So you’re looking to lose weight and searching around for products and supplements that can help and you come across this combo: garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar. What are these weight-loss wonders, and what about taking them together helps you lose weight? We will define and clarify each of these supplements, and explain the thinking and evidence behind this new concoction. In the end, it will be up to your own evaluation whether or not you want to try it for yourself. Read on to make your decision!
Garcinia cambogia comes from a yellowish-green, pumpkin-shaped fruit of the same name, which is also known as Garcinia gummi-gutta or Malabar tamarind. It is a popular weight-loss supplement that is made from the extract of the garcinia cambogia fruit’s peel, which has high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), the active ingredient that people seek for its weight-loss benefits and appetite-suppression ability.
Human studies have shown that garcinia cambogia can cause moderate weight loss, an average of about 2 pounds over a 2- to 12-week period when compared to the controlled placebo group. Some studies do not show any significant difference between garcinia cambogia use and a placebo group, and further research is still being done to make sure garcinia cambogia is regularly causing a difference. That means there is an indication that garcinia cambogia causes weight loss, but so far the results are still in their scientific infancy regarding weight loss specifically.
Garcinia cambogia is thought to aid weight loss in two ways, first as an appetite suppressant, as has been shown in both rat models and human studies. The rat studies suggest the appetite suppression comes from the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia that increases serotonin in the brain, as higher serotonin levels in the blood are associated with reduced appetite.
Garcinia cambogia also reduces belly fat and blocks new fat production, as shown in both human and animal studies.
Outside of its weight-loss potential, garcinia cambogia’s ability to reduce the production of new fatty acids while lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol improves several risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. These effects are due to its inhibition of citrate lyase, an enzyme that has a key role in fat production. In total these results have a positive effect on the overall health and well-being of those individuals who were studied.
An additional benefit that is still being tested is garcinia cambogia’s emerging influence on blood sugar control and other anti-diabetes attributes, including decreasing insulin levels, reducing inflammation, and increasing insulin sensitivity. Animal studies have even suggested that garcinia cambogia may help protect against ulcers and reduce inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract.
Reported side effects from using garcinia cambogia have been mild, with claims of headaches, skin rashes, and digestive upset, but it is deemed safe enough for human testing in otherwise healthy people if taken as recommended on the label. Anyone with a medical condition should consult a doctor before taking this or any supplement.
Historically used as a health tonic, apple cider vinegar has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, and more recently it’s been investigated for its weight-loss effects. Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step fermentation process by which apples are crushed and combined with yeast to turn their sugar into alcohol. After that, bacteria is added to turn the alcohol into acetic acid, which is the main active component of the final substance that here is used for its weight-loss potential.
Acetic acid is a short-chain fatty acid that has been shown to aid weight loss in a few ways. By lowering blood sugar levels, decreasing insulin levels, improving metabolism to boost fat burning, reducing belly fat storage, and suppressing the appetite.
A suppressed appetite often leads to a reduced calorie intake, as people generally consume fewer calories throughout the day when they feel fuller or more satiated. One small study showed that taking apple cider vinegar with a starchy meal slowed down stomach emptying in the test subjects, which resulted in a lower blood sugar level and an increased feeling of fullness in those participants.
According to one study, 1-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day can help with weight loss and a reduction of body weight. Apple cider vinegar has also shown results in lowering blood sugar and insulin levels after eating, lowering fasting blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity, improving the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), decreasing harmful and increasing good cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, and even killing harmful viruses and bacteria. Vinegar can reduce certain viruses and bacteria up to 90-95%, including the bacteria that cause food poisoning.
Adding apple cider vinegar to your diet can be as simple as using it in combination with olive oil as a salad dressing over leafy greens, for pickling certain vegetables, or by mixing it in a glass of water. One reported incident came from a woman who claimed her throat was burned when an apple cider vinegar capsule became lodged in her esophagus—diluting the vinegar in a glass of water would prevent that potential risk entirely.
Having been used for thousands of years without issue, there are no known damaging side effects of apple cider vinegar taken in moderation as a supplement. It should be diluted in room temperature or warm water, and taken in the recommended dosage levels, except by individuals with gastroparesis, common in those with type 1 diabetes, which already causes delated stomach emptying. Those with gastroparesis may find the condition worsened with use of apple cider vinegar, and should consult a doctor first before taking it.
With the tropical fruit-derived garcinia cambogia showing potential as a weight-loss aid, and apple cider vinegar doing the same, some people have paired them together for a weight-loss double-punch. This may have had to do with a debunked story from 2017 claiming that a Cornell college student lost 37 pounds using an apple cider vinegar diet and garcinia cambogia pills as a supplement. The story was false (that kind of dramatic and sudden weight loss would be dangerous even if it were true), but since the original false story doctored some fake CNN graphics, it became a temporary viral sensation.
However, that falsified story does not mean that the scientific results of these products are invalid. Instead, since the results of apple cider vinegar and garcinia cambogia alone can be clinically hit-or-miss, the combination of the two supplemental substances is thought to lead to better results. Currently these results are anecdotal, as there have been no scientific studies specifically on the combination of the two, so make your own personal evaluation with informed skepticism.
As it stands right now, no one can give you any assurance that the garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar diet is any sort of weight-loss miracle. However, since there are scientific findings for each of these products individually, there is a certain synergistic potential to consider.
Garcinia cambogia suppresses the appetite through an increased production of serotonin. Apple cider vinegar’s acetic acid also has been shown to suppress appetite, so in this respect, both ingredients serve the same purpose via two different methods.
Garcinia cambogia inhibits the enzyme citrate lyase, which turns glucose and starch into body fat. With inhibition of fat storage, the carbohydrates you eat are used as energy rather than stored away (which helps to increase your energy). Apple cider vinegar also has an influence on an enzyme that works to store fat, AMP-activated protein kinase or AMPK. This enzyme curbs sugar and fat production in the liver and helps to break down fat in the body, so it, too, assists in stopping fat storage before it occurs.
Apple cider vinegar is shown to significantly lower insulin and blood sugar levels after eating, and improves insulin sensitivity up to 34% in those with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Garcinia cambogia’s anti-diabetes contributions include decreasing insulin levels, inflammation, and leptin levels, while improving blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. Again, both supplements are working on the same benefit from two different angles.
This is where apple cider vinegar stands out, as there are more indications that it helps burn existing fat already stored on the body as a byproduct of its boosting AMPK levels and increasing the genes responsible for fat burning in mouse models.
This is the category where garcinia cambogia has a higher showing of protecting against stomach ulcers and increasing protection for the the lining of the digestive tract.
Taking apple cider vinegar in liquid form can be done up to 3 times a day in 1-2 teaspoon doses. Garcinia cambogia can be taken at 1.5-gram doses 3 times a day before meals, either in powder or capsule form, though with capsules they may be designed to take once or twice per day, in which case taking them as recommended on the label is the best course of action. When purchasing, check for reputable sources, and evaluate their dosage recommendations first to make sure it’s the frequency you’re looking for.
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The bottom line of this combination of concoctions is that it’s up to you if you’d like to try them together. The science is still quite young, but the nascent research suggests that both garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar promote safe, moderate weight loss, along with other peripheral health benefits, and with very minimal to no side effects.
If you are thinking of trying garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar, be sure to adhere to the recommended dosages, and consult a medical professional if you have any existing health conditions that may be affected by any supplement. Other than that, conduct your own experiment, and draw your own conclusions!