Safety assessment of (-)-hydroxycitric acid and Super CitriMax, a novel calcium/potassium salt

Food Chem Toxicol. 2004 Sep;42(9):1513-29. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2004.04.014.


(-)-Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is a principle constituent (10-30%) of the dried fruit rind of Garcinia cambogia, a plant native to Southeastern Asia. The dried rind has been used for centuries throughout Southeast Asia as a food preservative, flavoring agent and carminative. Extensive experimental studies show that HCA inhibits fat synthesis and reduces food intake. The objective of this review is to systematically review the available safety/toxicity literature on HCA to determine its safety in-use. The primary mechanism of action of HCA appears to be related to its ability to act as a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme ATP-citrate lyase, which catalyzes the conversion of citrate and coenzyme A to oxaloacetate and acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA), primary building blocks of fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis. Super CitriMax, a novel calcium/potassium-HCA extract (HCA-SX), is considerably more soluble and bioavailable than calcium-based HCA ingredients. Acute oral toxicity studies in animals demonstrate that CitriMax (50% HCA as calcium salt) has a low acute oral toxicity. In a subchronic study in rats, the gavage administration of HCA-SX at doses up to 2500 mg/kg/day for a period of 90 days caused a significant decrease in body weight and reduction in feed consumption without any adverse effects. The structure, mechanism of action, long history of use of HCA and other toxicity studies indicate that HCA-SX is unlikely to cause reproductive or developmental effects. HCA-SX was not mutagenic in the presence or absence of metabolic activation in Ames genotoxicity assays in strains TA98 and TA102. HCA-SX-induced increases in number of revertants in other strains (TA100 and TA1535 in the absence of metabolic activation and in strain TA1537 in the presence of metabolic activation) but these were not considered as biologically indicative of a mutagenic effect. In several, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials employing up to 2800 mg/day HCA, no treatment-related adverse effects were reported. There is sufficient qualitative and quantitative scientific evidence, including animal and human data suggesting that intake of HCA at levels up to 2800 mg/day is safe for human consumption.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite Depressants / toxicity*
  • Citrates / toxicity*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Food Additives / toxicity*
  • Garcinia cambogia / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Toxicity Tests


  • Appetite Depressants
  • Citrates
  • Food Additives
  • Plant Extracts
  • hydroxycitric acid