Anytime you see claims of a miracle cure, your guard goes up and red flags start waving. And promises of catch-all fixes for weight loss are a dime a dozen.
At the same time, the chiropractic philosophy of natural wellness may support supplement recommendation in your practice. With the weight-loss industry raking in billions of dollars each year and many of your patients struggling to manage extra pounds that create a cascade of other problems in the body, some holistic health remedies are worth exploring.
One natural agent with potential weight-loss properties is garcinia cambogia. After educating yourself on the available research and consensus on this herbal extract, you may decide it’s worth bringing into your array of treatment packages, or at least be able to answer questions about it if patients inquire.
What is garcinia cambogia?
Garcinia cambogia is a citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia. An active ingredient in its rind, hydroxycitric acid (HCA), is often used in cooking from that region but may also help with weight loss and lowering cholesterol.1 HCA is thought to boost the body’s natural fat-burning abilities and reduce appetite.1-2 It reportedly blocks an enzyme called citrate lyase, which the body uses to make fat. HCA also raises levels of the brain chemical serotonin. This may make the body feel fuller, so that less food is consumed in a sitting.
Safety and potential side effects
Studies done on the safety of garcinica cambogia have found it to be safe for consumption, with only a few mild side effects.1-2 These side effects may include dizziness, dry mouth, headache, upset stomach, or diarrhea. However, the herb should not be taken with any prescription medications for diabetes, as this may cause a dangerously low dip in blood sugar.3
What does the research say?
An article in the May 2004 issue of the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry reported on a study of the use of garcinia cambogia in two groups of rats.3 One group was fed the herb, while the other was not. The weight of each group of mice was compared at the end of 90 days. The researchers concluded that a “90 day treatment of HCA-SX results in a reduction in body weight, and does not cause any changes in major organs or in hematology, clinical chemistry, and histopathology.”
Savvy DCs will see weight-loss as an area in which they can not only help patients move toward their fitness goals, but also engender a steady stream of income. By understanding the limitations and benefits of supplements such as garcinia cambogia, you set yourself up for expanded opportunities.
1 Healthline. Garcinia Cambogia: Weight loss fact or fiction? http://www.healthline.com/health/garcinia-cambogia-weight-loss#Overview1 Healthline. Published May 7, 2015. Accessed May 2015.
2 WebMD. Garcinia cambogia: Safe for weight loss? http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/garcinia-cambogia-weight-loss. Accessed May 2015.
3 Shara M, Ohia SE, Schmidt RE, et al. Physico-chemical properties of a novel (-)-hydroxycitric acid extract and its effect on body weight, selected organ weights, hepatic lipid peroxidation and DNA fragmentation, hematology and clinical chemistry, and histopathological changes over a period of 90 days. Mol Cell Biochem. 2004;260(1-2):171-86.