Garcinia cambogia: the useless fashion slimming supplement

More than any other slimming supplement products based or containing (or claim to contain) Garcinia cambogia are the most of what this overpopulated world is concerned . Forget the artichoke , the green tea , the coffee of the same color , the phaseolamine or any other chupi-product that crosses your mind. The truth is that they offer the same guarantees as the rest of slimming supplements, that is, none, but if you take G. Cambogia you will be up to date . In fact, it is one of the fetish supplements of the illustrious Dr. Oz and it is, without a doubt, the complement for which I was most recently asked. But before continuing we throw a little light on what is that of G. Cambogia.

The plant and the most illusory theories

In fact Garcinia cambogia is the scientific name in disuse for which the Malabar tamarind is popularly known, today truly referred to as Garcinia gummi-gutta . It is a tree or shrub that grows mainly in India and offers a fruit that looks relatively similar to a pumpkin, but smaller. Of its content in active compounds emphasizes the hydroxycitric acid , substance to which is attributed the property to inhibit an enzyme called citrate lyase and thereby decrease the synthesis of fatty acids and increase the glycogen; this effect in theory, would influence a lower sense of hunger and hence, its usefulness to lose weight.

Other sources , in my opinion little documented although very popular, also include in the composition of G. gummi-gutta a certain amount of L-carnitine. It is an element associated with alternative weight loss put into value in those more enthusiastic forums of miracle products. On the role of L-carnitine in the metabolism of fats I spoke to you in this post as it has been attributed “fat-burning” properties. To summarize, I will tell you that it is true that L-carnitine is an element that effectively involved in obtaining energy from fatty acids … but you need the amount you need and to provide more through any fool- supplements will not cause more fatty acids to be used . Let’s see with an example: one of the elements that your car needs to work is the battery, but once you have one … do you think that putting more batteries will make it work better? Well with the same L-carnitine, it is necessary but “put” more in circulation (with the taking of supplements) will not cause fats to burn faster .

Science, legislation and reality

There are numerous publications, but among the most serious studies about the usefulness of this plant or its extracts in weight loss we have this review and meta-analysis of clinical trials The Use of Garcinia Extract (Hydroxycitric Acid) as a Weight Loss Supplement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials . His conclusion, after analyzing the results of 12 clinical trials that met the minimum quality required and that included the results of more than 700 participants was:

The plant and the most illusory theories

The evidence suggests that Garcinia / hydroxycitric acid extracts favor weight loss in the short term. However, the magnitude of this effect is small and tends to disappear when the most rigorous trials are considered; besides, the clinical relevance [its general importance] seems to be questionable.

More recent but similar conclusions is this other study Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of hydroxycitric acid Garcinia cambogia or extracts in humans which states that:

There is little evidence to support the efficacy and possible long-term benefits of G. cambogia extracts. With respect to toxicity and safety, […] except in exceptional cases, studies conducted in experimental animals have not reported a significant increase in mortality or toxicity. […] In studies with humans, no differences have been described in terms of negative side effects between individuals treated with G. cambogia and controls.

And is that, however much it is more or less fashionable, the role of using phyto-supplements with extracts of this plant is not exactly recent. I have already commented that the reputation of absurd dietary approaches and miracle products responds to cycles in which the exaltation and forgetting of them are used in a commercially convenient way and by virtue of (scarce) popular memory . This being so, and as might be expected in such circumstances, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has long been consulted on the matter of being able to attribute in G. Cambogia’s commercial preparations some kind of allegation that made reference to its alleged slimming properties. . However, despite the fact that the consultation appears to have taken place in 2008 (page 55), EFSA has not yet made a statement. We will continue to wait, although whatever your opinion, mine I have quite clear.

So, as far as a more conceptual reading is concerned about this type of “aids” to lose weight, I would like you to reflect on an event. Although some medical-sanitary treatments do not directly affect the causes of the problem but nevertheless are considered valid at the same time, in the case of possible thinning with these phytotherapeutic remedies it is not related to the causes nor is there any greater evidence linking their use with no real beneficial effect . Therefore … what the hell can they serve except to make the fat broth to those who raise us false but mellifluous and attractive solutions?