The Health Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia


Garcinia Cambogia, also called Malabar tamarind, is the tropical fruit of a small tree native to Southeast Asia which is commonly used as a spice in Thai and Indian cuisine. In the US, however, it’s often sold as a weight loss supplement and an exercise enhancer, and it may be one of the best protein ingredients, setting Total Gym FIT BLAST Meal Replacement shakes apart from the competition.


According to WebMD, the active constituent in Garcinia Cambogia is called hydroxycitric acid, or HCA. It turns out that HCA may block an enzyme your body needs to make fat and also may raise brain serotonin levels, which can make you feel less hungry. These two things working together may be the reason some research supports its use for losing weight.


A search on the Natural Medicine’s database, often used by functional practitioners, also shows some promising research that HCA combined with healthy diet may increase weight loss and lower Body Mass Index (BMI) more than a healthy diet alone. However, some research, using different amounts of Garcinia Cambogia extract, didn’t show the same benefits.


As far as improving sports performance, one promising study showed that taking 250 mg. of HCA daily for 5 days did improve exercise performance in untrained female athletes. However, taking 3 grams for 3 days didn’t help sedentary males much, so more research is needed to show how much should be taken for the best results, and for how long.


As with any supplements, taking too much Garcinia Cambogia may not be safe. In 2009 the Food and Drug Administration encouraged people to stop taking supplements containing Garcinia Cambogia because there were some concerns of gastrointestinal upset, and even liver damage; however, more research is needed to know if this was caused by Garcinia Cambogia or something else in the supplements being used.


An important note: if you are on a prescription antidepressant, you should avoid taking Garcinia Cambogia, as it has the potential to increase brain serotonin levels too much and cause serious side effects. Be sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions or concerns about taking Garcinia Cambogia with your current medications.


Other potential benefits of Garcinia Cambogia include improving your cell’s ability to use glucose, the sugar your cells need for energy. It may also help lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising good cholesterol levels; more research is needed in this area. In the meantime, use caution when combining Garcinia Cambogia with diabetes medications as it may cause your blood sugar to get too low.



If you’d like to try Garcinia Cambogia for weight loss and enhanced exercise performance, a good place to start is Total Gym’s FIT BLAST Meal Shakes. These protein shakes combine the best protein ingredients, Garcinia Camboga extract for enhanced weight loss and exercise performance, along with lots of other great nutrients for good health. For some great shake ideas, check out some of our recipes here, and here.


Jennifer M. Wood, MS, RD

Jennifer M Wood, MS, RDN is registered dietitian nutritionist and successful food and nutrition consultant in Southeastern Minnesota. As the founder of a nation-wide gourmet food company, Wood wrote Jenny’s Country Kitchen…recipes for making homemade a little easier! (2003), which is a timeless collection of make-ahead, freeze-ahead and pantry-stocking recipes and time saving tips to help busy families put nutritious food on table. Wood graduated with a pre-med bachelors degree in nutritional science in 2001, completed her dietetic internship in 2007 and went on to complete a master’s degree in food and nutrition in 2011.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I am going to give this a try. I have used the BeachBody meal replacement shakes but the cost is kind of high.

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