Background: (-)-Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is an active ingredient extracted from the rind of the Indian fruit Garcinia cambogia. It inhibits adenosine triphosphate citrate lyase and has been used in the treatment of obesity.
Objective: The primary end point of this study was the effects of 12 weeks of G cambogia extract administration on visceral fat accumulation. The secondary end points were body indices (including height, body weight, body mass index [BMI], waist and hip circumference, and waist-hip ratio) and laboratory values (including total cholesterol, triacylglycerol, and free fatty acid).
Methods: This study was performed according to a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group design. Subjects aged 20 to 65 years with a visceral fat area >90 cm(2) were enrolled. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive treatment for 12 weeks with G cambogia (containing 1000 mg of HCA per day) or placebo. At the end of the treatment period, both groups were administered placebo for 4 weeks to assess any rebound effect. Each subject underwent a computed tomography scan at the umbilical level at -2, 0, 12, and 16 weeks.
Results: Forty-four subjects were randomized at baseline, and 39 completed the study (G cambogia group, n = 18; placebo group, n = 21). At 16 weeks, the G cambogia group had significantly reduced visceral, subcutaneous, and total fat areas compared with the placebo group (all indices P<0.001). No severe adverse effect was observed at any time in the test period. There were no significant differences in BMI or body weight at week 12, but there were slight numeric decreases in body weight and BMI in men. There were no signs of a rebound effect from week 12 to week 16.
Conclusion: 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.
Keywords: Garcinia cambogia; computed tomography scan; hydroxycitric acid; visceral fat accumulation.