Garcinia gummi-gutta (Malabar tamarind), scientifically known as Garcinia cambogia (GC), is a tropical plant found in Southeast Asia and India. In India, this fruit is cultivated in the coastal areas of Karnataka and Kerala. The rinds of the ripe fruits are processed and used as a condiment in fish and prawn preparations to impart flavor and taste and to increase shelf life. The timber of this plant is used for construction and furniture-making, and the seeds are used in the preparation of vegetable butter. Currently, this small pumpkin-shaped fruit has gained media attention because of its role in weight management.
Fight Obesity with Garcinia
Obesity has gained an epidemic proportion in the current generation due to an imbalance between the food intake and activity required for its expenditure. It is considered to be a global health problem as it is a burden on the health sector. Obesity is considered to be the mother of several diseases as it increases the chances of developing conditions like diabetes, heart problems, osteoarthritis, etc. Easy availability of a number of fat-rich foods like fried chips, cream biscuits and the like has increased consumption of these foods across all age groups. However, many of us find it very difficult to burn our accumulated fats in spite of rigorous efforts.
Garcinia promises to help us in our efforts. Research shows that the active ingredient extracted from the rind of this fruit, Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA), helps human beings to lose weight (Hayamizu K et al). According to this research, HCA inhibits an enzyme called adenosine triphosphate citrate lyase which increases the fatty acid synthesis and increases the rates of hepatic glycogen synthesis. Studies suggest that GC stimulates the burning of body fat and helps to inhibit appetite by reducing the desire to eat. HCA increases the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with appetite suppression. This gives a feeling of satiety and thus helps in weight management (Kim Y-J et al). Some animal studies also suggest that it increases the energy expenditure. Because of its herbal nature and based on the studies conducted, G. cambogia/HCA dietary supplements are widely considered safe for weight management. A large number of such supplements have already been released into the market.
Some objections have been raised against the use of these supplements because of the possibility of toxicity associated with them. However, studies ascertain that even doses higher than 4000 mg/ day do not produce adverse effects in human beings, and typically the dosage in the dietary supplement ranges between 250–1,000 milligrams per day. So along with modifications in the lifestyle habits and proper exercise, these dietary supplements can be consumed for an effective weight management.
A Few Medicinal Benefits of Garcinia
Apart from its role in weight management, this fruit can be used as an herbal medicine for the treatment of several diseases. The decoction made from it is given as a cure for rheumatism and bowel complaints. The serotonin released by GC helps to fight depression as it gives a sensation of pleasure. This fruit is effective in controlling blood sugar levels. Because of its high concentration of vitamin C, this fruit is effective in boosting up our immune system and helps us to fight against infections, illness and diseases.
People who intend to lose their weight should not only focus on this fruit extract but also try to adopt healthy lifestyle habits for effective results.
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