Garcinia Cambogia Extract Side Effects
Garcinia cambogia is an herb included in several supplements for weight loss and fat burning. Derived from the rind of the gamboge fruit, which is native to Asia, Garcinia cambogia extract also is used to lower high cholesterol. The active ingredient, which might have benefits for weight loss, is hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Garcinia cambogia extract is generally safe and side effects are rare.
High-Dose Side Effects
Excessive consumption of Garcinia cambogia extract can cause gastrointestinal side effects, according to EMedTV and Green Herbal Remedies. People taking large amounts of this herb might experience stomach or intestinal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Headaches are another possible side effect.
Blood Sugar Effects
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Hydroxycitric acid, the active ingredient in Garcinia cambogia extract, can lower blood sugar levels. People with diabetes might need to monitor their blood sugar more closely when taking this herb, as noted by eMedTV. Diabetic patients taking medications such as metformin or insulin to control blood sugar levels might need to have their health care provider adjust the dosage.
Some people will experience an allergic reaction to Garcinia cambogia. Signs of an allergic reaction, according to the Physicians' Desktop Reference and eMedTV, include itching, skin rash, hives, mouth or throat tingling, chest tightness, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the hands, face or throat. An allergic reaction to Garcinia cambogia should be considered a medical emergency.
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Extremely high doses of Garcinia cambogia, when fed to obese male rats, resulted not only in suppression of fat accumulation but also in testicular shrinkage, according to a study published in the March 2005 issue of Food and Chemical Toxicology. Diets with lower amounts of Garcinia cambogia did not produce this side effect, although the amounts of HCA were still high. No negative effects were seen when rats were fed 389mg per kilogram of body weight per day, translating to more than 26,000mg per day for an individual weighing about 150 lbs. In contrast, the standard dosage of HCA is 250 to 1000mg per day for adults, as noted by Holistic Herbalist.
- Extremely high doses of Garcinia cambogia, when fed to obese male rats, resulted not only in suppression of fat accumulation but also in testicular shrinkage, according to a study published in the March 2005 issue of Food and Chemical Toxicology.
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- Physicians' Desktop Reference: Garcinia Cambogia
- Green Herbal Remedies: Garcinia Cambogia
- EMedTV: Hydroxycitric Acid Safety
- Food and Chemical Toxicology: High-Dose Garcinia Cambogia Effects
- Holistic Herbalist: Garcinia Cambogia
- Chuah LO, Ho WY, Beh BK, Yeap SK. Updates on Antiobesity Effect of Garcinia Origin (-)-HCA. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013, 751658. doi:10.1155/2013/751658
- Saito M, Ueno M, Ogino S, Kubo K, Nagata J, Takeuchi M. High dose of Garcinia cambogia is effective in suppressing fat accumulation in developing male Zucker obese rats, but highly toxic to the testis. Food Chem Toxicol. 2005;43(3):411-9. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2004.11.008
- Kim KY, Lee HN, Kim YJ, Park T. Garcinia cambogia extract ameliorates visceral adiposity in C57BL/6J mice fed on a high-fat diet. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008;72(7):1772-80. doi:10.1271/bbb.80072
- Vasques CA, Rossetto S, Halmenschlager G, et al. Evaluation of the pharmacotherapeutic efficacy of Garcinia cambogia plus Amorphophallus konjac for the treatment of obesity. Phytother Res. 2008;22(9):1135-40. doi:10.1002/ptr.2323
- Hayamizu K, Hirakawa H, Oikawa D, et al. Effect of Garcinia cambogia extract on serum leptin and insulin in mice. Fitoterapia. 2003;74(3):267-73. doi:10.1016/s0367-326x(03)00036-4
- Mahendran P, Vanisree AJ, Shyamala Devi CS. The antiulcer activity of Garcinia cambogia extract against indomethacin-induced gastric ulcer in rats. Phytother Res. 2002;16(1):80-3. doi:10.1002/ptr.946
- Márquez F, Babio N, Bulló M, Salas-Salvadó J. Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of hydroxycitric acid or Garcinia cambogia extracts in humans. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2012;52(7):585-94. doi:10.1080/10408398.2010.500551
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated April 6, 2020.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Yoga: What You Need To Know. Updated May 2019.
Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.