Garcinia cambogia extract has been by far the highest-touted weight loss supplement over the past 18 months. Since we first wrote about it in early 2013, many of our readers have asked where to find garcinia cambogia extract, and how to select the best product for them.
Dr. Oz: The Beginning
In an episode of Dr. Oz which aired on October 28, 2012, garcinia cambogia extract was described as a “revolutionary fat buster” and a “Holy grail” of weight loss.
Julie Chen, MD, an integrative medicine internist was a guest on the show. She stated that taking garcinia cambogia extract would increase weight loss 2 to 3 times what would normally be expected with just diet and exercise. She claimed it was a “dual action fat buster” because it reduces body fat and suppresses appetite, and that increases serotonin, which may be beneficial to “emotional eaters.”
Chen pointed out that some patients did not lose weight on the scale, but gained lean muscle mass due to “body composition change.”
Dr Oz stated that you can buy garcinia cambogia extract in health food stores and online, but he noted, “I don’t sell the stuff. I am not making any money on this. I’m not going to mention any brands to you…”
He later reiterated, “You should never see my picture next to it because I never sell it. If you see my picture next to it, that means they’re stealing from you. I guarantee you as soon as this show airs, there will be thousands of fake ads out there, so don’t go for those.” He then mentioned guidelines for choosing the product.
Which Garcinia Cambogia Extract Should You Choose?
Dr. Oz wrote that you should look for the following when shopping for garcinia cambogia extract:
- The words “garcinia cambogia” or GCE (meaning garcinia cambogia extract)
- At least 50% hydroxycitric acid (HCA)
- Potassium included (as it improves absorption)
- No fillers, binders, or artificial ingredients
- Do not take if pregnant, breast feeding, or have dementia
- Talk to your doctor if you are diabetic or taking a statin for high cholesterol
Dosage and when to take garcinia cambogia extract
Take 500-1000 mg 30-60 minutes before each meal, and not more than 3000 mg per day. Taking it with food will result in food binding to the components of the supplement, reducing its efficiency.
Almost immediately after the Dr. Oz episode aired – just as Oz himself predicted – the internet was flooded with advertisements from hundreds of vendors and affiliate marketers selling garcinia cambogia extract. This made it difficult for consumers to choose a reputable product containing the recommended dosage.
Where to buy garcinia cambogia extract?
Although the efficacy of garcinia camobogia extract (GCE) is still a topic for debate, many consumers still want to try the product without feeling ripped off in the end. So where should you buy GCE?
Perhaps the most important rule of thumb is to go through a trusted vendor such as GNC or Vitamin Shoppe. Avoid any vendor using the name or image of Dr. Oz, which he has clearly stated is against his wishes. You may also want to steer clear of any vendor with the word “garcinia” in its company name. This means that vendor likely appeared after the Dr. Oz episode aired in late 2012, and is likely just riding the garcinia bandwagon. This also means the vendor probably only sells a single product, which says little about its viability or reputation.
If you aren’t sure about a particular vendor, you can check the registration date of its website. To do this, go to whois.com and type in the domain name in the field “Whois Lookup.” This will give you an idea how long this website has been in existence. If the vendor’s website was created in late 2012, it likely jumped on the bandwagon after the Dr. Oz episode aired.
Which brand of garcinia cambogia extract is best?
Again, this goes back to choosing a trusted vendor who is less likely to sell a fly-by-night supplement of unknown origin. Purchasing locally is particularly valuable, as you can compare several options side-by-side and you will also avoid shipping costs. If you’re fortunate enough to have a knowledgeable salesperson, he or she may be able to tell you which products have the best feedback from regular customers. Browsing at Amazon is also helpful, although you may want to take reader reviews with a grain of salt as they don’t always tell the entire story.
Does Garcinia Cambogia Extract Work?
