Garcinia Cambogia and Serotonin: How Two Chemicals Work Inside Your Body

garcinia cambogia fresh from the tree

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard about garcinia cambogia and serotonin. Some pushers consider garcinia cambogia, also called Malabar tamarind, to be a miracle fruit. Advocates say a chemical in the fruit’s rind can help eaters lose weight and feel happier. To improve mood, of course, a substance must affect serotonin levels in the brain. In this article, we look at how garcinia cambogia and serotonin work together insider your body.

What Is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit native to Indonesia. Locals call the fruit Malabar tamarind. The fruit resembles a pumpkin and is green for the first few weeks of its life. Later, it ripens to a yellow color. Garcinia cambogia has a high concentration of the chemical hydroxycitric acid. A few studies have shown this chemical to be effective in controlling weight. It also may boost serotonin levels.

What is Serotonin?

chemical makeup of serotonin
Image: Public Domain, Harbin, via Wikimedia

Your nervous system is comprised of a series of nerves and connections. cambogia and serotonin work together insider your body., helping your brain to function. Serotonin is one of these compounds. In simple terms, serotonin sends signals to your brain. Low serotonin is often linked to feelings of anxiety, depression, and lethargy.

Generally, you can increase serotonin levels in your body by eating a diet rich in certain amino acids. Specifically, if you don’t have enough serotonin, you may want to consume cheese, red meat, and nuts. Boosting serotonin levels can help you reduce depression, control anxiety, better digest food and maintain healthy bones. It can also assist with living a healthy lifestyle.

For most people, normal serotonin ranges between 101 and 231 nanograms per milliliter. While low serotonin levels can contribute to depression and anxiety, too much isn’t good for you either. In fact, if you have high levels of the compound in your digestive system, you may develop tumors in your small intestine, colon, stomach, appendix or lungs. A doctor can test your serotonin levels and discuss treatment options with you.

Is There a Need for Garcinia Cambogia and Serotonin?

garcinia cambogia product box sold in the market
Image: CC BY 2.0, Mike Mozart, via flckr

There’s a need for Garcinia Cambogia and Serotonin? Studies have shown that garcinia cambogia’s HCA compound is useful in helping test subjects control weight. If you are looking to shed a few pounds, you may appreciate the satiated feeling you get after consuming HCA. Since HCA also boosts serotonin, it may help alleviate depression and reduce anxiety.

What About Weight?

There is no question that obesity is an epidemic in many parts of the world. Of course, being overweight is a contributing factor to a variety of serious illnesses and health complications. Inside the human body, an enzyme, called citrate lysate, encourages the body to make fat cells. If you can neutralize this enzyme, you may not pack on pounds. While there are many ways to control citrate lysate, HCA is generally effective. As mentioned, HCA is a compound that comes from garcinia cambogia. Since HCA also promotes the production of serotonin, an appetite suppressor, you may feel less hungry after consuming garcinia cambogia.

While serotonin works to suppress hunger, it also boosts mood. Like obesity, depression has become a serious problem for populations around the globe. In fact, doctors treat thousands of patients every day for anxiety, depression and mood imbalance. Since garcinia cambogia’s HCA compound increases serotonin, consuming it may be a better alternative to treating depression and anxiety than psychoactive drugs.

It Helps More Than You Think

Some reports have revealed that garcinia cambogia may be useful in managing type two diabetes and high cholesterol. When given to mice with these conditions, HCA lowered bad cholesterol levels. It also helped mice better metabolize glucose. While these effects have not yet been studied in humans, lab results are encouraging. Still, if you are taking prescription drugs or insulin to manage medical conditions, you should not deviate from them without the approval of your treating physician.

As always, whether you are looking to maintain a healthy weight or boost your mood, you should speak with a medical professional before taking supplements, changing your diet or doing anything else.

How Does Someone Consume Garcinia Cambogia?

