Garcinia cambogia is a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit native to Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. While the fruit itself is pretty rare in U.S. grocery stores, it’s the source of an increasingly popular weight loss supplement. The extract of garcinia cambogia’s peel contains Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA), a substance that many believe may aid in weight loss (1). Some evidence suggests that HCA may increase serotonin in your brain, which could act as an appetite suppressant (2) (3). There’s also some research that suggests HCA may increase fat metabolism and be useful for reducing belly fat among obese people (4). However, the research is far from conclusive. One of the largest studies on garcinia cambogia until this point was largely pessimistic as to the extract’s role in weight loss (5).

While evidence is split on its effectiveness as a weight loss tool, there are a wide range of garcinia cambogia supplements on the market. These range in terms of potency, and some research indicates that you should look for supplements that contain 50-60% HCA (6). With so many varieties of garcinia cambogia on the market, it’s important to be able to distinguish one product from another. 

Best Garcinia Cambogia

Editors’ Choice

NatureWise Pure Garcinia Cambogia

Pros:

  • Research indicates that to have any effect, garcinia cambogia supplements should include HCA in the 50-60% range; these capsules check in at 60%.
  • According to Labdoor, these scored very well for purity, meaning you can trust you’re getting a solid dose of HCA.
  • Each serving contains 500mg, 300mg of which are HCA. 
  • These vegetarian capsules are non-GMO and not produced with any artificial additives or fillers.

Cons:

  • These capsules also contain rice bran extract, which may make it unsuitable for folks with rice allergies.
NatureWise Pure Garcinia Cambogia
NatureWise Pure Garcinia Cambogia
NatureWise Pure Garcinia Cambogia

NatureWise trots out a competitively priced garcinia cambogia supplement containing 60% Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA). These vegetarian capsules rank highly for purity in third party testing via Labdoor. 

Contender

Health Plus Garcinia Cambogia

Pros:

  • Each serving contains 700mg of HCA, placing it on the higher end of the supplements we reviewed.
  • In addition to HCA, each capsule contains calcium, potassium and chromium. 
  • According to third party testing via Labdoor, the HCA in this product is reliable. 
  • The HCA in this supplement stands at 80%.
  • This product includes a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.

Cons:

  • Health Plus makes a lot of claims about additional health benefits, including improved moods and increased stamina, but these are not all reliably backed up by research. 
Health Plus Garcinia Cambogia
Health Plus Garcinia Cambogia
Health Plus Garcinia Cambogia

Offering 700mg of HCA per dose, Health Plus’s garcinia cambogia supplement sports a good track record of third party testing via Labdoor. Though their marketing may make some hard-to-prove claims, this should be a reliable source of garcinia cambogia.

Best Value

ZenVita Garcinia Cambogia

Pros:

  • These capsules are very competitively priced, with each serving only setting you back a smidge more than a dime.
  • ZenVita’s garcinia cambogia supplement scores very highly for purity in third party testing. 
  • At 95% HCA, this is one of the highest percentage of HCA you can find in a garcinia cambogia supplement. 
  • ZenVita does not add any calcium or chromium to their product, claiming that these elements actually dull the effectiveness of HCA. 

Cons:

  • While research reveals that you need at least 50-60% HCA for a garcinia cambogia supplement to be effective, there does not appear to be much evidence indicating that 95% HCA is necessarily more effective. 
ZenVita Garcinia Cambogia
ZenVita Garcinia Cambogia
ZenVita Garcinia Cambogia

At a cost of only a bit more than a dime per serving, ZenVita has a very competitively priced garcinia cambogia supplement. These “Maximum Strength” capsules contain 95% Hydroxycitric Acid. 

Most Unique Blend

NOWFoods Citra Max

Pros:

  • Third party testing by Labdoor reveals high ranks for purity and nutritional value on Labdoor. 
  • These citra max capsules include chromium, ginseng, and iodine, designed to support a healthy metabolic rate and manage glucose levels. 
  • Very competitively priced capsules, at less than a quarter per serving. 

Cons: 

  • Some folks may not appreciate the addition of ginseng in this product. 
NOWFoods Citra Max
NOWFoods Citra Max
NOWFoods Citra Max

NOWFoods Citra Max capsules include iodine, ginseng, and chromium in addition to HCA. This blend is designed to serve as an effective glucose management system. 

