The Best Garcinia Cambogia Supplement

You can’t always trust what’s on the label

The 30-Second Review

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.

Best Overall

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.

Our Picks for the Best Garcinia Cambogia Supplement

Best Overall

NutriGold Garcinia Cambogia Gold This supplement lives up to its label claims: 2,700 mg of HCA, plus potassium and calcium to help your body absorb the active ingredient.

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.

NutriGold recommends a one-pill serving for satiety and three pills for weight-loss efforts.

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.

Runner-up

Quality Encapsulations Garcinia Cambogia Its the cheapest option, but don't expect big results with fewer than 1,800 mg of HCA per day.

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 NutriGold, Quality Encapsulations suggests one pill for satiety and three for weight loss.

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.

Runner-up

Genesis Today Vegetarian Garcinia Cambogia It's the most expensive and contains the least amount of HCA, but the label was accurate.

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

NutriGold Garcinia Cambogia Gold

Quality Encapsulations Garcinia Cambogia

Genesis Today

HCA/day

2,700 mg
1,800* mg
1,440 mg

Price/serving

$0.28
$0.22
$0.64

Directions

3 capsules ,
3 times daily

3 capsules, 2 times daily

2 capsules,
3 times daily

Third Party Testing

Labdoor, ConsumerLab

Labdoor

ConsumerLab

*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

Swanson Super CitriMax One test found that these contain 80% HCA. That's more than any of our top picks, and researchers have yet to test the effects of a concentration this high.

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.”

The Best Garcinia Cambogia Supplements: Summed Up

The Bottom Line

Price sums it up: “Buyer beware.” If you’re going to try a garcinia cambogia supplement, seek out products that have recently been tested by an independent agency. And be sure to keep your expectations in check. Dr. Preuss wrote: “Unrealistic hope is a second concern that arises much too often with use of garcinia cambogia extract for body fat loss. Expectations tend to be misguided in at least two areas — both the speed and the extent of weight loss.” The study went on to say that the effects of garcinia cambogia might not be observed for the first two weeks, and that in at least one instance, study participants lost about a pound per week after that.