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Hydroxycitric Acid - Nature’s Multi-Dimensional Fat Burner

By: George L. Redmon Ph.D.N.D

While we have known for some time that HCA held significant promise in the treatment of obesity, this study using effective or higher dose ranges of HCA for the first time has definitively confirmed its effectiveness in humans.
                                                  Dr Harry Preuss, MD.
                                                  Georgetown University

As a bodybuilder, no matter what your status is, your present size or future goals, maintaining a lean muscular physic will always be paramount. If you are looking for a product to enhance your overall performance you may want to take a look at a little known natural compound named hydroxycitric acid found in the Indian herb Garcinia Cambogia. Labeled and ostracized as a pretender with great potential as a weight and fat loss aid to the growing obesity problem, early human trails which in some cases were similar in outcomes, revealed no significantly difference in relationship to numerous animal studies.

Hydroxycitric acid however is making a strong comeback as a result of over a decade of clinical research conducted , most notably by Dr Harry Preuss MD., a professor of Physiological Medicine and Pathology at Georgetown University Medical Center. Dr Preuss had found that the small dose ranges used in many animal studies and consequently used in human trails were incapable of eliciting similar results in humans. During this time frame studies  also conducted at Harvard University, Creighton University, The University of Houston and others here and abroad found that not only did HCA have the ability in humans to promote thermo-genesis, but also a host of other interrelated physiological events that have a direct impact on the body’s ability to maintain and build lean muscle. In a new ground breaking report, researchers at Ohio State University recently reported that hydroxycitric acid (HCA) has the ability to manipulate genes that determine how and at what rate the body burns or uses stored body fat. These findings now confirm the proposed potential efficacy of HCA as a viable anti-fat nutrient , as Korean researchers had reported earlier that HCA inhibits the production and accumulation of visceral fat (excess fat surrounding organs) by regulating various genes that regulate adipogenesis (the formation of new fat cells).


How HCA Works

Hydroxycitric acid dynamic mode of action seeks to mobilize dietary fat and use it as a fuel source, thus reducing the amount of fat stored by the body.  This amazing compound also slows down the conversion of carbohydrates and protein to fat by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme known as enzyme adenosine triphosphate-citrate –lyase.

This is a key mechanism  the body uses to blocking fat production.  Additionally, initial  researcher revealed  that (-) hydroxycitric acid lowers body fat levels with no loss of body protein, or lean mass in test animals that had been experimentally made obese.  In 1987, similar experiments were conducted on human subjects with similar results.  Dr. Anthony Conte, a well-known Bariatrician Physician, has also conducted several studies on the effects of (-) hydroxycitrate on humans as cited below.

The Hilton Head Study: Lipodex-2
In this eight-week, double-blind study conducted in 1991 in Hilton Head, South Carolina, 54 subjects participated.  The 22 subjects in the test group who used Lipodex-2 (a supplement containing 500 mg. of HCA extract and a amino acid chelate of chromium and niacin) lost an average of 11.1 pounds per person.

The Hilton Head Study: Citrin 75
In 1994, Dr. Conte conducted an eight week study on 75 volunteers taking Citrin 75 (a supplement consisting of 250 mg (-) hydroxycitrate and 100 mcg. chromium from chromium picolinate).  The study group included 60 women and 15 men who ranged in age from 21 to 65 years, and in weight from 135.5 to 253 pounds.  Forty-two (42) of the subjects who completed the study lost an average of 10.80 pounds per person.

More recent studies conducted at Department of Physiology at Georgetown University revealed that after 8weeks subjects receiving 2800mg of HCA in three equal doses 30 to 60 minutes before meals, had mark decreases in body fat by5.4% and body mass index’s by 5.2%. The latter percentage represents a more comprehensive look at overall body levels of fat versus a drop in body weight. In this study HDL (good cholesterol) levels increased significantly as well as the urinary excretion of fat by products (metabolites) from 146 % to a whopping 281%, a classic biomarker of significant oxidation of fat (fat burning). These researchers also reported a 40.5 %  increase in leptin levels, with corresponding increases of serum serotonin levels by 48.5%.