Highest Potency

NutriRise Garcinia Cambogia

Pros:

  • At 1500mg of HCA per serving, this is one of the stronger garcinia cambogia supplements we looked at. 
  • The garcinia cambogia extract used in NutriRise’s product checks in at 80% HCA. 
  • These vegetarian capsules are Non-GMO, gluten and dairy free. 
  • Made in a USA lab adhering to Current Good Manufacturing Practices standards. 

Cons:

  • Of the garcinia cambogia supplements we looked at, NutriRise ranked among the highest priced. 
NutriRise Garcinia Cambogia
NutriRise Garcinia Cambogia
NutriRise Garcinia Cambogia

Offering more punch than many of the garcinia cambogia supplements we looked at, NutriRise capsules contain 1500mg per serving. This 80% HCA supplement is made with entirely non-GMO products.

Methodology

Although the research on garcinia cambogia’s effectiveness as a weight loss supplement is far from conclusive, some evidence suggests it may play a role in suppressing appetites and cutting levels of fat in blood (7). This supplement’s popularity has spiked in recent years, with more and more manufacturers introducing their own version of garcinia cambogia to the market. With so many options out there, it’s important to know what features to look for. 

Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)

The active ingredient in garcinia cambogia is Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA), an acid found in the peel of this pumpkin-shaped fruit. Studies show that in order to see any effects from garcinia cambogia, it’s important that HCA is in the 50-60% range. Each supplement will have different HCA values – check the label and see what’s listed.

Additional Nutrients

Some garcinia cambogia supplements include additional amounts of various nutrients – such as chromium or calcium – while others stick to HCA.

Purity

With any supplement, it’s important to know what you’re putting into your body. Pay attention to third party tests for purity and read the ingredients label to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting. 

Cost

The simplest way to figure out cost is to divide the cost by the amount of servings listed on the label to determine the cost per serving. 

BarBend Tips

  • As with many dietary supplements, it’s important to consult with a medical professional before adding garcinia cambogia to your diet. 
  • Hydroxycitric Acid may play a role in suppressing your appetite. Still, exercise and a well-balanced diet are always going to be your friend in achieving any weight loss goals. 

Though it’s probably not a fat burning wonder supplement, garcinia cambogia may have appetite suppressing qualities. Before adding it to your diet, consult with a medical professional. If you do decide to check out garcinia cambogia, try to be diligent about how frequently you take it so you can really keep track of any effects you may or may not feel. 

References 

  1. Onakpoya I, Hung SK, Perry R, Wider B, Ernst E. The Use of Garcinia Extract (Hydroxycitric Acid) as a Weight loss Supplement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Clinical Trials. Journal of obesity. 2011;2011:509038.
  2. Ohia SE, Awe SO, LeDay AM, Opere CA, Bagchi D. Effect of hydroxycitric acid on serotonin release from isolated rat brain cortex. Research communications in molecular pathology and pharmacology. 2001;109(3-4):210-216. 
  3. Ohia SE, Opere CA, LeDay AM, Bagchi M, Bagchi D, Stohs SJ. Safety and mechanism of appetite suppression by a novel hydroxycitric acid extract (HCA-SX). Molecular and cellular biochemistry. 2002;238(1-2):89-103.‌
  4. Hayamizu K, Ishii Y, Kaneko I, et al. Effects of garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric Acid) on visceral fat accumulation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Current therapeutic research, clinical and experimental. 2003;64(8):551-567.
  5. Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, Vasselli JR, Pietrobelli A, Greenfield D, Nunez C. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998;280(18):1596-1600.‌
  6. Semwal RB, Semwal DK, Vermaak I, Viljoen A. A comprehensive scientific overview of Garcinia cambogia. Fitoterapia. 2015;102:134-148.‌
  7. Vasques CAR, Schneider R, Klein-Júnior LC, Falavigna A, Piazza I, Rossetto S. Hypolipemic effect of Garcinia cambogia in obese women. Phytotherapy research : PTR. 2014;28(6):887-891.‌