Printed version of www.consumerlab.com/review/garcinia_hydroxycitric-acid_HCA-weight-loss/garcinia/ Product Review: Garcinia Cambogia (HCA) Supplements Posted: 11/9/13 Last Update: 4/15/14 Sections: Jump to a section by clicking on its name. What It Is What It Does Quality Concerns and What CL Tested For What CL Found Test Results by Product What to Consider When Buying What to Consider When Using Concerns and Cautions Full List of Ingredients by Product How Products Were Evaluated Update: Labrada Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia (12/6/2013): Labrada Nutrition, the distributor of this product which ConsumerLab.com (CL) found to contain only 60.2% of its expected HCA (as noted below), provided CL with test results from an independent laboratory suggesting that this product and the ingredient used to produce it contain the expected, listed amounts of HCA. Noting that the results provided by Labrada were based on tests conducted just recently (mid-November), CL asked Labrada to supply the original test results for both the ingredient and the product (Lot# 80310513 with expiration date of 06/2015), as would have been conducted under current Good Manufacturing Practices before the product was originally marketed, but Labrada declined to provide this. However, per CL's policy, Labrada requested that CL send an unopened bottle of CL's retained sample of the product for retesting to an agreed-upon laboratory using an agreed-upon test method. Labrada agreed to publish the results of that re-test on its website, as required under CL's policy. Results of the re-test performed on November 26 found the product to contain only 49.1% of its listed HCA an amount even lower than found in earlier tests by CL. As required under ConsumerLab's retesting protocol, Labrada has posted information about the retesting on its website (including a PDF version). Although not originally disclosed to ConsumerLab.com prior to the retesting, website (including a PDF version). Although not originally disclosed to ConsumerLab.com prior to the retesting, Labrada now notes having found variation in the amounts of HCA within the same lot of product ranging from 81.2% to 98.3% in other recent tests by an independent laboratory commissioned by it. According to Labrada's Vice President for Research and Product Development, Dave Ramirez, "Labrada is continuing to investigate the variation in test results in order to do what can be done to ensure that Labrada products continue to meet label claims." What It Is: Garcinia cambogia (G. cambogia) is a plant native to Indonesia. "Garcinia" dietary supplements generally contain extracts of the dried rind of the fruit of this plant. The compound hydroxycitric acid (HCA), believed to be a key active Garcinia component for biological effects, naturally comprises up to 30% of the weight of the dried rind and typically, 50% to 60% of the weight of extracts made from the dried rind. What It Does: The evidence that HCA from Garcinia aids weight loss is mixed. Laboratory studies of HCA given to animals have demonstrated suppression of food intake and decreased body weight gain. A possible biochemical basis for HCAs effect comes from its ability to suppress the production of fatty acids (and fats) through its inhibition of a cellular enzyme. Although early studies in people suggested a weight loss benefit, these were small studies with various weaknesses in their design. The first well-controlled clinical trial found that a G. cambogia extract (standardized to 50% HCA) failed to produce significant loss of weight and fat mass beyond that observed with placebo (Heymsfield, JAMA 1998). That study involved 135 overweight men and women (many of whom were markedly obese) who were given 1,000 mg of the extract 30 minutes before each meal (a total daily dose of 3,000 mg containing 1,500 mg of HCA). During the 12-week study, participants were put on a high-fiber, low-calorie diet. It has been suggested that the high-fiber diet may have impaired HCA absorption (Badmaev, JAMA 1999), although this is speculative. Two years later, a 12-week study of overweight women found that those