The people with overweight and obesity has increased a lot over the last decade, and current measures have not been able to control through normal measures. There are a wide variety of ideas for weight management in Singapore currently in use, and some of them involve the use of dietary supplements. One of such dietary supplement is Garcinia extract-hydroxy citric acid (HCA). The fruit rind of Garcinia gummi-gutta, commonly known as Garcinia cambogia, is currently most popularly used and widely advertised as a weight-loss supplement. It has been proved from various studies that the extracts as well as hydroxy citric acid (HCA), a main organic acid component of the fruit rind, exhibited anti-obesity activity including reduced food intake and body fat gain by regulating the serotonin levels related to satiety, increased fat oxidation and decreased de novo lipogenesis. Additional uses of this Garnicia include the use as a digestive and a traditional remedy to treat bowel complaints, intestinal parasites, and rheumatism. This small fruit, reminiscent of a pumpkin in appearance is extensively used traditionally as a flavoring in fish curries due to its sharp sour taste.
Botanical description of Garcia:
Garcinia is the largest genus of the Clusiaceae family comprising of 390 species. These polygamous trees or shrubs are mainly distributed in tropical Asia, Polynesia, and Africa. Garcinia gummi-gutta is one of the most medicinally important members of the Clusiaceae family. It is a small or medium size tree of up to 12 m tall with a rounded crown and drooping branches. Young branchlets are subterete and glabrous and the trunk and bark are reddish brown and lenticellate. The leaves are dark green, shiny. The leaves are elliptic, and the apex is usually acute and rarely obtuse. The polygamous flowers are in axillary or terminal clusters and the sepals are cream while the petals are pink in color
What is HCA?
HCA is a potent inhibitor of adenosine triphosphate-citrate lyase, a catalyst for the conversion process of citrate to acetyl-coenzyme a, which plays a key role in fatty acid, cholesterol, and triglycerides syntheses. The crude extract or constituents from the plant also exerted hypolipidaemic, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anthelmintic, anticholinesterase and hepatoprotective activities in in vitro and in vivo models. Phytochemical studies of various plant parts revealed the presence of main xanthones (e.g. carbonyl) and benzophenones (e.g. garcinol) together with organic acids (e.g. HCA) and amino acids (e.g. gamma aminobutyric acid). Currently, a large number of Garcinia cambogia/HCA dietary supplements for weight management are being sold although the possible toxicity associated with the regular use of these supplements has raised concerns. In most cases, complaints have been related to multi component formulations and at this stage, Garnicia Cambogia has not been confirmed as the potentially toxic culprit.
HCA is a form of citric acid and can be found in some plant species native to South Asia such as Garcinia cambogia and Garcinia indicia. HCA is usually used as a weight loss supplement either alone or in combination with some other supplements. Some authors have given suggestions that HCA helps in weight loss by competitively inhibiting the enzyme adenosine triphosphatase-citrate-lyase. HCA is also used to increase the release or availability of serotonin in the brain, and hence leading to appetite suppression. Other postulated weight loss mechanisms include inhibition of pancreatic alpha amylase and intestinal alpha glucosidase and hence helps to reduce the carbohydrate metabolism. In the case of this Garcinia in Singapore people are using these more recently as one of their dietary supplement.