding more movement into your day such as taking the stairs and parking a bit further away from your destination
  • Wearing a fitness tracker for motivation
  • Standing up for part of the day – sitting contributes to a higher risk of obesity and generally being overweight
  • Changing up your exercise routine with yoga, weight training, group workouts, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Eating probiotic foods or taking supplements to help balance your digestive system and hormones
  • Including more protein in your diet such as wild-caught fish and cage-free eggs
  • Using adaptagens such as rhodiola, ginseng, and maca to control conditions that make weight loss difficult
  • Eating and cooking with healthy fats that include seeds, nuts, grass-fed beef, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil
  • Eating more fiber from seeds, sprouted legumes, ancient grains, and veggies
  • Getting enough sleep, 7 to 9 hours on average


Garcinia Cambogia fruit

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This small Asian fruit has been touted as offering great weight loss and endurance benefits. The active ingredient HCA is what is responsible for some people reporting that it can produce weight loss. The draw of garcinia cambogia is that it takes the effort out of weight loss as there is no need to change your diet or increase exercise. This product has been used in Asia for a long time and is a recent trend in the U.S. after being seen on television and in the media. People have been looking for a miracle in garcinia cambogia – hoping they can finally shed the pounds.

There is some evidence that it works a little, but the garcinia cambogia side effects outweigh any benefit it may provide. Just because garcinia cambogia is a natural supplement doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Reviews have been mixed, and it seems that it is best to be safe than sorry. What really works for weight loss is living a healthy lifestyle.