Prior to taking the supplement, people may wonder if HCA is safe. Precautions and warnings to be aware of include the possibility of drug interactions and that what you see on the label may not accurately reflect what is in the product. HCA safety precautions also apply to people with liver or kidney disease or diabetes and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Is HCA Safe?Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is an ingredient often used in weight loss supplements (see Weight Loss Pills). In order to use HCA safely, you should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking it if you have:
- Liver disease, such as liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any other chronic disease or health problem.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific HCA Warnings and PrecautionsWarnings and precautions to be aware of concerning HCA safety include the following:
- Supplements (including HCA) are not regulated as closely as drugs. In fact, supplements can be sold in the United States without ever having been shown to be safe or effective.
- HCA may affect blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, check with your healthcare provider before taking HCA. You may need to monitor your blood sugar more often, and your healthcare provider may need to adjust the dose of your diabetes medications.
- Drugs and supplements are often cleared from the body through the liver and kidneys. Therefore, if you have liver or kidney disease, your body may not handle HCA as well as it should.
- HCA supplements may interact with medications (see HCA Drug Interactions).
- It is not known if HCA is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women (see HCA and Pregnancy and HCA and Breastfeeding).
- If you decide to use supplements, what you see on the label may not reflect what is in the bottle. For example, some herbal supplements have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals or prescription drugs, and some have been found to have much more or much less of the featured ingredient than their label states. Therefore, make sure the manufacturer of your HCA is trusted and reputable. It is a good sign if a manufacturer abides by the rules of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). It is also a good sign if a product has the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) seal, which means that the product has been independently tested and shown to contain the correct ingredients in the amounts listed on the label. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are most reputable.