If you are tuned into social media and commercials on TV, there is so much hype for Garcinia and Raspberry Ketone as an easy route for weight loss. The dietary supplements Garcinia and Raspberry Ketone have gained popularity as an easy solution for weight loss proclaimed by celebrity doctors, health experts, commercials, and social media. But do they actually work and are they worth the money?
Garcinia…Is it all hype?
Garcinia is a small, tropical fruit grown on a tree harvested in India and Southeast Asia. The rind of the fruit contains the active weight loss compound called, hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA has been studied before in the past, in the 1990s but with animals. Those studies found that HCA caused weight loss in the animals, thus influencing the present Garcinia-weight loss hype. What we do know as a fact is that the HCA found in Garcinia actually inhibits the enzyme involved in the conversion of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) to fat…In lay man’s terms this means that when carbohydrates are eaten they are more likely to be used as a source of energy rather than accumulated as fat cells in the body (1-3).
A Few HCA Studies…
- HCA has also shown in studies to control appetite in animals (4, 5).
- HCA has also shown to help untrained women exercise longer by 20 minutes based upon of a preliminary study (6). However, the results were not the same for men (6).
- Another study found that taking Garcinia Cambogia containing 50% HCA for 12 weeks might improve weight loss along with a 1,200 calorie restricted diet (7).
My Personal Experience with Garcinia
I’ve tried taking Garcinia before as a part of a weight loss regimen. I was taking one capsule three times per day 30 minutes before meals for about two weeks while exercising an hour at least three times per week. I personally did not drop any pounds when I weighed myself at the gym. However, I did have very small appetite and felt “full” after taking a few bites of food at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I did not restrict my calorie intake while taking Garcinia.
Raspberry Ketone…Is it just an expensive flavoring agent?
Do you love the way raspberries taste and smell? The ketone found in raspberry gives it its unique smell. Raspberry Ketone gained popularity for weight loss when it was mentioned on a segment of the Dr. Oz Show called, “Raspberry Ketone: Miracle fat-burner in a bottle.” Aired in February 2012. Since the increasing demand, raspberry ketone is one of the most expensive flavoring agent in the food industry today (8). The Raspberry Ketone molecular structure is similar to capsaicin and another weight loss supplement called, synephrine. Capsaicin is the component found in hot peppers to supposably rev up your metabolism and burn fat. Due to these similarities, raspberry ketones are thought to promote weight loss (9-11).
A Few Raspberry Ketone Studies…
- One study found that taking raspberry ketone with Vitamin C for four weeks reduces body weight and body fat mass in healthy adults (12).
- The other study suggests taking a combination supplement consisting of raspberry ketone, caffeine, capsicum extract, garlic root extract, ginger root extract, bitter orange fruit, L-Theanine, and black pepper fruit extract twice daily for 8 weeks reduces body weight by 2%, fat mass by 7.8%, waist circumference by 2%, and hip circumference by 1.7% when used with dieting (13).
- Early research shows that applying a raspberry ketone solution to the scalp might increase hair grown with people diagnosed with male pattern baldness and general hair loss (14).
Points to Take Home
- Diet and exercising will always the golden rule for weight loss. A registered dietitian can help you with this!
- More research is needed on Garcinia and Raspberry Ketone to confirm weight loss claims.
- Garcinia and Raspberry Ketone can have side effects when taken in combination with other prescription drugs or dietary supplements.
- There is no set dose or duration to take for either supplement.
- Always consult with your health care professional before starting any weight loss regimen.
- Do your own research before dishing out money for claims that sound too good to be true.
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(2) Jena, B. S., Jayaprakasha, G. K., Singh, R. P., and Sakariah, K. K. Chemistry and biochemistry of (-)-hydroxycitric acid from Garcinia. J Agric.Food Chem. 1-2-2002;50(1):10-22.
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(10) Ogawa Y, Akamatsu M, Hotta Y, et al. Effect of essential oils, such as raspberry ketone and its derivatives, on antiandrogenic activity based on in vitro reporter gene assay. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2010;20:2111-4.
(11) Harada N, Okajima K, Narimatsu N, et al. Effect of topical application of raspberry ketone on dermal production of insulin-like growth factor-I in mice and on hair growth and skin elasticity in humans. Growth Horm IGF Res 2008;18:335-44.
(12) Ushiki M, Ikemoto T, Sato Y. Anti-obese activities of raspberry ketone. Aroma Research 2002;3:361.
(13) Lopez, H. L., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Hofheins, J. E., Habowski, S. M., Arent, S. M., Weir, J. P., and Ferrando, A. A. Eight weeks of supplementation with a multi-ingredient weight loss product enhances body composition, reduces hip and waist girth, and increases energy levels in overweight men and women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2013;10(1):22.
(14) Harada N, Okajima K, Narimatsu N, et al. Effect of topical application of raspberry ketone on dermal production of insulin-like growth factor-I in mice and on hair growth and skin elasticity in humans. Growth Horm IGF Res 2008;18:335-44.