Note: Fat metabolites are by-products of fat breakdown following a workout or normal physiological protocols that occur as a result of increases thermogenic activity. Fat tissue breaks down smaller molecular components such as ,malondialhyde (MDA) ,formaldehyde(FA), citadel(ACT) and acetone (Acon). Leptin is a hormone produced in fat cell that promotes lipolysis (fat burning specifically )in those cells, without having no apparent effect on compromising lean muscle tissue. Serotonin is known as the happy or feel good hormone. Low levels have been linked to depression, bipolar disorder and a host of other neurologicsl problems. Serotonin also helps control sleep cycles, appetite and muscle contractions, as well as deciding whether you store or burn body fat.

HCA’s Unique Difference

When foods are eaten, carbohydrates are digested and broken down into glucose.  Glucose is the main sugar found in the blood the body uses for energy. That, meaning sugar which isn’t immediately used for energy is stored in the body’s liver and muscles as glycogen.  When glycogen stores become full, monitors in the liver called glucoreceptors send a “satiety” signal to your brain indicating that you are full.  When enough glycogen is not produced or stored, more carbohydrate calories are converted into fatty acids (such as triglycerides) or used to produce cholesterol. The conversion process of carbohydrates into excess triglycerides and cholesterol also requires the enzyme ATP-citrate-lyase.  As stated, HCA inhibits the action of this enzyme thus reducing the amount of fat that is stored. This biological process is known as gluconeogenesis , a process in which amino acids, glycerol (fat) and lactic acid are transformed into glucose.

Rob Thoburn, founder of the R.O.B. Research Forum, established exclusively for physicians, dietary manufacturers, writers, and fitness/sports training professionals, reminds us that gluconeogenesis is a biological process that relies on a process referred to as chemical exercise and or chemical work.

The Physiological Aspects of Chemical Exercise

Chemical exercise consumes up a lot of energy and the energy source that drives gluconeogenesis is accomplished via accelerated beta-oxidation (burning) of fats. Conversely, protein synthesis increases causing a increase in body temperature, as well as oxygen consumption, thus stimulating fat loss with minimal damage and catabolism(wasting) of lean muscle tissue.
 The overall benefits for you are:

  1. Appetite is controlled.
  2. Energy levels increase as well as muscle endurance, thus extending your workout time and improving your recovery time.
  3. Blood sugar levels remain balanced. This stabilization of blood sugar controls cravings , elevates mood and prevents binge eating.
  4. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels tend to fall, thus supporting cardiovascular and heart health.
  5. Thermo- genesis (calorie and fat burning) is increased and the body becomes more efficient at prying fatty acids from stubborn fat cells and body tissues to be oxidized .

In fact, Dr. Dallas Clouatre, the author of Anti-Fat Nutrients, states that those using adequate amounts of Garcinia will find a moderate, but steady loss of fat, not the sudden loss of water weight.

HCA: The Gene Manipulator

In a recent study conducted at Ohio State University researchers there also reported that HCA plays a key role in accelerating fat burning and leptin expression leading to reductions of total body fat. The most impressive part of this study however was HCA ‘s ability to down regulate  (turn off) the genes associated with weight gain. These researchers discovered that a small group of genes referred to as 9960 genes in abdominal fat where very sensitive to the inclusion of HCA. In fact, HCA severed as the ignition switch that heightened or up-regulated the functional response of specific genes, especially that of genes linked to serotonin receptors and there ability to increase  the number and heighten the activity of serotonin receptors.

The Right Dose

Current data indicates that for maximum results, 1 to 3 grams of HCA 30 to 60 minutes before meals, (3 times daily) is the most desirable dose range, with a additional 30 minutes before you start resistance training. