Was Dr. Oz Right?


Dr. Oz was grilled on Capital Hill for promoting a questionable weight loss supplement called garcinia cambogia. However, a handful of small studies, including one from InQpharm Europe Ltd in the U.K., published in obscure journals conclude that this extract might have some merit for weight loss. More than 90 overweight adults were given either placebos or a combination supplement that contained several extracts, including garcinia cambogia, camellia sinensis, and unroasted coffea arabica, for 14 weeks while following diets that had cut calories by 500 calories a day. Results showed a 2.26kg weight loss in the supplemented group compared to only a 0.56kg weight loss in the placebo group. There also was a greater loss of body fat mass, waist circumference, and hip circumference in the supplemented group. 

In Perspective: The 5 pound weight loss during a 14 week study is not a miraculous effect, since cutting 500 calories a day for that length of time should result in more than twice that level of weight loss. It is more likely that both groups ate more than they reported, with the placebo group fudging the numbers more than the supplemented group. In addition, previous research found that garcinia cambogia might increase liver damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress.

Chong P, Beah Z, Grube B, et al: IQP-GC-101 reduces body weight and body fat mass. Phytotherapy Research 2014;May 2nd. 

Kim Y, Choi M, park Y, et al: Garcinia cambogia attenuates diet-induced adiposity but exacerbates hepatic collagen accumulation and inflammation. World Journal of Gastroenterology 2013;19:4689-4701.


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