Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit found in Asia, Australia, and Africa that contains chemicals believed to have a broad variety of health benefits. Chemicals found in Garcinia have been shown to cause weight loss, produce an anti-oxidant effect, and fight inflammation.
Unfortunately, it’s still not exactly known why these chemicals have the effects they do. While garcinia can be very effective, it also may have unexpected side effects. No long term studies on Garcinia’s effects have been done on humans.
Low Blood Sugar
The most common garcinia cambogia side effects relate to blood sugar levels. Blood sugar may drop as a result of taking garcinia. If you’re diabetic, hypoglycemic, or otherwise taking supplements or drugs that may affect your blood sugar levels, you should be very careful about taking garcinia cambogia.
The effects of garcinia cambogia on blood sugar are due to the hydroxycitric acid that the fruit contains. Since hydroxocitric acid is also the compound that produces weight loss, taking Garcinia extracts or hydroxocitric acid isolates will not prevent blood sugar levels from changing.
Garcinia cambogia side effects may also include allergic reactions. Allergic reaction symptoms and signs could range from itching and skin rash to chest tightness, swelling of extremeties, and difficulty breathing. If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of having an allergic reaction after taking garcinia cambogia, it should be treated as a medical emergency.
Side Effects Associated with High Doses
In high doses, Garcinia cambogia can also produce more serious side effects. Taking too much of the herb can negatively affect the gastrointestinal system. The symptoms of taking too much garcinia cambogia may include intestinal or stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Headaches may also appear after taking too much Garcinia cambogia.
In extremely high doses, studies on obese male rats showed that Garcinia may have even more serious effects. Scientists found that while extremely high doses did indeed suppress the accumulation of fat in the rats, those doses also produced testicular shrinkage. Published in Food and Chemical Toxicology’s March 2005 issue, the study showed that — at least among rats — a slightly lower but nevertheless very high amount of Garcinia cambogia did not produce this effect.
When the rats received 389mg Garcinia per kilogram body weight daily, the equivalent of a 150lb person taking 26,000mg a day, the testicular shrinkage did not appear. Normal dosage for adults taking Garcinia is 1500mg to 3000mg daily.
In very rare cases, Garcinia cambogia may be linked to a disease called rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolsis is a potentially fatal condition which involves the body’s muscles deteriorating. Garcinia cambogia was potentially linked to this condition in a single case where a person had taken an herbal weight loss supplement that contained Garcinia cambogia extract. Since the herbal remedy also contained substances and extracts from several other herbs, the link between Garcinia and rhabdomyolsis is not at all clear.
Columbia University Study
Lastly, a Columbia University study found patients taking Garcinia complained of experiencing headaches as well as gastrointestinal problems and upper respiratory trouble. However, the rate at which these side effects were reported was not significantly higher than in the patients who took a placebo (sham) pill.
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(Last Updated July, 2014 )
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