The Heart-Healthy Fat Burner
This article has been published in the January 2014 issue of Muscle & Body magazine
Garcinia cambogia is a weight-loss nutrient with cholesterol and blood-sugar benefits.
As we move into the new year, getting ourselves into lean, muscular shape is paramount. To do that, you need more than a good exercise plan. The key question in this equation is: How can I keep my body’s natural thermogenic rate on high alert?
Based on new research cited recently by Dr. Ahmet Oz, researchers at Georgetown University reported that the herb Garcinia cambogia actually inhibits the formation of fat, even in the absence of intense workout routines, and may be just what the doctor ordered. Originating from India and Asia, Garcinia cambogia contains a little-known natural compound named hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is credited with the herb’s extraordinary fat-burning capabilities. New studies have shown that subjects using Garciniacambogia enjoyed two to three times more weight loss and fat loss than those not using the herb. Dr. Oz said on his show that Garciniacambogia “might be the most exciting weight-loss breakthrough discovered to date.”
Researchers at Ohio State University reported that HCA can manipulate genes that determine how well and at what rate the body utilizes stored body fat as a fuel source. In this study, researchers found that many genes were sensitive to dietary HCA, essentially lowering fat-gene expression. In practical terms, HCA appears to turn up or upregulate internal messages in abdominal fat tissue to restrict the formation of fat. These researchers also reported that HCA positively impacts serotonin receptors in the brain that can help decrease cravings for sweets and overconsumption of carbohydrates, which can cause excess storage of fat.
How Garcinia Cambogia Works
This colorful, pumpkin-shaped fruit (also known as Malabar tamarind or goraka) has been used for years in Thai and Indian cuisines. Chemically, HCA is a close relative to citric acid, which gives oranges, lemons and limes their citrus flavor.
HCA’s acid-dynamic mode of action seeks to mobilize dietary fat and use it as a fuel source, thus reducing the amount of fat stored by the body. This amazing compound slows down the conversion of carbohydrates and protein to fat by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme known as adenosine triphosphate citrate lyase (or ATP citrate lyase). This is a key mechanism the body uses to block fat production. In fact, early research revealed that hydroxycitric acid lowered body-fat levels with no loss of body protein or lean mass in test animals that had been experimentally made obese.
Anthony Conte, MD, a well-known bariatric physician, has conducted several studies on the effects of HCA on humans. In an eight-week double-blind study, the subjects in the test group who used a supplement containing 500 mg of Garcinia cambogia extract and an amino acid chelate of chromium and niacin lost an average of 11.1 lb per person.
Conte conducted another eight-week study with 75 volunteers taking a supplement consisting of 250 mg of HCA and 100 mcg of chromium picolinate. The study group included 60 women and 15 men who ranged in age from 21–65 years, and in weight ranges from 135.5–253 lb. Forty-two of the subjects who completed the study lost an average of 10.8 lb per person.
HCA’S Blood-Sugar Benefits
When foods are eaten, carbohydrates are digested and broken down into glucose. Glucose (blood sugar) is the first source of fuel the body seeks out and uses for energy. The carbohydrates that aren’t immediately used for energy are stored in the body’s liver and muscles as glycogen. When these excess stored carbs are locked away, they are quickly converted into fat. However, when glycogen stores become full, monitors in the liver (called glucoreceptors) send a satiety signal to your brain indicating that you are full. Also, when enough glycogen is not produced or stored, more carbohydrate calories are converted into fatty acids (such as triglycerides) or used to produce cholesterol. The conversion process of carbohydrates into triglycerides and cholesterol also requires the enzyme ATP citrate lyase. As I’ve mentioned, HCA inhibits the action of this enzyme.
Less Body Fat, Better Cholesterol
As cited earlier by Dr. Oz, Harry Preuss, MD, of Georgetown University, is at the forefront of much of the current research surrounding Garcinia cambogia. In his recent study, subjects were given 2,800 mg of the herb in three equally divided doses 30–60 minutes before exercise for eight weeks. These subjects were on a 2,000-calorie diet and walked 30 minutes each day.
At the conclusion of the study, body weight and BMI (body mass index) had decreased by 5.4% and 5.2%, respectively. Total cholesterol, LDL (the bad cholesterol), triglycerides and serum leptin levels had all dropped considerably. Conversely, there was a significant rise in HDL (the good cholesterol), serotonin levels and increased excretion of urinary fat metabolites (a sign that fat has been oxidized or broken down). The most valuable piece of information extracted from this study and others is the absence of any adverse effects.
Seven Ways Garcinia Cambogia Delivers
Here is a list of the benefits of supplementing Garcinia cambogia with your current workout and dietary regimen.
1. Enhanced appetite control.
2. Increased energy levels and muscle endurance, thus extending your workout length and improving your recovery time.
3. Stabilized blood-sugar levels. This stabilization of blood sugar controls cravings, elevates mood and prevents binge eating.
4. Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which support cardiovascular and heart health.
5. Enhanced thermogenesis (calorie and fat burning). Also, your body becomes more efficient at extracting fatty acids from stubborn fat cells and body tissues.
6. Increased serotonin levels in the brain, which can minimize what researchers refer to as emotional eating. In fact, according to Judith Wurtman, PhD, a renowned researcher at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and the author of “The Serotonin Solution,” emotionally driven eating is an unavoidable response to real life. She maintains that when we are feeling stressed, our urge to overeat doesn’t go away; it can’t. Wurtman says this is because the force that drives this overconsumption of food when stressed is biological, fueled by our emotional state and serotonin levels. When serotonin levels are compromised, states of depression increase, as well as mental and muscle fatigue accompanied by bouts of binge eating.
7. Regulation of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol accelerates muscle wasting and converts the body into a fat-storage versus a fat-burning machine.
Furthermore, Dallas Clouatre, PhD, the author of “Anti-Fat Nutrients,” states that those using adequate amounts of Garciniacambogia will find a moderate but steady loss of fat, not the sudden loss of water weight. Additionally, current research suggests that, unlike other fat burners, Garcinia cambogia appears to maintain its thermogenic effects for several hours after its intake.
How To Use Garcinia Cambogia
Based on all the collective data, Garcinia cambogia appears to enhance or augment several natural processes that encourage fat reduction and its formation, while improving various biomarkers that serve as signposts concerning heart health, essentially making it a very safe and effective way to restrict body weight and fat accumulation.
Suggested Dose: Current data indicates that for maximum results, 3–6 g of Garcinia cambogia 30–60 minutes before meals daily is the most desirable dose range.
Dr. George Redmon
Based on new research cited recently by Dr. Ahmet Oz, researchers at Georgetown University reported that the herb Garcinia cambogia actually inhibits the formation of fat, even in the absence of intense workout routines, and may be just what the doctor ordered.