given G. cambogia extract lost more weight than those given placebo (8.2 lbs vs. 5.3 lbs), although there was no decrease in appetite (Mattes, Physiol Behav 2000). The participants were put on a low-calorie diet and encouraged to exercise. They took 800 mg of G. cambogia extract (50% HCA) 30 to 60 minutes before each meal, for a daily total of 2,400 mg of extract containing 1,200 mg of HCA. Interestingly, a small number of men were initially included in this study but their results, which showed no significant difference from placebo, were excluded from the overall findings. A smaller, 2-week study in men showed no effect on appetite or weight loss in those taking 500 mg of HCA three times daily (Kovacs, Int J Obes 2001). One study which suggested an effect on reducing appetite and food intake but not a significant reduction in body weight or body mass index (BMI) had subjects take G. cambogia extract (60% HCA) 1 hour before lunch and dinner and 2 hours after dinner to prevent snacking in the evening. In this two-week study, each dose was 500 mg of extract for a daily total of 1,500 mg of extract containing 900 mg of HCA (Westerterp-Plantenga, Int J Obesity 2002). What to make of all this? The evidence suggests that HCA may, in some situations, modestly help with weight loss. HCA may be more effective in women than men and in people who are not markedly obese. As discussed in the What to Consider When Using section, when and how you take the supplement may be important in determining its efficacy. See the Weight Loss Supplements Review for information about other weight loss ingredients used in supplements. See the Weight Loss Supplements Review for information about other weight loss ingredients used in supplements. Quality Concerns: Due to promotion of Garcinia as a weight loss ingredient in the popular media, including the Dr. Oz Show in October 2012, many products are currently on the market and being actively promoted. In ConsumerLab.com's experience, the rapid introduction of new products to meet a sudden demand for a supplement often results in a high percentage of products of poor quality. Neither the FDA nor any other federal or state agency routinely tests Garcinia or other supplements for their quality. ConsumerLab.com, as part of its mission to independently evaluate products that affect health, wellness, and nutrition, purchased Garcinia dietary supplements sold in the U.S. Products were tested to determine how much G. cambogia extract they contained (based on analyses of HCA), potential contamination with the heavy metals (lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury), and the ability of products in tablet or caplet form to break apart (disintegrate) properly. Labels were also checked to be sure they complied with FDA labeling requirements including listing the correct Garcinia species and plant part (see How Products Were Evaluated for more details). What CL Found: Among the 13 Garcinia supplements selected for testing by ConsumerLab.com, only six contained their labeled amounts of HCA. These six are listed as "Approved" for their quality in the table below, along with four products which passed the same testing in ConsumerLab.com's voluntary Quality Certification Program. The seven products which were "Not Approved" contained just 14% to 81% of the listed amounts of HCA, as shown in fourth column of the table below. Interestingly, three products with some of the lowest percentages of their expected HCA were among four advertised online as the Garcinia extract promoted on the Dr. Oz show, a claim which was not true. These products were Miracle Garcinia Cambogia, Healthy Clip Pure Garcinia Rapid and Nutritional Sciences Garcinia Lean, which contained, respectively, only 14.3%, 16.2% and 21.9% of their listed amounts of HCA. In fact, the suggest daily serving amounts (2 capsules) of Miracle Garcinia Cambogia and Healthy Clip provided less than 100 mg of HCA -- less than any other product and far less than used in any clinical trial, which has typically been 900 to 1,500 mg (see What to Consider When Using). Healthy Clip was being sold on Amazon.com as "Dr Oz Garcinia