The Best Garcinia Cambogia Supplement
You can’t always trust what’s on the label
The best garcinia cambogia supplement has enough of its active ingredient, HCA, to be considered effective, plus a dose of potassium to help with absorption. It’s also been tested by a third party for label accuracy and product purity. To find the best, we pored through research studies and consulted supplement experts to find the safest picks that could help you lose weight.
Approved by two third-party testers, this option boasts 2700 mg of HCA per day, plus a dose of potassium to boost absorption. For potential weight loss, you’ll need to take nine pills per day.
The Best Garcinia Cambogia Supplements
Garcinia cambogia is one the most-hyped herbal supplements on the market, and that’s due in no small part to its appearance on the Dr. Oz show. The popular TV host touts its merits as a “revolutionary fat buster.” Is he right? Does garcinia cambogia actually provide an easy alternative to diet and exercise? Not so fast.
The doctors, dietitians, and scientific studies we consulted all agree: the benefits of garcinia cambogia are iffy at best. The single, most reliable way to lose weight, and skip any potentially off-putting side effects, is still old fashioned diet and exercise (you knew that was coming).
That doesn’t change the fact that losing weight is hard, and these supplements are popular — even though we couldn’t find an expert who would recommend them. So we wanted to find out more about how garcinia cambogia works, what makes for a potentially effective dose, and what to look out for in terms of safety for those who still want to give it a try.
- Nutrigold Garcinia Cambogia Gold Our top pick supplies exactly what its label says: a daily dose of 2700 mg of HCA or hydroxycitric acid, the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia. It also delivers 6 percent of your daily potassium needs. The daily dose is significant — for weight loss, you’ll need a total of nine pills per day — but the tradeoff is knowing exactly what’s in those capsules.
- Quality Encapsulations Garcinia Cambogia It claims to contain 1800 mg of HCA per day, though third party testers found that it delivers 19 percent less. While the label might be inaccurate, Labdoor didn’t flag it for any unsavory ingredients, and at 22 cents per dose, it’s easily our cheapest option. For weight loss, the label recommends 6 pills per day.
- Genesis Today Vegetarian Garcinia Cambogia Looking to ease your way into garcinia cambogia? This pick recommends a lower dose of 1440 mg of HCA per day. While Genesis Today is our most expensive finalist, third party testers found that it lives up to its label claims, without any questionable additives — a rarity in this category. For weight loss, you’ll take six pills per day.
How We Found the Best Garcinia Cambogia Supplement
We started with a comprehensive list of 99 supplements. That included every garcinia cambogia supplement available for purchase online that specifically included garcinia cambogia itself, not a mix of other weight loss ingredients We did not include store brands, or anything that was sold in gummy form (something about a weight loss supplement encased in sugar didn’t sit right).
We booted anything with a proprietary blend.
A proprietary blend on any supplement ingredient list is a red flag. The practice is commonly seen as a way for manufacturers to avoid telling you just how much of each ingredient the supplement contains. And when it comes to something like garcinia cambogia, in which the amount of HCA plays a huge role in determining the product’s effectiveness, it’s even more important to know exactly what you’re taking.
Purely Inspired 100% Pure Garcinia Cambogia Gummies, Genesis Today Garcinia Cambogia Superfruit Drink Mix, HIT Shape Pure Garcinia Lean, IntraMedic GarciniaRX Garcinia Cambogia, Irwin Naturals Garcinia HCA Fat Reduction Diet
We made sure someone dissected each supplement.
There’s very little regulation when it comes to supplement ingredients, which means it’s easy (and common) for manufactures to overstate the how much of the active ingredient is in each supplement. We wanted to find supplements that live up to their label claims and don’t contain questionable fillers, so we only looked at supplements that have been tested by an independent lab. In its review of the 29 best-selling garcinia cambogia supplements, Labdoor found that 21 of the 29 contained far less HCA than the label claimed. Some were also flagged for controversial ingredients, including certain preservatives and food colorings. ConsumerLab found similar results. Of the 11 supplements they analyzed, only six contained the amount listed on the label.
You’ve probably come across companies or publications touting a garcinia cambogia supplement that is FDA approved. That claim is a bold-faced lie. Allow Lyndsay Meyer, a press officer at the FDA, to clarify: “No dietary supplements, unless it’s a prescription, like folic acid, are approved by the FDA. There are none approved being sold over the counter. Period.”
Supplements, Meyer explained, are regulated as food under The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. That means they don’t need to go through the traditional FDA approval process that a prescription drug would. Supplement makers do have to submit their claims — for example, that their product speeds weight loss or reduces bloat — to the agency within 30 days of going to market. And they have to provide the address of their manufacturing facility so that the FDA can add it to their round of inspections (they check for things like a clean processing environment), though the product may go to market before an inspection can take place. So unless the label claim presents a safety concern, that’s often where the FDA’s involvement ends.
