If you’ve learning about how to lose weight, you’ve probably done some research into supplements. Weight loss pills are very popular these days, but how effective are they? And how in the world do you decide which ones to stick with?
One ingredient that you’ve probably heard a lot about in recently months is garcinia cambogia. It’s a supplement that goes by many names, including garcinia, GC, hydroxycitic acid and HCA.
What you may not realize is that garcinia cambogia is actually just the name of a tree commonly found in Indonesia, India and Myanmar, and it’s not the specific ingredient that has been touted as the next weight loss miracle.
If you’re looking for weight loss, what you really want is hydroxycitic acid, or HCA.
What is HCA?
HCA is an acid that is found inside of the garcinia cambogia fruit. It was discovered in the 1960s and has gained and waned in popularity ever since.
Soon after its discovery, scientists studied it intensively and found that it caused weight loss in tests on rats. In the 1990s, many thought that those same results could apply to humans, and there have been numerous studies into its effectiveness since.
Where Can I Find HCA?
HCA is the active ingredient in most supplements that bear the name of garcinia cambogia. These supplements, when compared to other weight loss pills, are generally very affordable, which only furthers their popularity among those trying to shed unwanted pounds.
Many well-known and respected manufacturers make their own versions of the supplement, including The Vitamin Shoppe, Muscletech, Purely Inspired, Super Citrimax, GNC, Puritan’s Pride and more.
Supplements containing HCA can be found at most major retailers and drug stores, as well as at a variety of online shopping portals. On its own, Amazon – one of the largest shopping websites around – has nearly 1,000 listings for HCA-related supplements and products.
What Does HCA Do?
Traditional weight loss pills work by either revving up your metabolism or suppressing your appetite. HCA does the latter, but in a much different way than traditional supplements.
Most diet pills, like popular Hydroxycut, work by tricking your mind into believing that you are not hungry. HCA, on the other, works by giving you an overwhelming sense of satisfaction once you’ve eaten. This satiety lasts long after you’ve consumed food, allowing you to eat less throughout the day.
Another way that HCA helps you drop pounds is by affecting the way starches and sugars are processed within your body. Typically, when you eat carbs, candy and the like, an enzyme in your gut converts the food into fat.
If you don’t use up all the energy that you consume during the day, the rest sticks with you – quite literally. With HCA, this process is blocked, allowing you to use up the energy and then tap into your fat reserves.
Does HCA Have Any Side Effects?
Those taking weight loss pills – or any kind of supplement, for that matter – know that side effects are a very real possibility. When it comes to pills that contain caffeine, for example, some people may have trouble falling asleep at night.
Others may experience a “crash” after a few hours that leaves them feeling shaky, dizzy and nervous.
The most common side effects reported by those taking HCA supplements include dizziness, headache, nausea, dry mouth and upset stomach. These side effects are rather minor when compared to the side effects of other types of weight loss supplements.
In 2009, products containing HCA came under fire because there was a high prevalence of liver injury. However, the supplements at that time were made with a variety of other ingredients, so it’s difficult to say whether the HCA was to blame or not.
Currently, there have been no significant reports of liver damage in those taking garcinia cambogia tablets.
How Do You Use HCA?
With most supplements, you just pop a pill or two, and then make sure that you are eating properly and exercising regularly. HCA is a bit different. In order to truly be effective, you have to take a certain amount at just the right time. If you don’t, you aren’t going to see any of its amazing, fat-loss abilities.
The recommended dosage of HCA is 1.5 grams prior to each meal, up to three times a day. If you take less, it won’t be effective, and taking more isn’t going to be more effective.
Further, the supplement needs to be taken 30 to 60 minutes before you sit down to eat. The reason for this is two-fold: first, taking it before a meal ensures that it has enough space in your stomach to do its work, without the fear of binding with some of the food that you eat; second, taking the supplement before a meal activates its appetite suppressing properties, preventing you from overeating.
When looking for an HCA supplement, you should seek one that contains about 50% HCA and 50% of potassium, magnesium or a combination of both minerals.
To play it safe, stick with brand names that you know and trust, or choose a supplement based on consumer reviews. Most online stores have a rating and review system, but if they don’t, you can always turn to Amazon.
Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight has their fair share of weight loss tips. HCA can almost be considered an open secret. It has been known to us for a very long time, but because its popularity and credibility has gone up and down so many times since its discovery, it sometimes falls into the category of rumor or old wives tale.
However, recent research and studies are once again showing that this supplement can and does help those who are struggling to lose weight.
Best of all, it works in ways that are quite unique, making it a good choice for those who have tried other supplements and failed. So long as you are willing to put in the work through a weight loss program – meaning that you will eat right and make exercise a priority – you can experience fast weight loss when you take a supplement containing HCA.