There are two primary ways to consume garcinia cambogia. The first is the most obvious. You could simply eat the fruit. Of course, since garcinia cambogia is not as common as bananas or apples, you may have trouble finding it. Health food stores and fresh supermarkets are your best bet. If you live near one, you may also want to look for garcinia cambogia at an Asian market. Asking for the fruit by its common name, Malabar tamarind, is a good idea.

garcinia tree with new fruits
Image: CC0 Creative Commons, sarangib, via Pixabay

Another way to benefit from garcinia cambogia is to take a supplement. In fact, you can find HCA in supplements ranging from pills to diet drinks. There is insufficient medical research into the process of taking HCA from the garcinia cambogia fruit and putting it into a supplement, though. For other chemical compounds, the process often introduces additives that may have side effects. Likewise, concentrating HCA into a supplement may have unforeseen consequences.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration generally regulates consumables. It does not, however, have a say with supplements. Since garcinia cambogia is a non-toxic fruit, it is likely safe to consume. To know whether an HCA supplement is also safe, you must look at the anecdotal evidence. Since the FDA has not mandated a recall of the substance, you may presume it is safe to take. Nonetheless, if you notice any physical, emotional or mental side effects, you should discontinue taking an HCA supplement or eating garcinia cambogia and seek emergency medical treatment immediately.

When Should You Use Garcinia Cambogia and Serotonin?

If you want to lose weight, maintain a healthy lifestyle and feel less depressed, garcinia cambogia may be a good option. That’s because the HCA compound boosts serotonin, which helps with all of these situations (Garcinia Cambogia and Serotonin).

Does garcinia cambogia treat depression and anxiety? For physicians to consider any substance a cure, they must have significant medical research on the subject. For garcinia cambogia and its HCA compound, there simply isn’t enough medical proof that it treats depression and anxiety. Sure, studies have shown that HCA can increase serotonin. Further, serotonin has been shown to improve depression and anxiety. Connecting the two, however, isn’t as easy as it may seem.

While laboratory animals have experienced mood improvements after consuming HCA, human patients haven’t participated in enough studies to draw a definitive link. Still, if you hate the thought of taking a pharmaceutical compound to treat depression or control anxiety, HCA may be the solution. You must note, though, that depression, anxiety and mood disorders are serious mental health conditions. If you are suffering from any mental disorder, you don’t want to mess around. Contact your healthcare provider for a consultation on how best to manage these conditions.

There are some individuals who should not consume HCA. That is, HCA can interact badly with certain medications. It can also adversely affect those with some medical conditions. Please see the following lists so that you know not to introduce the compound into your system. 

If You Take Medication to Treat

  • Asthma medication
  • Iron supplement
  • Pain medication
  • Insulin injections
  • Blood thinner
  • You take a statin to treat high cholesterol

Or If You…

  • Are Pregnant or nursing
  • Have kidney disease
  • You have liver disease
  • Consume excessive amounts of alcohol

If, however, you are looking for a general way to improve your overall health and mental wellbeing, trying an HCA supplement probably won’t hurt.

Final Thoughts on Garcinia Cambogia and Serotonin

garcinia fruits fresh from the trees
Image: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, Lalsinbox, via Wikimedia

Garcinia cambogia has some exciting potential. So much of the human digestive system and brain depends on serotonin. Since serotonin is a mood-enhancing substance that also controls appetite, increasing serotonin levels may help you feel happier and lose weight. Even if you don’t notice a testable improvement, the placebo effect may be beneficial. Since studies have shown success in lab animals, taking an HCA supplement or eating garcinia cambogia may be just what you need.

Nonetheless, the weight-loss and mood-boosting properties of HCA have not been adequately tested in human beings. Therefore, a better strategy for losing weight may be focusing on diet and exercise. These, of course, are proven ways to manage weight gain. They also improve serotonin levels on their own.

Further, depression and anxiety are difficult to diagnose. Often, their causes are complex and changing. While attempting to increase serotonin through consumption of HCA is not a bad idea, it may miss the mark entirely. Waiting to treat depression or manage anxiety can be dangerous. If you are considering harming yourself or others, you must seek emergency care before trying to manage any condition with a supplement or change in diet. If you are looking for a minor mood enhancement, adding some garcinia cambogia and serotonin to your daily supplement regimen may give your mood the tweak you want.

Remember, though, as, with any supplement or dietary change, you should always consult your physician before consuming garcinia cambogia or any supplement that contains HCA. This is specifically important if you suffer from any medical condition or have a history of experiencing adverse effects from HCA, garcinia cambogia or any other substance.

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