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What Is Garcinia Cambogia — And What Should You Use It For?

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What Is Garcinia Cambogia, And What Should You Use It For?

Could the next fad to weight management help or hurt you?

For the last couple of years, Garcinia Cambogia has been making headlines with its appeal to the mass consumer, promising proper help with weight control and management. Stars like the Kardashians have mentioned trying or using it, and it's been featured in tabloids left and right. 

But with all the fame and popularity, is it safe to use? We spoke with various medical professionals and nutritionists all about this miracle product, and if it could be a right tool for you to use. 

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What is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia Cambogia is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia and India that’s typically used in traditional cooking to the region (think curries and chutneys). Throughout history, it's also been used in Ayurveda medicine to help activate digestion and support a normal appetite in the regions they grow. 

But in more recent years, Dr. Saman Faramarzi, ND, a Naturopathic Doctor and Founder of SAFA Wellness, explains, "Garcinia Cambogia extract has been popularized as a miracle weight loss drug. However, just as there are no shortcuts to achievingany goals, there is no such thing as a miracle weight loss drug." 

But there are a few benefits to Garcinia Cambogia.

1. It supresses appetite.

"Garcinia Cambogia is known to suppress your appetite and make you feel full," says Nate Masterson, head of natural product development for Maple Holistics. "This is due to the fact that the active ingredient, hydroxycitric acid, increases serotonin in the brain, which is the hormone associated with appetite control."

2. It maintains the body's blood sugar.

"The key active ingredient in Garcinia Cambogia thought to help with weight loss is hydroxycitric acid (HCA). However, modern studies have been mixed. Some studies show that it helps stabilize blood sugar levels by improving insulin resistance, and some also show that it helps improve cholesterol levels," says Dr. Faramarzi.

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While it's hard for us to mentally wrap our minds around what unstabailized blood sugar looks like, we spoke to Lisa Richards, a nutritionist and expert on low-sugar diets, about how these effects can change our bodies and how Garcinia can help.

"Regulating bloog sugar levels is particularly helpful for those suffering from diabetes, but it can also help with other conditions. For example, if you regularly experience mid-afternoon crashes in your energy levels, or wake up at 3 AM with low blood sugar, Garcinia could prevent this from happening.

Another area where more stable blood sugar levels can help is with gut imbalances. Conditions like Candida and SIBO often have high blood sugar as one of their major causes. Garcinia can stabilize your blood glucose and, when used with a healthy low-sugar diet, deprive those pathogenic microorganisms of at least some of the sugar they need to thrive," Richards advises.

But you also need to beware of the side effects of using this product. According to Dr. Faramarzi, the negatives may outweigh the benefits.

"Because there are concerns about side effects — including liver damage, fatigue, dizziness, and digestive issues — I recommend that you consult your medical professional, whether it’s your primary care physician or a naturopathic doctor. When choosing Garcinia Cambogia extract to purchase, it’s important to find ones that are not mixed with any other 'weight loss' supplement.

I recommend BareOrganics Garcinia Cambogia extract as it’s pure, raw, and organic. It’s also sustainability and responsibility sourced, USDA organic, and non-GMO, which is very important when you’re looking for any superfruits, adaptogens, and herbs to add to your lifestyle."

As we said early, there's no such thing as a miracle pill. It takes time and effort to get the body in a healthy and proper state.

Dr. Faramarzi reccommends to those looking to Garcinia Cambogia to help manage their weight, "incorporating it into a healthy lifestyle that’s complete with exercise and a nurtitional diet that’s low in carbs and animal products, and high in proteins and healthy fats." 

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Elizabeth Blasi is a New Yorker. A lifestyle & travel writer, who is often seen with a suitcase in hand, jetsetting to her next location. But as a true Digital Nomad, her love of writing and romance novels means her laptop is always beside her.

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