4 Dimensions Nutrition Triple Garcinia, Alfa Vitamins Garcinia Cambogia, All Natural Advice Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Betancourt Nutrition Essentials Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Bio Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia Extract Liquid, BioGanix 100% Pure Garcinia Cambogia Extract, BioGenetic Laboratories Garcinia TRIM, Bluebonnet Nutrition Super Fruit Garcinia Cambogia Fruit Rind Extract, Botanic Choice Garcinia Slim, Creative Bioscience Garcinia Cambogia 1234 Appetite Control, Creative Bioscience Garcinia Cambogia Complex Green Coffee Bean, DaVinci Laboratories Garcinia Cambogia with Chromemate,
Doctor’s A-Z Garcinia Cambogia 5:1 Extract, Douglas Laboratories Super HCA, Dynamic Health Garcinia Cambogia, Fusion Diet Systems Pure Garcinia Cambogia, Gaia Sciences Garcinia Cambogia, GAT Garcinia, Genomyx Garcinia Cambogia, HCBL Garcinia Cambogia, Healthy Natural Systems Garcinia Cambogia Chews, Healthy Natural Systems Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Garcinia Lipid Support, Kerala Herbs Super Citrimax Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Life Extension Garcinia HCA, Liquid Health GCx2 Garcinia Cambogia & Green Coffee Bean, Mason Natural Garcinia Cambogia, MuscleTech Garcinia 4X SX-7, MuscleTech Platinum Garcinia Plus, Natrol Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Natrol Pure Super Citrimax, Naturabest Garcinia Cambogia, Natural Balance Super CitriMax, Natural Factors Garcinia CambogiaNature’s Bounty Garcinia Cambogia & Coconut Oil, Nature’s Truth Garcinia Cambogia Plus Chromium Picolinate, NLA for Her Her Garcinia, NOW Foods Garcinia, Nutritional Concepts Garcinia Cambogia HCA Max, Nutritional Concepts Pure Liquid Garcinia Cambogia, NuvoCare Garcinia Cambogia, Only Natural Garcinia Cambogia, Paradise Herbs Garcinia Cambogia, Princeton Research Garcinia Cambogia, Puritan’s Pride Garcinia Cambogia, Savesta Organic Garcinia, SD Pharmaceuticals Garcinia Cambogia 500, SNAC Super Citrimax, Solgar Hydroxy-Citrate, Source Naturals Diet Citrimax Complex, Source Naturals Garcinia, Sports Research Garcinia Cambogia, Stacker 2 Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Sundown Naturals Garcinia Cambogia, Superior Herbs Garcinia Cambogia, Top Secret Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia + Green Coffee Bean Extract, Top Secret Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia + White Kidney Bean Extract, Top Secret Nutrition L-Carnitine Plus Garcinia Cambogia, Twinlab Mega Citrimax, Wakunaga Kyolic Garcinia Cambogia, Well Roots Garcinia HCA Pure Extract, Absolute Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia, Labrada Garcinia Cambogia,
We required a dose of potassium and calcium.
According to Doctor Harry G. Preuss Medical Doctor, and Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Georgetown University, you can help your body make the most of HCA — with the right supplement. When HCA is taken with potassium, it increases the “bioavailability” of the acid, meaning it’s better absorbed in your system. Another study found that potassium and calcium are the most effective pairing. To get the most out of each supplement, we cut anything that didn’t include both potassium and calcium.
Futurebiotics Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Jarrow Formulas HCActive Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Nature’s Plus Citrimax, Liquid Supps Garcinia Cambogia, Nutra Rise Pure Garcinia Cambogia Extract, NutriONN Pure Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Earths Design Pure Garcinia Cambogia, MagixLabs Garcinia Cambogia Extreme, Nature’s Science 100% Pure Garcinia Cambogia, Purely Inspired 100% Pure Garcinia Cambogia, Islands Miracle 100% Pure Garcinia Cambogia, NOW Foods Super CitriMax, ZenVita Formulas 100% Pure Garcinia Cambogia, NatureWise Garcinia Cambogia
We cut anything with more than 60 percent HCA.
HCA, or hydroxycitric acid, is the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia. It’s occurs naturally in the rind of the garcinia fruit, which is distilled and used in garcinia cambogia supplements. The medical community isn’t exactly sure how HCA works in your body, but they’ve got a few theories.
In a scientific overview of garcinia cambogia, the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggested HCA could potentially increase serotonin levels in the brain. That could lead to an increased overall feeling of satisfaction, which could suppress your appetite.
It also could have a role in preventing your body from storing fat, explains Dr. Joseph S. Feuerstein, MD. “Everything you eat turns into calories, and then it’s either used or stored as fat,” he says. “HCA could prevent the conversion of fat. But, if it works, it’s more than likely acting as an appetite suppressant. And, that’s a big if.”
