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Hydroxycitric acid (HCA), a derivative of citric acid, is found primarily in a small, sweet, purple fruit called the Malabar tamarind or, as it is most commonly called, Garcinia cambogia. Test tube and animal research suggests that HCA may be helpful in weight loss because of its effects on metabolism. However, studies in humans have found mixed results.
Although animal and test tube studies as well as two human trials suggest that HCA might encourage weight loss , other studies have found no benefit. 1
The Malabar tamarind (from which HCA is extracted) is a traditional food and flavoring in Southeast Asia. No serious side effects have been reported from animal or human studies involving either fruit extracts or the concentrated chemical. A proprietary calcium-potassium salt of HCA appears to have undergone considerable formal safety study, without evidence of toxicity appearing. 2 However, maximum safe doses have not been established, especially for pregnant or nursing women, young children, or people with severe liver or kidney disease.