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Nutrient - HCA may help apple shapes target visceral fat

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is an active ingredient extracted from the rind of the Indian fruit Garcinia cambogia (tamarind). It is traditionally used to aid weight management and now scientific trials suggest that it may be particularly good at targeting visceral fat - the fat that is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and an apple-shaped physique.

Scientists in Japan carried out a 12 week trial to study the effects of HCA supplementation on overweight subjects. The study was performed according to a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled design. The participants were men and women aged between 20 and 65 years, with visceral fat levels that exceeded 90 cubic centimetres. During the trial, the participants were randomly assigned to receive either 1000mg of HCA per day or a placebo pill for 12 weeks. At the end of the treatment period, both groups were administered a placebo for four weeks, to assess any rebound effect. Regular CT scans were performed on the subjects to measure their body fat levels.

The results, after the end of the 12 weeks supplementation and 4 week rebound period, showed that the HCA-supplemented group had significantly reduced visceral, subcutaneous and total fat areas, compared with those taking the placebo. What’s more, there were no adverse effects from the supplement regime and no signs of a rebound effect between weeks 12 and 16.

The researchers concluded their study by saying: “G. cambogia reduced abdominal fat accumulation in subjects, regardless of sex, who had the visceral fat accumulation type of obesity. No rebound effect was observed. It is, therefore, expected that G. cambogia may be useful for the prevention and reduction of accumulation of visceral fat.” 

Article References

K Hayamizu et al. Current Therapeutic Research, 2003, 64(8):551-567

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