Garcinia Cambogia - Is It Just Another Scam?
As I slowly become an old man (I'm 31) and only make it to the gym 2 or 3 times a week, at most - I have to limit my calories.
Long gone are the days of anabolic steroids, high levels of thyroid hormone (T3), 455 lbs on the squat bar for reps of 15 and 5261 calories that included 2 trips to Quiznos a day.
Those were the days.
Animal in the gym, sex life - barely existent.
That stage of my life came to end on Memorial Day of 2006 - when I had a horrific knee injury that officially ended my athletic pursuits.
For the past year or so, my good buddy PhilTheBread and I have been looking for a non-stimulant appetite suppressant that ACTUALLY WORKS and can be used on non-training days in combination with the Good Looking Loser Fat Loss Diet.
Garcinia Cambogia promised to be just that, a drastic upgrade to Hoodia - which I thought was "okay".
I was legitimately excited to try it.
What is Garcinia Cambogia?
Garcinia is natural dietary supplement that grows in Africa, India, Indonesia and other areas that the USA is eventually planning on fully exploiting - it is actually a fruit.
It has been used liberally for centuries in South Asian dishes, especially curry meals, which suggests it's safe on some level.
Clinical trials also suggest that the extract (what the dietary supplement contains) is safe in 'normal' doses -
The extract contains a compound called 'hydroxycitric acid' or HCA (not to be confused with HCG - a wonderful compound that when injected tells a male's body to produce more testosterone and sperm - but is worthless as the 'HCG Diet').
HCA can supposedly double or triple your weight loss efforts.
(Whatever that means)
Garcinia is thought to suppress your appetite by increasing serotonin levels.
Antidepressants (SSRIs) and 5-HTP can definitely do this - so it doesn't seem far-fetched... and it might make you feel good too.
Unlike most supplements that have absolutely no legitimate peer-review clinical studies behind them, Garcinia Cambogia (or HCA) has evidence that confirms that it actually suppresses appetite and hunger cravings (which - when combined with a caloric intake below baseline - will make you lose weight) -
- "Bioefficacy of a novel calcuim-potassium salt of (-)-hydroxcitric acid"
- "High dose of Garcinia cambogia is effective in suppressing fat accumlation in developing male Zucker obese rats, but highly toxic to the testis" (insane doses)
- "The Use of Garcinia Extract (Hydroxcitric Acid) as a Weight loss Supplement..."
- "Garcinia Cambogia attenuates diet-induced adiposity but exacerbates hepatic collagen accumulation and inflammation"
The supplement has gained mainstream exposure and has been recently featured on Dr. Oz.
It's also the "new" supplement that Vitamin Shoppe and GNC employees are talking about.
Despite my skepticism of every dietary supplement and absolutely everything the ignorant skinny-fat GNC employees recommend say, I thought I'd give Garcinia a try - it's cheap and I needed something like this - if it worked.
Damn - I really hope it delivers.
The Brands and Dosing Protocols I Tried
To be clear, I tried two brands of Garcinia Cambogia.
The Labrada (Lean Body) brand that my hottie fitness girl neighbor, Justine, bought at Vitamin Shoppe -
And Omega Soul, a high-society brand that was rated really well on Amazon.com -
I used both brands as directed -
- 1600 to 2400 mg (depending on the brand) 2 or 3 times a day and 30-60 minutes before meals.
I also mega-dosed the supplement for a few days (not recommended) -
- 3200mg+ 30 minutes before every meal.
I made sure to take it and evaluate it's effects ONLY on days when I did not use any pre-workout supplements or stimulants that significantly suppress appetite.
I have a pretty good idea of if this supplement works and how effective it is.
It didn't work in any capacity whatsoever for myself or Justine.
After it failed to impress (or even slightly deliver) at the recommended dose over 6 non-sequential days, I mega-dosed it with the hopes that I just needed "more".
I was bummed out because I've been searching for a non-stimulant appetite suppressant that I could alternate with Lipodrene, our recommended fat burner (powerful stimulant).
I'm not a fan of stimulants and I'm certainly not a fan of using powerful stimulants on the days I don't hit the gym (most days).
Before I tried it, I only saw the favorable studies and heard the hype. The science seemed legit and the independent feedback was good.
If anything, I was setting myself up for placebo effect.
But we had no effects whatsoever - real or imaginary.
Garcina enthusiasts will only tell you about the positive studies that show that it can encourage appetite suppression and weight loss, but there are even more studies that say just the opposite -
- "Does Glycine max leaves or Garcinia Cambogia promote weight-loss or lower plasma cholesterol in overweight individuals: a randomized control trial"
- "Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variable"
- "Garcina cambogia (hydroxcitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial"
- "An evidence-based review of fat modifying supplemental weight loss products"
- "Dietary supplements for body-weight reduction: a systematic review"
- "Supplemental products used for weight loss"
It doesn't work for a lot of people.
I'm not going to suggest it's not safe at the recommended doses, even though a clinical study above claims that it can destroy the testicles of Zucker rats in high doses.
(I saw this study weeks after I tried mega-dosing it)
It's probably just fine.
But it didn't work for me.
So What Does Work?
I'm going to have to expand on this another time.
I don't recommend using those everyday however.
(That's a recipe for adrenal fatigue, among other things)
And I certainly don't recommend using attention-deficit disorder prescription drugs for weight loss purposes like so many emotionally not-so-healthy girls do. But they do work.
Kratom is also excellent at suppressing appetite. But again - it's nothing you want to take for that purpose.
Smoking works great too. But obviously - that's too expensive, among other things.
Unfortunately, in my experience, the best natural appetite suppressant is still Hoodia - which is "okay" because it's super cheap but never really lived up to the hype either.
Unfortunately x 2, Hoodia doesn't seem to work for a lot of people and seemed to lose it's magic for me if I take it more than 2 or 3 times a week.
I'm experimenting with other protocols such as -
- Slamming down 30g of high-quality fiber, 30 minutes before meals and drinking large amounts of iced oolong tea.
- Taking a low-moderate stimulant with a high-fat meal for breakfast and a lot of water to lessen it's 'stimulant' effects.
I'll let you know if I find anything that really works.
You let me know too.
If you want to write in and suggest a non-stimulant fat burner that worked for you - please do. IF you have actually used it.
If you still want to try Garcina, make sure you get it at Vitamin Shoppe (or another place with a decent return policy) and keep your receipt.
You'll probably be taking it back.
Other Good Resources: