Citrimax / Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA): An Effective Carb Blocker?
Known as hydroxycitric acid (HCA for short), or Citrimax, this popular supplement has become a standard ingredient in many popular weight loss products. Derived from the rind of the Indian Garcinia cambogia fruit, hydroxycitric acid is used primarily as a “carb blocker” in such products. And initially at least, it seemed like a good idea to do so.
Early animal studies, for instance, seemed to indicate that HCA/Citrimax displayed an amazing ability to block the conversion of carbohydrates into fat by inhibiting an enzyme called ATP-Citrate Lyase. It also appeared to suppress appetite as well.
Marketers assumed hydroxycitric acid would prove as an effective a diet and weight loss aid to humans, as it appeared to be to animals. Unfortunately, they made this assumption without the benefit of any double blind, placebo-controlled testings. It’s well-known in scientific circles that promising results garnered from animal testings do not guarantee positive results in human subjects.
And unfortunately, this certainly appeared to be the case with Citrimax / hydroxycitric acid. An early study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1596-600) indicated that hydroxycitric acid has no positive weight loss effects, concluding…
“Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo.”
Further studies (see Physiol Behav. 2000 Oct 1-15;71(1-2):87-94) dispelled HCA’s ability to increase satiety, or reduce hunger.
To add some confusion to the matter, some contradictory information does exist. For example, however; this small Europrean study for example, showed HCA increased satiety and reduce energy intake.
Despiute the largely dismal performance in clinicla studies, some feel there is still hope for Citrimax. Will Brink, supplement guru and author of Fat Loss Revealed, feels Hydroxycitric acid still holds promise for several reasons. According to him, early studies were not perfomed with a high enough dosage of HCA. Will suggests that a minimum of 1-5 grams daily is required for any effect. He also suggests newer forms of Citrimax HCA are much more absorbable, and may lead directly to a more positive affect.
For example, Interhealth’s SuperCitrimax™ is a patent-pending form of HCA where the HCA is bonded to calcium and magnesium to increase potency and bioavailibility. SuperCitrimax™yields a much more concentrated form of citrimax, and probably is the version to experiment at this time.
Although real data is relatively hard to come by, one clinical study performed at Georgetown University Medical Center (see J Med. 2004;35(1-6):33-48) showed that not only was SuperCitrimax™ effective, it significantly outperformed plain citrimax as a weight loss agent (not that difficult I would imagine… since we’ve already seen how little citrimax does).
The dosage, it should be noted, was pretty substantial: 2,800 mg of SuperCitrimax daily (obviously then, any product that contains a few hundred milligrams of ingredient is going to provide ZERO results). Of course, study participants were dieting too; all were restricted to 2,000 calories per day. They also walked 30 minutes per day, 5 days out of 7.
Although I personally have never seen much in the way of results from Citrimax HCA (and never heard anyone rave over its effectiveness) it may be worth experimenting with the more concentrated SuperCitrimax™ at the appropriate dosage. I’d recommend using it in isolation (and not in a fat burner that contains HCA as part of its overall formula) to more accurately asses its effects and benefits.
It’s a pretty cheap supplement so you won’t be out of a lot of cash either (BodyBuilding.com—our recommended online retailer—sells 90 caps of the NOW brand Super Citrimax for less than $15!).