HCA

(Known as Citrimax, Hydroyxcitric acid, Garcinia Cambogia, HCA)

tickHerbal
tickAids definition & fat loss
tickControls carbohydrate
How does it work?
Hydroyxcitric Acid (HCA) is extracted from a South Asian fruit called Garcinia cambogia. Widely consumed for centuries by people throughout India and Southeast Asia, HCA is used to aid fat loss.
Who is it used for?
HCA is suitable for anyone wanting to lose weight without using stimulant-based diet supplements. Because it does not stimulate the central nervous system, HCA causes no changes in heart rate and blood pressure or interfere with sleep, as do many popular diet aids.
How does it work?
HCA (short for hydroxycitric acid) is an all-natural extract from the rind of the Indian fruit Garcinia cambogia. In the 1960's and 1970's, the pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche Inc. began a number of research projects and received several patents on HCA (US Patent # 3,993,667). However, because patents are difficult to enforce on natural products, Hoffman-La Roche abandoned its efforts.

HCA works in two ways to promote weight loss: Partitioning Agent Recent studies show that your body finds it very easy to turn excess carbohydrate (such as bread, pasta and cakes) into fat [2]. However, before excess carbohydrate calories can be stored as fat, an enzyme called ATP-citrate lyase must be present to facilitate the process.

HCA acts as a partitioning agent by promoting the flow of energy away from fat by interfering with the function of ATP-citrate lyase. It does this by taking the place of another chemical that binds to the enzyme, making it ineffective. In other words, HCA limits the conversion of carbohydrate into fat [1]. Instead, HCA will escort carbohydrate into your muscles. This has two main benefits.

Firstly, it gives you the energy to exercise regularly and push yourself a little harder in the gym. Second, it means you don't have to follow a very restrictive low-carbohydrate diet. Of course, the calories have got to end up somewhere. By blocking ATP-citrate lyase, HCA is able to shift the calories from fat to glycogen (the name given to carbohydrate stored in the body). What this means is that the carbohydrate gets stored in your muscles, rather than as fat.

Appetite suppression HCA's effect on appetite appears to be a result of all the stored glycogen it produces. When glycogen stores rise, glucoreceptors in the liver are stimulated. These glucoreceptors send the signal to your brain that you're "full." The result is that you don't feel as hungry. While this all sounds great in theory, it's only recently that studies showing HCA's influence on fat loss have reached the pages of the prestigious peer-reviewed journals.

For example a three-month study of 89 overweight females conducted at Purdue University shows that a group using HCA lost more weight (8 pounds versus 5 pounds) than subjects given a placebo [4]. One study presented at the 2002 Experimental Biology meeting also shows that HCA is beneficial. In this trial, 48 subjects received either HCA or a placebo daily [5]. Both groups consumed 2,000 calories daily and exercised regularly. Subjects using HCA lost almost 5% of their weight after eight weeks. Those in the placebo group lost just under 2%.

An eight-week clinical trial published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrition Research, reveals similar results [3]. The study consisted of 30 human volunteers divided into three groups. Group one received HCA, while the second group received a placebo. The supplements were given daily in three divided doses 30-60 minutes before meals. Both groups were placed on a diet of 2,000 calories per day and participated in a 30-minute supervised walking program, five days a week.

After an eight-week period, those taking HCA alone lose over 12 pounds in weight. In contrast, the placebo group lost only 3 pounds. Not only did the HCA group lose more weight, but serotonin levels increased by 40%. In the placebo group, the increase in serotonin levels was only 20%.

When serotonin levels drop below a certain level, your brain "thinks" that your body is starving and "tells" you to start eating. Overweight people with low levels of serotonin feel almost compelled to eat more. Once they get their carbohydrate "fix", serotonin levels rise, and they feel better again - albeit temporarily. The bigger rise in serotonin resulting from HCA means easier appetite control, reduced cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods (such as crisps, bread, or cookies), and easier weight loss.

Appetite was also reduced. At the end of eight weeks, subjects taking HCA alone reduced their food intake by four percent. Those in the placebo group actually increased food intake by 2.8% over the course of the study. According to study author, Dr. Harry Preuss of Georgetown University Medical Center, "While we have believed for some time that HCA held significant promise in the treatment of obesity, this study, utilizing effective doses of bioavailable hydroxycitric acid, marks the first time that such a comprehensive, well-monitored clinical study has definitively confirmed its effectiveness in human subjects. Furthermore, its long-term safety opens the door to the possibility that hydroxycitric acid is a valuable tool for long-term weight maintenance, one of the biggest challenges in the fight against obesity."
How do I use it?
Approximately 250-500 milligrams of HCA daily for is needed to increase fat loss and improve appetite control.
What results can I expect?
Short-term use (5-7 days) of HCA will lead to a noticeable improvement in appetite control and a reduction in carbohydrate cravings. Long-term use (30 days or longer) will also accelerate fat loss when combined with a good diet and regular exercise programme.
What can it be combined with?
Though HCA is a highly effective aid to weight loss when taken alone, many choose to combine it with other proven supplements such as CLA and green tea extract.

1. Ishihara, K., Oyaizu, S., Onuki, K., Lim, K, & Fushiki, T. (2000). Chronic (-)-hydroxycitrate administration spares carbohydrate utilization and promotes lipid oxidation during exercise in mice. Journal of Nutrition, 130, 2990-2995
2. Aarsland, A., Chinkes, D., & Wolfe, R.R. (1997). Hepatic and whole-body fat synthesis in humans during carbohydrate overfeeding. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 65, 1774-1882
3. Preuss, H.G., Bagchi, D., Bagchi, M., Sanyasi Rao, C. V. , Satyanarayana, S., & Dey, D.K. (2004). Efficacy of a novel, natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX, niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract in weight management in human volunteers: a pilot study. Nutrition Research, 24, 45-58
4. Mattes, R.D., & Bormann, L. (2000). Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables. Physiology and Behavior, 71, 87-94
5. Preuss, H.G., Bagchi, D., Sanyasi Rao, C.V., Echard, B.W., Satyanaryana, S., & Bagchi, D. (2002). Effect of hydroxycitric acid on weight loss, body mass index and plasma leptin levels in human subjects. FASEB Journal, 16, A1020

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