HCA is a substance traditionally used in Indian and Thai cooking that comes from certain tropical plants. It is also used as a weight loss supplement, but its effectiveness has not been definitively proven. HCA may work by decreasing fat formation, decreasing appetite, or affecting blood sugar. Commonly reported side effects include headaches, stomach pain, and nausea.
Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is a substance found in tropical plants, such as Garcinia cambogia. It is traditionally used in Indian and Thai cooking. However, it is also commonly used in weight loss supplements.
(Click HCA Uses for more information.)
Currently, there are a large number of products that contain it. Many weight loss pills (such as CitraMax®) contain HCA, either alone or in combination with other ingredients. In order to find this ingredient on a product label, look for any of the following terms:
- Brandal berry or brindle berry
- Garcinia cambogia
- Hydroxycitric acid or hydroxycitrate
- Malabar tamarind.
There are several different theories about how it may work for weight loss. It may decrease the formation of fat in the body, decrease the appetite, or have effects on blood sugar or how the body handles carbohydrates. Most of the research in this area has used animals, not human subjects, and it is important to understand that HCA may not have the same effects in humans.
Some studies suggest that it may work for weight loss, and other studies that show that it is not effective at all. At this time, there is not enough evidence to know either way.
(Click Does HCA Work? for more information. You can also click How to Lose Weight for helpful suggestions for losing weight.)