Garcinia Cambogia is being sold in supplement form and is being touted as a weight loss miracle. It reportedly can help people lose a good deal of weight over a short period of time. Used with caution, it can provide impressive results, but as with any weight loss supplement, garcinia cambogia can be dangerous if used improperly. In fact, it can be toxic in some cases. It is specifically problematic when used with antidepressants.
A study was published in the April edition of the Journal of Medical Toxicology detailing the risk of serotonin toxicity associated with the combined use of garcinia cambogia and antidepressants. The weight loss supplement has shown to be toxic for those taking an antidepressant, which results in an abnormally high level of serotonin.
Dr. Robert Hendrickson, from the Department of Emergency Medicine of Oregon Health and Science University, is a toxicologist who confirmed that the combination of antidepressants that are designed to raise the feel good hormone serotonin levels with the garcinia cambogia supplement that also works to increase serotonin. The result is too much of a good thing. Serotonin toxicity may involve muscle spams, stuttering, excessive sweating, confusion, nausea, diarrhea, a rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. Though serotonin is naturally produced by the brain and is a necessary hormone, too much of it can actually be fatal.
Due to the fact that supplements are not regulated by the FDA the same way that tradition prescription medicines are, there is no way to tell if a person is actually consuming the ingredients listed on the bottle’s label or some other medication or filler. These other ingredients may also interfere with prescription medicines and lead to toxicity.
Garcinia cambogia is a small round fruit that is shaped like a pumpkin. The rind of the fruit contains hydroxycitric acid and it is used to prevent fat storage. It is known to help people feel full longer so they do not overeat and it promotes lean muscle mass, which also helps burn fat and transform how the body looks. Because the supplement contains serotonin, it also helps improve mood, thus curbing the need for emotional eating. The extract gained national attention in 2012 when Dr. Oz brought discussed its benefits on one of his shows.
Though the weight loss supplement can cause nausea and headaches, according to WebMD, it is deemed safe for the most part, as long as it is taken as directed. It is recommended for short-term use for up to 12 weeks. It is not recommended for pregnant women and there has not been a definitive study that proves its effectiveness.
More research is needed to determine if the toxic level of serotonin is actually due to the combination of garcinia cambogia and antidepressants or if a particular antidepressant is responsible for the toxicity. Meanwhile, Dr. Hendrickson states that he is hesitant to label the weight loss supplement as “dangerous,” but it should be used with caution, especially when used along with prescription drugs. It is important to report the use of garcinia cambogia to the physician responsible for administering prescription drugs to avoid possible interactions and toxic levels of serotonin.
By Tracy Rose