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Hydroxycitric Acid (Garcinia extract; weight loss supplement)

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated Jul 27, 2021

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is a chemical that is found in fruit rinds of Garcinia cambogia (brindle berry), Garcinia mangostana (mangosteen), and other fruit from the same genus. Research has been done on the potential effects for weight loss and fat burning, however, not all patients saw significant results.

hydroxycitric acid


What is hydroxycitric acid used for?

  • Weight loss
  • Burning fat
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Antioxidant
  • Controlling blood sugar
  • Improving physical performance
  • 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.

    How should I take hydroxycitric acid?

    Read the directions on the packaging for complete information. Check the label and expiration date.

    For oral dosage forms, swallow it whole without chewing, crushing, or dissolving it in liquid. Take it with meals.

    Precautions & warnings

    What should I know before using hydroxycitric acid?

    Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you are/have:

    • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
    • Taking any other medicines. This includes any prescription, OTC, and herbal remedies.
    • An allergy to any of the ingredients of this product.
    • Any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

    Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

    Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information about the safety of using this drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, it is likely safe to take. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking any medication.

    Side effects

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

    Like all drugs, this product may have side effects. If they occur, side effects are generally mild and resolve once treatment is finished or the dose is lowered. Some reported side effects include:

    • Headache
    • Allergic reaction
    • Upset stomach
    • Dry mouth
    • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
    • Diarrhea
    • Arrhythmia

    However, not everyone experiences these side effects. In addition, some people may experience other side effects. So, if you have any concerns about a side effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


    What interactions may I have with hydroxycitric acid?

    This medication may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. 

    To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist.

    Drugs with possible interactions:

    • Antidiabetic agents
    • Dextromethorphan
    • SSRIs
    • MAOIs
    • St. John’s wort
    • Fluoxetine
    • Citalopram
    • Isocarboxazid
    • Phenelzine
    • Tranylcypromine
    • Statins
    • Iron, potassium, and calcium supplements

    If you experience an adverse drug interaction, inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Approaches include dose adjustment, drug substitution, or ending therapy.

    Does food or alcohol interact with hydroxycitric acid?

    This drug may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

    What health conditions may interact with hydroxycitric acid?

    This drug may interact with underlying conditions. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. Therefore, it is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Depression
    • Heart problems
    • Liver impairment


    The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medication.

    What is the dose for an adult?

    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 is the dose for a child?

    There is no established pediatric dose. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    How is hydroxycitric acid available?

    Hydroxycitric acid may be available in the following brands, concentrations, and dosage forms:

    • Cosmo Body
    • Mangosteena capsule cap 500 mg
    • Puritan’s Pride caplets 1500 mg
    • Preferred tablets 750 mg


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

    Written by

    Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


    Updated Jul 27, 2021

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