Cambogia Extract" and Garcinia Lean was promoted in a company press release entitled "Garcinia Lean, Top Weight Loss Choice After Praised by Dr. Oz, Says Nutritional Sciences." Most products were labeled to contain 50% to 60% HCA as a percentage of their extract, which is consistent with what has been used clinically. However, their daily suggested serving sizes varied widely, corresponding to daily amounts of HCA ranging from as little as 250 mg to 3,600 mg per day. It is important to be aware that, unlike OTC products and prescription medications, where dosing must be approved by the FDA, dietary supplement companies set their own suggested serving levels, which may or may not correspond to what has been shown to work. None of the products were found to be contaminated with heavy metals (lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury) and the one product in tablet form passed disintegration testing, assuring that the tablet can properly break apart. Cost: To help find the lowest cost to obtain HCA, we calculated the cost of getting 1,500 mg of HCA from the products. Among the products Approved in quality testing, the most economical source of HCA was Puritan's Pride Super Citrimax, from which 1,500 mg of HCA could be obtained for just 74 cents, followed by NutriGold Garcinia Cambogia Gold at 76 cents and Vitamin Shoppe Garcinia Cambogia Extract at 83 cents. The most expensive Approved product in terms of obtaining 1,500 mg of HCA was Pure Health Garcinia Cambogia at $2.08. Among the products which failed testing, the cost of obtaining 1,500 mg of HCA, based on how much was actually found, was as much as $21.41 from Miracle Garcinia Cambogia and $11.39 from Nutritional Sciences Garcinia Lean. Miracle Garcinia Cambogia and $11.39 from Nutritional Sciences Garcinia Lean. The bottom line: You can't trust most Garcinia labels, nor should you rely on the suggested serving sizes. Products which contained what they claimed and suggested serving sizes most consistent with clinical studies were Genesis Today Garcinia Cambogia, or a virtually identical product, Pure Health Garcinia Cambogia (when taken at the lower end of the suggested serving size 2 pills three times per day, which will provide 1,440 mg of HCA). However, the daily cost of that dose from either of those products is about $2. You can get roughly the same dose of HCA and spend less than half that amount using Vitamin Shoppe Garcinia Cambogia Extract when you take its suggested dose (2 pills) three times a day, preferably about one hour before lunch and dinner and perhaps a couple of hours before bedtime if you are prone to nighttime snacking. Many Garcinia products include chromium as an added ingredient, although the evidence is mixed as to whether chromium helps with weight loss. Black pepper is also in some products, as it may enhance the bioavailability of ingredients by inhibiting their breakdown. These and any other added ingredients are listed in the last column of the table below, with more detail to be found in the Ingredients table. Test Results by Product: Listed alphabetically below are the test results for seventeen Garcinia supplements. ConsumerLab.com selected 13 products, and four other products (each indicated with a CL flask) were tested at the request of their manufacturers/distributors through CL's Quality Certification Program and are included for having passed testing. Also listed is a product which is very similar to one that passed testing but is sold under a different brand name. Shown for each product is the claimed amount of Garcinia extract, the percent claimed to be HCA, and the serving size recommended on the label. The full list of ingredients is available for each product by clicking on the word "Ingredients" in the first column. Products listed as "Approved" met their label claims for HCA and ConsumerLab.com's quality criteria (see Passing Score). Be aware that suggested serving sizes on labels may not reflect an appropriate dosage for your intended use. Adjustments may be necessary, as discussed above and in the section What to Consider When Using. Cost comparisons appear in the last column. RESULTS OF CONSUMERLAB.COM TESTING OF GARCINIA SUPPLEMENTS Click on beneath a product name to find a vendor that sells it. To find retailers that sell some of the listed products click here. Product Name, Serving Size, Garcinia Extract Per Unit, and Servings Per Day Suggested on Label Labeled Daily Amount of Garcinia Extract and % HCA HCA Expected Per Day Click on "Ingredients" for Full Listing Absolute™ Garcinia Cambogia OVERALL RESULTS: Contained Did Not DisLabeled Exceed integrated [Cost per 1,500 mg of Amount of Contamination Properly HCA] APPROVED HCA Limit for Lead, (Passed) Cadmium, N/A = Not Other Notable or Arsenic and applicable Ingredients/Features1 NOT Mercury APPROVED Price Paid 1,000 mg NOT Found only Garcinia extract APPROVED 21.8% of (60% HCA) Cost for Daily Suggested Serving on Label — TEST RESULTS — claim N/A $0.50 [$1.25 based on (500 mg of extract per capsule, 2 per day) (130.6 mg daily) 600 mg HCA amount claimed] [$5.74 based on amount found] Calcium, chromium, potassium Dist. by Absolute Nutrition Ingredients Bio Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia (500 mg of extract per vegetarian capsule, 2 per day) $14.99/60 capsules 1,000 mg NOT Found only Garcinia extract APPROVED 81.1% of (50%HCA) claim (405.5 mg 500 mg HCA daily) N/A $0.34 [$1.03 based on amount claimed] [$1.27 based on amount found] Calcium, potassium Dist. by Bio Nutrition, Inc. Ingredients Vegetarian, contains no wheat, gluten free, yeast free $10.29/60 vegetarian capsules Futurebiotics 500 mg Garcinia APPROVED Garcinia extract Cambogia (50% HCA) Extract 500 mg (500 mg of 250 mg HCA extract per vegetarian capsule, 1 per day) N/A [$1.46] Calcium Vegetarian, contains no wheat, gluten free, yeast free Mfd. by Futurebiotics® Ingredients Garcinia Cambogia Select (500 mg of extract per capsule, 3 per day 2) $0.24 $21.95/90 vegetarian capsules 1,500 mg APPROVED Garcinia extract (50% HCA) N/A $0.93 [$1.86] 750 mg HCA Calcium, potassium $27.94/90 capsules Dist. by Pacific Naturals Ingredients Garcinia Cambogia XT (500 mg of 1,000 mg Garcinia extract extract per capsule, 2 per 500 mg HCA APPROVED N/A $1.11 [$3.33] Calcium, chromium, capsule, 2 per day)6 Calcium, chromium, potassium Distributed by Optimal Health Products Ingredients $33.33/60 capsules Genesis Today™ Garcinia Cambogia (400 mg of extract per vegetarian capsule, 6 to 12 per day) 2,400 mg to 4,800 mg Garcinia extract (60% HCA) APPROVED N/A [$2.00] Calcium, chromium, potassium, black pepper 1,440 mg to 2,880 mg HCA Vegetarian Dist. by Genesis Today, Inc. Ingredients $19.19/60 vegetarian capsules Healthy Clip 1,000 mg NOT Found only Pure Garcinia Garcinia extract APPROVED 16.2% of Rapid (500 mg (60% HCA) claim (96.9 of extract per mg daily) capsule, 2 per 600 mg HCA day) N/A $0.50 [$1.25 based on amount claimed] [$7.71 based on amount found] Dist. by Healthy Clip Laboratories Ingredients Jarrow Formulas® HCActive™ (500 mg of extract per capsule, 6 per 5 day) $1.92-$3.84 Calcium, chromium, potassium $14.95/60 capsules 3,000 mg APPROVED Garcinia extract (70% HCA) N/A [$1.43] 2,100 mg HCA Suitable for vegans/vegetarians, contains no wheat, gluten free Dist. by Jarrow Formulas® Ingredients Labrada 4,680 mg NOT Found only Nutrition Garcinia extract APPROVED 60.2% of Garcinia (SuperCitrimax® claim Cambogia 60% HCA) (1,690.2 (780 mg of mg daily) extract per 2,808 mg HCA (See capsule, 6 per Update) day) (See $2.00 $29.99/90 capsules N/A $1.20 [$0.64 based on amount claimed] [$1.06 based on amount found] Calcium, potassium day) (See Update) Calcium, potassium $17.99/90 capsules Dist. by Labrada Nutrition Ingredients Miracle 1,000 mg Garcinia Garcinia extract Cambogia (500 mg of 600 mg HCA extract per capsule, 2 per day)6 NOT Found only APPROVED 14.3% of claim (85.6 mg daily) N/A [$3.05 based on amount claimed] [$21.41 based on amount found] Calcium, chromium, potassium Distributed by Miracle Garcinia Cambogia Ingredients Molecular Research Labs Pure Garcinia Cambogia (750 mg of extract per capsule, 2 per day) $1.22 $36.65/60 capsules 1,500 mg NOT Found only Garcinia extract APPROVED 33.5% of (50% HCA) claim (251.4 mg 750 mg HCA daily) N/A $1.14 [$2.29 based on amount claimed] [$6.82 based on amount found] $34.29/60 capsules Dist. by Molecular Research Labs Ingredients Nature's Plus® Citrimax® 1000 mg (1,000 mg of extract per tablet, 1 per day) 1,000 mg APPROVED Garcinia extract (Citrimax® 50% HCA) $0.32 [$0.97] Vegetarian, hypoallergenic, contains no wheat, gluten free, yeast free 500 mg HCA Dist. by Natural Organics Laboratories, Inc. Ingredients $19.49/60 tablets NutriGold® 3,000 mg to Garcinia Cambogia 6,000 mg Garcinia extract APPROVED NA $0.90-$1.80 [$0.75] Cambogia Gold™ (1,000 mg of extract per vegetarian capsule, 3 to 6 per day) Garcinia extract (SuperCitrimax® 60% HCA) [$0.75] Calcium, Potassium 1,800 to 3,600 mg HCA Contains no wheat $26.95/90 vegetarian capsules Dist. by NutriGold® Inc. Ingredients Nutritional Sciences™ Garcinia Lean (500 mg of extract per capsule, 2 per day) 1,000 mg NOT Found only Garcinia extract APPROVED 21.9% of (60% HCA) claim (131.4 mg 600 mg HCA daily) N/A [$2.50 based on amount claimed] [$11.39 based on amount found] Calcium, chromium, potassium Dist. by Nutritional Sciences Ingredients Pure Health Garcinia Cambogia (400 mg of extract per vegetarian capsule, 6 to 12 per day) $29.95/60 capsules 2,400 mg to APPROVED 4,800 mg Garcinia extract (60% HCA) N/A $2.00-$3.99 [$2.08] Calcium, chromium, potassium, black pepper 1,440 mg to 2,880 mg HCA $9.98/30 vegetarian capsules Dist. by Pure Health Ingredients Puritan's Pride® Super Citrimax® (750 mg of extract per capsule, 7 per day)3 $1.00 5,250 mg APPROVED Garcinia extract (Super Citrimax® 60% HCA) N/A $1.55 [$0.74] Lowest cost for HCA Calcium, chromium, potassium, gymnema 3,150 mg HCA Contains no wheat, gluten free, yeast free Mfd. by Puritans Pride, Inc. Ingredients $19.99/90 capsules The Vitamin Shoppe® Garcinia 1,000 mg APPROVED Garcinia extract (60% HCA)4 Cambogia Extract 600 mg HCA4 N/A $0.334 [$0.83] Chromium 600 mg HCA4 (500 mg of extract per capsule, 2 "before a meal," daily amount not specified) Contains no wheat, gluten free, yeast free $14.99/90 capsules Dist. by Vitamin Shoppe, Inc Ingredients Similar to Approved Products*: Vitamin Similar to Puritan's Pride® Super Citrimax®. World® Super Citrimax® (750 mg of extract [60% HCA] per capsule, 7 per day) Mfd. by Vitamin World, Inc. Ingredients Tested through CL's Quality Certification Program prior to, or after initial posting of this Product Review. * Product identical in formulation and manufacture to a product that has passed testing but sold under a different brand. For more information see CL's Multi-Label Testing Program. 1 Not tested but claimed on label. 2 Suggested use on label says to take 1 capsule prior to "each primary meal". ConsumerLab.com defined a "primary meal" as breakfast, lunch and dinner. 3 Directions state "take two (2) capsules with breakfast, two (2) capsules with lunch, and three (3) capsules with dinner". 4 Based on 2 capsules as daily amount is not specified on label, which reads "take two (2) capsules 30 minutes before a meal." 5 Added 4/3/14 6 Products were asked to be tested by ConsumerLab.com by The Dr. Oz Show and were added on 4/15/14. ##TABLE_UNLESS_TEXT## Copyright ConsumerLab.com, LLC, 2013. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced, excerpted, or cited in any fashion without the express written permission of ConsumerLab.com LLC. ConsumerTips™: What to Consider When Buying: Garcinia cambogia extracts are typically standardized to contain 50% to 60% hydroxycitric acid (HCA or (-)hydroxycitric acid). The remainder of the extract (40% to 50% of the total) is composed of carbohydrates and fat from hydroxycitric acid). The remainder of the extract (40% to 50% of the total) is composed of carbohydrates and fat from the rind of the Garcinia cambogia fruit although these are not significant amounts in terms of calories (3 or 4 calories per pill). HCA, in its "free" molecular form, is unstable, so ingredient manufacturers commonly bind it to minerals, such as calcium, potassium, or magnesium, to stabilize it. Two common branded versions of Garcinia extract are Citrimax® (which is 50% HCA) and SuperCitriMax® (which is 60% HCA and has also been