7 Amazing Garcinia Cambogia Benefits – Weight Loss, Stress Relief

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Dr. Krisel Nagallo

Garcinia cambogia has become well known across the world in recent years for its health benefits, including its ability to aid in weight loss, increase metabolism, boost energy levels, reduce stress, fight depression, lower cholesterol, and regulate blood sugar.

What is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia cambogia (now Garcinia gummi-gutta) is a small light-green/yellow pumpkin-shaped fruit. Other (common) names include Malabar tamarind and Brindleberry. [1]

Thriving in tropical settings, this tree is primarily grown in Southeast Asia, India, and Africa, and it is widely used in traditional recipes, as well as curries in a number of Asian countries. Various parts of the fruit and its extracts can be used for different flavor profiles, and it is also known as a traditional remedy for a wide range of afflictions.

Nutrition Facts

Mangosteen, canned, syrup pack
Serving Size :
Water [g]80.94
Energy 73
Energy [kJ]305
Protein [g]0.41
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.58
Ash [g]0.16
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]17.91
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.8
Calcium, Ca [mg]12
Iron, Fe [mg]0.3
Magnesium, Mg [mg]13
Phosphorus, P [mg]8
Potassium, K [mg]48
Sodium, Na [mg]7
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.21
Copper, Cu [mg]0.07
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.1
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]2.9
Thiamin [mg]0.05
Riboflavin [mg]0.05
Niacin [mg]0.29
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.03
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.02
Folate, total [µg]31
Folate, food [µg]31
Folate, DFE [µg]31
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]2
Carotene, beta [µg]16
Carotene, alpha [µg]1
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]9
Vitamin A, IU [IU]35
Sources include : USDA [2]

Nutritional Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia

The active ingredient in garcinia cambogia, which makes it appealing for weight loss and health enthusiasts alike, is called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). The HCA, combined with the other nutrients and organic compounds found in the extract, do have the potential for powerful effects on the body. However, excessive consumption of the extract has also been linked to liver toxicity, so moderation is key. [3]

Garcinia cambogia was largely unknown, but it exploded onto the international scene following claims of its miraculous effects on weight loss. Since then, it has become available all across the world, and while its proposed effects on weight loss are still hotly debated in many fitness and health fad circles, the extract does appear to have a number of other health effects on the body that are beneficial in various ways.

Health Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia

Let’s take a closer look at some of the impressive health benefits of garcinia cambogia.

Promotes Weight Loss

Preliminary studies show HCA can inhibit the enzymes involved in fat production while increasing glycogen storage in skeletal muscle after exercise. Yet clinical studies in humans are lacking so the use of this botanical for weight loss alone may not be reliable. [4] [5]

According to a later study published in the JAMA Network, Dr. Heymsfield et al. had reported that “Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss [in humans] beyond that observed with a placebo.” [6]

Improves Metabolism

If you want to boost your metabolism, which means even faster results in the weight-loss realm, adding garcinia cambogia to your daily routine is a wise choice. Increased metabolism means more immediate energy and less packaging of calories into adipose fat. HCA works on biochemical pathways that decrease LDL cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar and insulin response.

Close-up of fresh and green garcinia cambogia on a wooden table

Garcinia cambogia is also known as the Malabar tamarind. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Increases Energy

Many people experience fatigue and muscle weakness after they begin to shed those extra pounds. This makes sense because there are more calories (and therefore energy) packed into fat tissue when compared to carbohydrates. Garcinia cambogia extract can help combat this – by giving an energetic burst that can overcome those weight-loss moments of exhaustion. [7]

Suppresses Appetite

This is another way that garcinia cambogia is able to help people lose weight, which is why it is now included in dozens of different weight loss supplements and products. Garcinia cambogia-derived natural HCA (hydroxycitric acid) has been proven beneficial in controlling appetite by Dr. Sunny Ohia et al., Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, Omaha, US. By suppressing the appetite, it trains the body to eat only at certain times, and in specific amounts. If you are trying to lose weight, those in-between snacks can be the hardest things to avoid, so keeping your appetite in check with this extract is very wise. [8]

Reduces Stress

Preliminary studies showed the compound HCA present in the extract can regulate cortisol levels in the blood, which is one of the most common stress hormones. By reducing the level of stress hormones and controlling anxiety, this herbal supplement can help improve the health and functioning of all your organ systems, and cut down on oxidative stress throughout the body. Another study did not demonstrate this effect so Garcinia cambogia may not have as direct of an effect on stress. [9]

Helps with Depression

The organic compounds found in garcinia cambogia can decrease the tendency towards depressants by releasing serotonin into the body, which is the “satisfaction” or “pleasure” hormone. Perhaps this can work as a self-fulfilling cycle. Using this herbal extract, one can lose weight, feel uplifted and encouraged, and then determined to continue on and achieve the goal. This ability to stabilize the mood is based on the effect of HCA on neurotransmitters, and the lowered levels of stress can often contribute to treating long-term depression. [10]

Lowers Cholesterol

The other major way that garcinia cambogia is able to help those who use it for weight loss is by optimizing the cholesterol balance in the body. HCA and other compounds in this herb are able to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This will help reduce your likelihood of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes, while also lowering blood pressure and giving you more energy for your daily tasks. The hypocholesterolemic effect of garcinia cambogia is confirmed by a study published in the Phytotherapy Research journal. [11]

Regulates Blood Sugar

For people suffering from diabetes, turning to garcinia cambogia is an excellent choice to control blood sugar levels while regulating metabolism as a complementary treatment. It can ensure that there are no unexpected drops or spikes in blood sugar, which can have terrible consequences. Garcinia cambogia extracts efficiently improved glucose metabolism in mice models, as per a study cited in Elsevier’s Fitoterapia journal. [12]

Word of Caution: Again, while it can be tempting to overdo things that we know are good for us, there is still quite a bit we do not know about garcinia cambogia. What is clear is that excessive consumption of this plant can cause liver toxicity, ketoacidosis, and pancreatitis, so even after adding it to your health regimen, it should be taken in moderation. More human clinical trials that investigate the role of Garcinia cambogia are warranted before the extensive use of this supplement is recommended. [13]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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