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Hydroxycitric Acid

Uses|Precautions & warnings|Side effects|Interactions|Dosage


What is hydroxycitric acid used for?

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is a chemical that is found in fruit rinds of Garcinia cambogia, Garcinia indica, and Garcinia atroviridis. It can also be found in parts of the flowers of Hibiscus subdariffa and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis plants. It is similar to the chemical citric acid that is commonly found in fruit like lemons and oranges.

Hydroxycitric acid is used as a supplement to improve exercise performance and promote weight loss.

How does it work?

Some studies have shown that HCA works by inhibiting an enzyme called ATP citrate lyase which is a key enzyme in fatty acid synthesis. HCA might improve weight loss by preventing fat storage and controlling appetite. In addition, it can improve exercise performance by limiting the use of the stored energy (glycogen) in the muscles, leading to less fatigue.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using hydroxycitric acid?

Consult with your doctor or pharmacist or herbalist, if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription.
  • You have allergy with any substances of hydroxycitric acid or other medications or other herbs.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
  • You have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.

The regulations for a supplement are less strict than the regulations for a drug. More studies are needed to determine its safety. The benefits of taking this supplement must outweigh the risks before use. Consult with your doctor for more information.

How safe is hydroxycitric acid?

Hydroxycitric acid is generally safe for most people when taken by mouth for 12 weeks or less.

Special precautions & warnings

Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Not enough is known about the use of HCA during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: There is concern that HCA might slow blood clotting. This might increase the risk of bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders.

Diabetes: HCA might reduce blood sugar. Monitor blood sugar levels closely. Doses of conventional antidiabetes medications may need to be adjusted.

Surgery: HCA might affect blood sugar levels and slow blood clotting. This might make it more difficult to control blood sugar and bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking HCA at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Side effects

What kind of side effects may I have from hydroxycitric acid?

Hydroxycitric acid can cause nausea, digestive tract discomfort, and headache when used short-term. Long-term safety is unknown.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about side effects, please consult your doctor.


What interactions may I have with hydroxycitric acid?

Hydroxycitric acid may interact with your current medications or medical conditions. Consult with your doctor before using it.


The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor before using this medication.

What is the usual dose for hydroxycitric acid?

The dose for HCA may be different for every patient. The dose that you take depends on your age, health, and several other conditions. Supplements are not always safe. Please discuss this with your doctor for the appropriate dosage.

What form does hydroxycitric acid come in?

Hydroxycitric acid (in the form of Garcinia cambogia) may be available in the following brands, concentrations, and dosage forms:

  • Cosmo Body
  • Puritan’s Pride caplets 1500 mg
  • Preferred tablets 750 mg

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Hydroxycitric Acid. https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=21727. Accessed June 30, 2020

Effects of Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) on visceral fat accumulation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4053034/#:~:text=(%2D)%2DHydroxycitric%20acid%20(,in%20the%20treatment%20of%20obesity. Accessed June 30, 2020

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Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Aug 14, 2020