Image for Hydroxycitric acid (HCA)
Hydroxycitric acid (HCA)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Bio-Max 3000, brindal berry, brindleberry, Citrilite®, CitriMax®, gambooge, Garcinia, Garcinia atroviridis, Garcinia cambogia, Garcinia indica, Garcinia-Max Diet System, Garcinia Trim-Plus®, gorikapuli, Hibiscus sabdariffa, (-)-hydroxycitrate (HCA), Malabar tamarind, PhytriMax®, Super Garcinia®, Super Prolean® mega fat burner, SuperCitrimax®.
  • Combination products: Avesil® (Super Citrimax, chromium, and green tea extract), Awe Slim® (aloe vera juice, hydrolyzed collagen, apple cider vinegar, conjugated linoleic acid, Garcinia cambogia extract, L-carnitine, L-arginine, L-lysine and L-ornithine), Citri Chrome® (Garcinia cambogia and chromium picolinate), Citrin® (maltodextrin, Garcinia cambogia extract, microcrystalline cellulose, starch, magnesium stearate, chromium picolinate), Garcinia 1000® (chromium, picolinate, Garcinia berry extract, HCA), HCA with calcium/potassium salt (HCA-SX), Herbalife®'s "Snack Defense" tablets (Gymnema sylvestre, Chromium polynicotinate, Garcinia cambogia), Hydroxycut® (Garcinia cambogia, chromium polynicotinate, and Gymnema sylvestre; it was withdrawn from the U.S. market on May 1, 2009, for causing liver injury), Lite Bites™ (sugar, chromium picolinate, Garcinia cambogia), Metabolife® Ephedra-Free (green tea extract, Super Citrimax®, Garcinia cambogia extract, guarana extract, yerba mate extract).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • (-)-Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is the main constituent (10-30%) of the dried fruit rind of Garcinia cambogia, a plant native to Southeast Asia. It can also be found in the tropical plant Hibiscus sabdariffa.
  • The dried rind of Garcinia cambogia has been widely used as a food preservative, a flavoring agent, and a carminative, and to make meals more filling.
  • Currently, HCA is widely used as a popular dietary supplement for weight loss. HCA is the active ingredient in several over-the-counter weight loss products such as CitriMax® and Citrin®. It is a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme ATP citrate-lyase, which inhibits lipogenesis in the body (1). HCA also induces weight loss by reducing appetite, increasing fat metabolism, decreasing glycogen utilization, and lowering LDL cholesterol levels (2). HCA also enhances exercise performance by increasing fat oxidation (3). There is still conflicting evidence regarding the efficacy of HCA for enhancement of exercise performance. Further research with larger-scale clinical trials is required to determine whether HCA may promote exercise endurance through increasing fat oxidation.
  • At this time, there is a lack of high-quality human trials supporting the efficacy of HCA for any indication other than weight loss and exercise performance.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.