Aside from the accolades heaped upon GCE by Dr. Oz, there are other voices online with varying opinions about garcinia cambogia extract:
- WebMD originally listed GCE as “possibly ineffective” which was later changed to “insufficient evidence” for its efficacy. Regarding varied results related to weight loss, WebMD surmises, “Reasons for the inconsistent results might be the dose, duration of treatment, or formulation of Garcinia extract that was used.” There are nearly 1000 reader reviews there as of this May 2016 update.
- Here at wafflesatnoon.com, we have well over 1000 reader comments and reviews on our articles related to garcinia cambogia extract. Reviews have been mixed. Read them here.
- Integrative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil – who has also been a guest on the Dr. Oz show – in 2014 pointed to studies which found little effect: “You may see claims that Garcinia cambogia can promote weight loss by increasing metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories) and suppressing appetite, but the Korean investigators saw no evidence of such effects. And I can tell you that the safest and most effective way to boost your metabolism is not through a supplement or drug, but with regular physical activity.”
- A 1998 study posted in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded “Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo.”
- Natural News, while pointing out that studies are mixed, cited that some researchers found fault in the JAMA study, stating that “HCA needs to be administered with a carb-rich diet, but in the study they co-administered it with a high fiber diet.”
There are some possible side effects, and many of our readers have discussed them on our article about the side effects of garcinia cambogia.
What about online Garcinia Cambogia Extract Reviews?
This is where one must be cautious, as it is commonplace for vendors to post only positive reviews on their websites. Sometimes they even infiltrate other review sites such as Amazon to “stuff the ballot box” as it were, in hopes of increasing their product’s overall rating. Affiliates often set up fake blogs or “news” sites to “review” the products they are selling.
In general, reviews on a product’s own website – particularly if they only sell one product – aren’t particularly helpful, because that site stands to make money on that product. Reviews on a third-party website (such as this one) will likely contain a wider variety of opinions than those on the product’s website.
There are literally hundreds of brands of garcinia cambogia extract on the market today, and choosing the right brand can be a daunting task. A cursory search of “Garcinia” at Amazon yields over 3000 results. With that said, the jury is still out on garcinia cambogia extract, even nearly four years after it first gained notoriety.
If you are, however, intent on trying GCE, we offer some guidelines for selecting the product:
- By far the most important factor is to purchase locally, or use only a trusted vendor who sells more than just one product.
- Avoid any website using the name or image of Dr. Oz to promote garcinia cambogia extract, or even those that hint at him, using such phrases as “a famous TV doctor.”
- Avoid any website with the word “garcinia” in its name.
- Avoid any website which claims it is almost out of stock on the item. GCE is readily available.
- Avoid “review” sites or blogs which offer a glowing review and end with a link to purchase the product. These are often fake reviews by affiliate marketers trying to sell the product.
- Beware of fake “news” sites offering info on garcinia cambogia, and then concluding with several of their “top picks.” These are also usually affiliate websites with a stake in selling the products they endorse.
Pure Garcinia Cambogia is a good example of a company that breaks many of our guidelines above:
- It has the word “garcinia” in the name, and only sells one product.
- It indirectly mentions Dr. Oz, referring to “a famous TV doctor…”
- False urgency, stating “Pure Garcinia Cambogia has sold out in most major stores.”
- It was registered 3 days after the Dr. Oz episode aired
- “Reviews” appearing on the site are in the form of graphics, not text, and there is no way to add new comments.
- There is little information about the company to be found on the website, other than two vague addresses. (Their mailing address is the same as Calcrete Construction in Sun Valley, CA, while its “corporate” address is a “Mailbox Planet” in Pasadena.)
Read our full review of Pure Garcinia Cambogia Extract.
Compare this with GNC or Vitamin Shoppe. These vendors sell multiple brands of garcinia cambogia extract, allow user ratings, have locations in every major U.S. city, and existed long before the Dr. Oz episode aired in late 2012.
If you’ve tried garcinia cambogia extract, let us know which brand you used and your thoughts on the product.
Updated May 12, 2016
Originally published January 2014