So if HCA is the active ingredient, why did we limit its concentration in our top picks? One reason is that of the (relatively few) U.S.-based medical studies on garcinia cambogia’s efficacy, none have tested supplements with more than 60 percent HCA. Registered dietitian Amy Shapiro adds that a higher concentration of HCA doesn’t necessarily mean it will be more effective — and there’s always a chance that it could increase side effects.
Dr. Feuerstein provided another reason to stay below 60 percent HCA: it might not be the only key player. “Think of the big picture,” he says. “With all herbal supplements, you’re assuming that the active ingredient is the ingredient you want. But herbs have hundreds of ingredients.” Without extensive studies separating all of the ingredients in garcinia cambogia, it’s hard to conclusively pinpoint the actual active ingredient, which means that for all we know, HCA’s effectiveness could be inextricably linked to other ingredients in the garcinia cambogia fruit — so a higher concentration of only HCA isn’t automatically better.
Trusted Nutrients Garcinia Cambogia, Health Plus Prime Garcinia Cambogia, Sonora Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia, Vitruvian Natural Lab Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Naturo Sciences Garcinia Cambogia Pure, Life & Food Garcinia Cambogia Supreme
Then we looked at the remaining supplements ourselves.
We inspected each of our remaining supplements (all in capsule form) for size, smell, texture, and packaging details. When you’re dealing with an industry that isn’t regulated by the FDA, there’s no guarantee you’re not going to pop the lid of a supplement and find questionable elements inside. Nothing major was revealed at this step — there was a little chalkiness here and there, but no funky smells or horse pills.
That left us with three finalists.
Once we had our finalists, there was one factor that helped us distinguish between the winners: milligrams of HCA that each would provide over the course of a single day.
While you don’t want to go above 60 percent HCA, you also want to make sure you’re getting enough of the active ingredient to potentially see some results. Dr. Preuss found that a supplement should provide 2,700 mg of HCA per day to have noticeable effect. That amount, he writes, is best broken up into three doses per day. But according to Sharon Palmer, registered dietitian, most of the scientific studies that have been done on the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia have centered around doses that provide 1,000 to 1,500 mg of HCA per day. While those studies are often inconclusive, some have proven this lower dose effective.
Based on the existing research, no dose can guarantee results. Many garcinia cambogia supplements recommend two dosing levels, one for satiety (to help you feel more full) and one for weight loss. So it’s possible that lower doses (1,000 to 1,500 mg) work best as an appetite suppressant, while higher doses (around 2,700) might prevent your body from storing fat all together.
Our Picks for the Best Garcinia Cambogia Supplement
NutriGold Garcinia Cambogia delivers exactly the 2,700 mg of HCA per day that Dr. Preuss suggests, and in three pre-meal doses. It also packs 4,500 mg of garcinia cambogia (60 percent of which is HCA). Other ingredients include 210 mg of potassium and 150 mg of calcium (more than any of our other finalists) to aid in absorption, plus plant cellulose, a form of insoluble fiber that helps ingredients combine into a single pill.
Best of all, NutriGold Garcinia Cambogia Gold is the only supplement we found that passed all of our requirements and was inspected by both Labdoor and ConsumerLab. When both organizations tested it for potency and purity, it contained exactly the amount of HCA that it claimed, a rare feat in this category. And it does all of that without adding any unnecessary fillers. According to the label, it contains no GMOs, artificial ingredients, or preservatives. Both LabDoor and ConsumerLab back that up.
For weight loss, you’ll need to take nine pills per day — the most out of all our contenders. For satiety, you’ll take just two. At 28 cents per serving, it falls in the middle of our top picks.
Though the label says it’s “extra strong,” a full day’s worth of Quality Encapsulations Garcinia Cambogia packs just 1,800 milligrams of HCA — or so it claims. In one test, Labdoor found that this product actually contains 19 percent less HCA than it says on the label. That’s only 1,458 mg per day. Stacked up against the findings in Dr. Preuss’s study, you shouldn’t expect this product to deliver big-time weight loss. Labdoor rated Quality Encapsulations Garcinia Cambogia’s projected efficacy at a 9 (out of 100). Though the full dose is intended for weight loss, it may work better as an appetite suppressant.
Like our other contenders, the ingredient list here is fairly simple. There’s calcium and potassium (50 mg of each per day) to aid absorption, and the label claims that it doesn’t include fillers, binders, or artificial ingredients. Indeed, Labdoor didn’t flag it for any concerning inactive ingredients.
The maximum dose requires six pills per day. For satiety, you’ll take two. At 22 cents per serving, this is our cheapest option.
