We are currently investigating weight loss claims concerning Garcinia cambogia, which is promoted and advertised as a supplement that burns fat and controls appetite, even though prevailing science does not appear to support these claims. Specifically, concern is focused on formulations that contain Garcinia cambogia at a dose of 100 milligrams (mgs) and chromium at a dose of 200 micrograms.
A small, pumpkin-shaped fruit, Garcinia cambogia is popularly known as tamarind; its extract is known as hydroxycitric acid (HCA)—the key component in supplements now garnering enormous popularity for their alleged magical weight-loss and hunger-suppressant properties. The fruit is natural to India, where it is known as gamboge, and Southeast Asia, where it is used as a food source, according to a Vancouver Sun report.
Science Does Not Back Garcinia Weight Loss Claims
The truth is, there is no science to support claims of meaningful weight loss tied to Garcinia cambogia with chromium supplements. For example, in 1998, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that, following a 12-week, randomized double-blind study, when compared to a placebo, researchers found that Garcinia cambogia produced no significant fat reduction or weight loss, according to a recent LiveScience.com report. Participants included overweight men and women.
In 2004, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a systematic review of both meta-analyses and clinical trials of a variety of over-the-counter weight loss aids, including Garcinia cambogia. The review was carried out by complementary medicine researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, the Vancouver Sun report indicated, and revealed that none of the weight loss aids worked, including the Garcinia cambogia products reviewed. In fact, the report indicated that “none of the reviewed dietary supplements,” which included Garcinia cambogia, “can be recommended for over-the-counter use.”
In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Safety Warning following 20 reports of severe reactions, including liver damage, associated with the weight loss product, Hydroxycut. At that time, Garcinia cambogia extract was one of the listed ingredients in the product.
In 2010, the peer-reviewed Journal of Obesity, a meta-analysis of studies that had tested Garcinia cambogia as a weight loss aid, were reviewed. Of 23 identified trials, 12 were found to be sufficiently methodologically sound to include in the analysis. While some statistically significant weight loss was seen in the short term, the researchers found that “the magnitude of the effect is small and the clinical relevance is uncertain.” They also found that adverse gastrointestinal events were twice as likely to occur in the group taking Garcinia cambogia when compared to the placebo group, according to the Vancouver Sun report.
A review this year in the journal Complementary Theories in Medicine involved a research evaluation of clinical trials that used plant extracts as potential obesity treatments. The review revealed that, in the majority of cases, the evidence was not convincing.
Another study, published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, involved a test of high doses of Garcinia cambogia extract. While weight loss was seen in obese laboratory animals, the high dose was tied to testicular atrophy and toxicity, according to the LifeScience.com report.
In fact, according to a recent Vancouver Sun report, most of the testing on Garcinia cambogia has not been conducted on human subjects and those that have are considered badly designed.
ConsumerLab.com, an independent health products quality and safety tester, reviewed 11 of what it considered to be the most popular Garcinia cambogia supplements. Six contained significantly less HCA than was indicated on the product labeling; one only contained about 16 percent of the HCA advertised. According to Tod Cooperman, MD, president of ConsumerLab.com, “Most [garcinia] products on the market don’t actually deliver what’s listed on their labels.”
Supplements Containing at least 100 milligrams of Garcinia cambogia and 200 micrograms of Chromium
- The Vitamin Shoppe: Citrimax Plus Chromium Picolinate
- Piping Rock: Garcinia cambogia Plus Chromium Picolinate
- Total Nutrition: Pure Garcinia cambogia w/HCA (Hydroxycitric Acid)
- Vitacost CitriMax®: Garcinia cambogia Extract with Chromium Picolinate
Garcinia is known by an array of names, according to a WebMD report, including: Acide Hydroxycitrique, AHC, Brindal Berry, Brindle Berry, Cambogia gummi-guta, Garcinia Cambogi, Garcinia cambogia, Garcinia gummi-guta, Garcinia quaesita, Gorikapuli, Hydroxycitrate, Hydroxycitric Acid, HCA, Kankusta, Malabar Tamarind, Mangostana cambogia, Tamarinier de Malabar, Vrikshamla. This means that products containing Garcinia cambogia with chromium, might not be very obviously labeled. The list above represents just a few of the supplements on the market that contain Garcinia cambogia and Chromium.
Garcinia Side Effects
Another LiveScience.com report indicated that Garcinia cambogia is associated with a number of side effects, including that the diet aid may lower blood sugar, which means that Garcinia cambogia might interact with diabetes treatments. Garcinia cambogia has not been sufficiently studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women and might be problematic in patients diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, according to LiveScience.com.
A Truth in Advertising report took issue with at least one website touting Garcinia cambogia as a diet aid that “causes significant weight loss, lowers food intake and body weight gain as well as tackling factors such as cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, triglycerides and serum leptin levels. There were no side effects reported.” This seller suggested its claims are backed by three separate studies; however, science questions the validity of these studies. Citing The Journal of Obesity Research study, Truth in Advertising revealed that each of the 23 studies, including three of those cited by the site selling the supplement, “had one or more methodological weaknesses.”
The Truth in Advertising report also discussed the various adverse reactions associated with Garcinia cambogia, including gastrointestinal problems and hepatoxicity (liver toxicity). Also, Ann Lobb, a public health consultant, wrote to the editor of The World Journal of Gastroenterology about the supplement, stating: “Each case report has similarities both in reported liver screening abnormalities and symptoms reported by patients, all of who [sic] were otherwise healthy and experienced normalized hepatic function once they stopped taking the supplement.” Ms. Lobb’s letter criticized the FDA for not adequately regulating supplements and stated that “consumers in effect become unwitting subjects in a large scale post-marketing trial of a product’s safety.” Truth in Advertising suggests that consumers “Avoid this expensive and unproven weight loss supplement.”
Garcinia Cambogia Class Action Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has purchased a product containing Garcinia cambogia fill out our online form or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to learn your rights.