referred to in clinical studies as Citrimax HCA 600 SGX), both of which bind HCA to calcium and potassium. Due to the relatively large daily dosing of Garcinia supplements, these ingredients can be significant sources of minerals. For example, a daily dose of 4,500 mg of SuperCitrimax, would be expected to contain 720 mg of potassium and 495 mg calcium. The company which sells these branded ingredients, InterHealth, claims that the added calcium/potassium make the HCA more soluble and better absorbed than other HCA products. However, the research InterHealth cites (Downs, Mut Res 2005) suggests that even in this form, the HCA is only partially absorbed, as shown in earlier research (Loe, Anal Biochem 2001). Choosing a supplement made with a branded form of HCA might seem to help assure quality but only two of the three products selected for testing which contained either SuperCitrimax or Citrimax (as noted in the table above) passed ConsumerLab.coms tests -- the Labrada product contained only 60.2% of its listed HCA. Garcinia is frequently included as an ingredient in weight loss "formulas" or "blends" which contain multiple ingredients but do not list the amount of each. It would seem prudent to avoid these multi-ingredient formulas or blends for several reasons: It is unlikely they have been clinically tested; it is best to use single-ingredient supplements (showing the amount of the ingredient) to determine if an ingredient actually works for you; and weight loss formula or blend products are more likely than single ingredient products to contain dangerous, undeclared drug-like substances or have other problems with their quality (See related Recalls and Warnings of Garcinia-containing supplements). What to Consider When Using: When and how to take it: A study of Citrimax taken as a liquid showed HCA to reach maximum levels in the blood 60 to 90 minutes after ingestion, falling rapidly thereafter (Westerterp-Plantenga, Int J Obesity 2002). A study of SuperCitrimax showed maximum levels at 2 hours after ingestion (Loe, Anal Biochem 2001). Consequently, if HCA causes reduced appetite or is most effective when blood levels are highest, it may be best to take the extract as much as 1 to 2 hours before eating, rather than the typical 30 to 60 minutes suggested on labels. In addition, research has indicated that taking Garcinia with a full meal results in significantly lower levels of HCA than when taken on an empty stomach, underscoring the importance of taking it well before a meal (Downs, Mutat Res 2005). Concerns and Cautions: Garcinia has generally been found to be safe, but there are no long term studies. Some side effects that have been reported include nausea, GI discomfort, and headache. A three-month study in genetically obese male rats given a range of doses of Garcinia cambogia extract found it to cause testicular toxicity and atrophy (shrinkage) at the high doses, but not at lower doses. The study also showed the extract to suppress fat accumulation, but, unfortunately, this effect only occurred at the doses which also caused toxicity (Saito, Food Chem Toxicol 2005). In terms of body weight, the high doses given to the rats were about twenty to thirty times as much as normally taken by people, so a similar risk of toxicity may not exist for people, and has not been reported. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. It is not an endorsement of any Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. It is not an endorsement of any product nor is it meant to substitute for the advice provided by physicians or other healthcare professionals. The information contained herein should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. Consumers should inform their healthcare providers of the dietary supplements they take. back to top ©2014 ConsumerLab.com, LLC. All rights reserved. A single copy of this report may be printed for personal use by the subscriber. It is otherwise unlawful to print, download, store or distribute content from this site without permission. ConsumerLab.com name and flask logo are both registered trademarks of ConsumerLab.com, LLC.
© Copyright 2018