Like all of our finalists, the garcinia cambogia in Genesis Today is standardized to 60 percent HCA. At that concentration, it provides 1,440 mg of HCA per day — the lowest of all our finalists – though that doesn’t mean it’s automatically ineffective. While this dose is intended to prevent your body from storing fat, it may work better as appetite suppressant. Paired with a healthy diet and exercise, it could still help you lose weight.
Genesis Today Garcinia Cambogia was approved by ConsumerLab for containing the amount of HCA it claims. Other ingredients include 52 mg of magnesium, and a small amount of potassium (6 mg) and calcium (5 mg). Magnesium is the key player here, and while it’s not as effective as potassium and calcium, the combination of these three ingredients will make the HCA more bioavailable.
At 64 cents per serving, Genesis Today Garcinia Cambogia easily takes the top spot as most expensive finalist. The label only recommends one dose intended for weight loss: 6 pills per day.
The Overall Best Garcinia Cambogia Supplements
3 capsules ,
3 capsules, 2 times daily
Third Party Testing
*In one test, Labdoor found that its HCA content was 19 percent lower (1458 mg) than what its label claimed.
Other Garcinia Cambogia Supplements to Consider
If the label claim was correct, Swanson Super CitriMax Clinical Strength would deliver the exact same amount of HCA as NutriGold Garcinia Cambogia Gold: 2,700 mg per day, broken up into three pre-meal doses. But in 2015, Labdoor found that its HCA concentration was nearly 80 percent — well above the 60 percent threshold that we established for our finalists.
However, it’s worth noting that Labdoor’s analysis is from 2015. And because supplement label claims aren’t regulated by the FDA, the HCA concentration could have changed in the last two years. But that doesn’t change the fact that the manufacturer was careless. So, we decided to exclude Swanson Super CitriMax from our top picks.
While no studies have tested the effects of this much Garcinia Cambogia, it has been third party tested, and it has the minerals to make it bioavailable (calcium, chromium, and potassium, along with gelatin, cellulose, magnesium stearate [an unnecessary filler, says Shapiro], and stearic acid). It’s also probably a better choice than products on the market that claim to contain 100 percent HCA, likely marketed to customers looking for the magic bullet of weight loss. As we’ve learned, those minerals play a big role in bioavailability, and without them, your body can’t do as much with the extract.
A dose is two capsules, and will run you 25 cents — that’s just three cents per dose above our cheapest option, Quality Encapsulations Garcinia Cambogia.
Did You Know?
Garcinia cambogia can interact with medications.
It’s not just side effects to take into consideration when you’re deciding if garcinia cambogia is right for you. Even though they aren’t prescription drugs, supplements can still have a strong effect on your body — strong enough to potentially interact with medications you may be taking. Meyer, of the FDA, cites vitamin E, which can affect your blood, acting as an anticoagulant. If you’re also taking blood thinners, that could increase your risk of abnormal bleeding. “Always let your doctor know about everything you’re taking,” she says. And given its potential ability to inhibit the conversion of fat, it’s perhaps unsurprising that garcinia cambogia has been banned as a performance booster by various athletic organizations, including the NCAA.
Though all of the interactions that could happen with garcinia cambogia may not be known, Catherine Price, a supplement control specialist cites specific reports of instances in which HCA could lead to serotonin toxicity in people who take a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, drugs that are typically prescribed as antidepressants. While the link is far from conclusively proven, it’s another reason to make sure your doctor knows everything in your pillbox.
Some people have reported serious side effects.
A recent Consumer Reports article surfaced a report that three people taking garcinia cambogia supplements experienced “manic episodes” (though two had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder). Their symptoms included fast speech, a decreased need for sleep, and irritability. It’s important to note that the amount of garcinia cambogia they were taking at the time is unspecified.
A quick glance through the comments on that article shows this might not have been an isolated incident: Readers reported similar mood swings, drastic changes in energy levels, trouble sleeping, and more. On the other hand, there’s also a report, supplied by the FDA, in which a large study of garcinia cambogia turned up no significant side effects. Through the uncertainty, one thing is for sure: If you experience any side effects, it’s best to stop taking the supplement and consult your doctor.
You’ll still have to diet.
We heard it over and over again from our sources: If garcinia cambogia works, it’s in conjunction with diet and exercise. Not on its own. Shapiro put it bluntly: “I don’t think any supplement is going to work alone,” she says. “You can’t expect that this is a magic pill. Studies have shown that HCA blocks fat development from excess sugars, and you’re not as hungry, so you eat less. But if you don’t change your diet, it’s not going to do anything.”
Dr. Feuerstein, who has patients who take garcinia cambogia and has even taken it himself, agrees. “I see patients all day, the majority looking for weight loss,” he says. “I’m not impressed with their clinical results compared to a lifestyle change.”