Secrets of Nutrition
& Sports Supplements






Supplement Reviews


HCA (hydroxycitric acid-Garcinia Cambogia)


HCA ((-)-hydroxycitric acid or (-)-hydroxycitrate) is the main acid derived from the fruit of the garcinia cambogia tree, found mainly in South and Southeast Asia.  This is

certainly not a new ingredient.  In fact, it has been studied quite extensively for years. 

One of the main claims of this nutrient is appetite suppression through enhancement of serotonin levels by stimulating its release and inhibiting its re-uptake.  Increasing serotonin levels has been shown to decrease food intake, enhance mood, and lower weight gain.  Controlling food intake is a key determining factor to losing fat and late night binges do not help! It is theorized to help with weight loss by inhibiting an enzyme called ATP citrate lyase (this enzyme helps convert excess carbohydrates to fat in the liver).  But the main question has been whether or not this enzyme is very active in humans. 


Animal studies have been fairly clear in the results they have shown regarding the usefulness of this ingredient.   However, that doesn’t really mean much to the average person looking to lose weight (unless you’re a rat of course).  Human studies with HCA have been equivocal (show mixed results). Several studies show no effect of HCA on weight loss while some other studies show good effects from this ingredient.  One fairly large, well controlled study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 on HCA concluded that “Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo.” This study used a lower dose of 1500 mg daily of HCA and the subjects in the study were on a low calorie diet.  These may be some reasons why the HCA did not produce significant results.  Higher doses seem to be necessary to have effect on weight/fat loss. Other studies on HCA using a similar dose have shown no significant effect as well.  However, a very recent study led by Dr. Harry Preuss of Georgetown University Medical Center showed much better results with HCA supplementation.  This study showed that individuals using HCA lost a significant amount of more weight, lowered their cholesterol (and raised their HDL-good cholesterol), and experienced appetite suppression through increased serotonin levels after 8 weeks of supplementation. The HCA used in this study was a more potent extract called Super CitriMax ® from Interhealth.  “Super CitriMax is safe to use and may hold the key to long-term weight maintenance and reduction of obesity health risk.” says Dr. Preuss.   The dosage and timing of ingestion is the key with HCA supplementation.  This Super Citrimax® study used 2800 mg of HCA daily given thirty minutes before meals in three divided doses.  On the contrary, another recent study suggests lower doses may be useful for appetite suppression with HCA supplementation. This study out of the Netherlands showed that 300 mg HCA taken three times daily reduced energy intake while sustaining satiety--eat less, still feel satisfied (what a concept!). 


DOSAGE: HCA should be taken thirty minutes before meals three times daily for at least 4 weeks.  An efficacious dose for weight loss is 2500 to 3000 mg daily of active HCA (after standardization from garcinia cambogia) in divided doses.  For appetite suppression effects, lower doses may be helpful.  Keep in mind that HCA may not be useful with low carbohydrate or very low calorie diet plans.  HCA seems to be very safe with no side effects reported in the majority of the human studies.  Although, not highly rated, it may be effective nonetheless.


Back to Supplements Main Page




© 2002-2005 Supplement Research Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

The content on this site is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a qualified physician.

Please consult a doctor before starting any nutrition, training, and supplementation program.