The alarming increase in the number of cases related to the obesity through out the world has inspired scientists to discover new drugs and treatment methods that would help in treating this problem. One such discovered compound is Hydroxycitrate [(-) hydroxycitric acid, HCA]. This compound is found to have special properties that can help in the weight loss process. After its discovery, it become a major component of several weight loss medications like Citrin (Sabinsa Corp.), CitriMax (InterHealth Co.), No-Diet Diet , Bio-Max 3000, PhytriMax, Lite Bites , Garcinia Trim-Plus, Garcinia-Max Diet System, Citrilite, Citrichrome, Lipotrol, MicroSlim, Body Busters, and Super Prolean Mega Fat Burner. This is also popularly known as Citrimax. It is a basically a derivative of citric acid.
What are the sources of Hydroxycitric acid?
Hydroxycitric acid can be extracted from an Indian plant called Garcinia cambogia. Several other species of the genus Garcinia also have found to be the sources of this compound. Brindall berry and Malabar Tamarind are the common names of these plants and are most widely used as the sources for the commercial preparation of hydroxycitric acid.
What is the mode of action of hydroxycitric acid?
Several possible modes of action of this compound in the weight loss process have been suggested by the scientists. Few of them are given below.
An enzyme called ATP citrate lyase which is produced in the mitochondria of the cells is necessary in the synthesis of fatty acids in the body. Hydroxycitric acid acts as a as a potent inhibitor of the enzyme ATP citrate lyase or in the layman language acts as a inhibitor of citrate cleavage enzyme. The citrate when translocates itself from the mitochondria to the cytoplasm within the cell is lysed by this enzyme to form acetyl CoA and oxaloacetate. This step is considered to be important during the synthesis of fatty acids. Hydroxycitric acid inhibits the action of this enzyme and prevents the cleavage of the citrate as a result of which the fatty acid synthesis stops in the body.
Hydroxycitric acid is found to be efficient in reducing the weight gain process by encouraging the subject to eat less. This component is assumed to enhance the production of glycogen in the liver so that all the fats and proteins in the body are converted to glucose. This process is termed as gluconeogenesis. It is also assumed to increase the glycogen production in the body. The increase in the glycogen and glucose levels act as a satiety signal that is giving a feeling of fullness because of which the person does not feel like eating anything. This way the weight gain process is controlled.
Another suggested mode of action is enhancing the process of thermo genesis in the body. In this process, fat or other compounds are metabolized to produce heat rather than metabolic energy that is ATP. This process is generally carried out by the brown fat but studies suggest that Hydroxycitric acid make the normal fat also to undergo this process. This way all the excess fat in the body gets used up.
Though scientists are not very sure of these modes of actions, the efficiency of hydroxycitric acid as a weight loss ingredient cannot be questioned.
Are there any side effects of Hydroxycitric acid?
Hydroxycitric acid is considered to be as safe as citric acid that we use in our day to day life. Since it has been used as an ingredient in the Indian dishes since ages, it can be completely trusted. But still, usage of the products with this as a component is not suitable for young children, pregnant and lactating ladies. It is also suggested that it can lead to dangerous results when used by diabetic patients as the glucose and glycogen production is heavily increased by this compound. So, it is always better to consult your doctor before using the products with hydroxycitric acid. And diabetic patients should not use these products. These products also increase the insulin levels in the body. So go for regular check ups and make sure that heavy doses do not interrupt with the normal metabolism of your body.
Where will I find the products which have Hydroxycitric acid?
These products can be found in any medical or drug stores. But it is always better to use these products after bring prescribed by the doctor.