Also indexed as: Garcinia cambogia, HCA
(-)-Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is a compound found in Garcinia cambogia, a type of
fruit. HCA has a chemical structure similar to that of citric acid (the primary acid in citrus
Where is it found?
HCA is found in only a few plants, with one rich source being the rind of a little
pumpkin-shaped fruit called Garcinia cambogia, which is native to Southeast Asia.
This fruit (also called Malabar tamarind) is used as a condiment in dishes such as curry.
HCA has been used in
connection with the following conditions (refer to it for complete
Who is likely to be deficient?
Since it is not an essential nutrient, HCA is not associated with a deficiency state.
How much is usually taken?
Optimal amounts of HCA remain unknown. Although dieters sometimes take 500 mg of HCA three
times per day (before each meal), this amount is far below the levels used in animal research
(figured on a per-pound body weight basis). The effect of HCA is enhanced when used in
conjunction with a low-fat diet, because HCA
does nothing to reduce the caloric effects of dietary fat. Since HCA’s mechanism of
action seems to be at least partially a blockade of conversion of simple sugars into fats,1 it is likely to work best in
conjunction with a high simple sugar diet. HCA may therefore be less useful if it only offsets
the negative effects of an otherwise unhealthy diet. High-fiber diets may impair absorption of HCA as noted
above. HCA supplements are available in many forms, including tablets, capsules, powders,
snack bars, and chewing gum.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
HCA has not been linked to any adverse effects.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions
1. Lowenstein JM. Experiments with (-)hydroxycitrate. In: Burtley W,
Kornberg HL, Quayle JR, eds. Essays in Cell Metabolism. New York: Wiley Interscience,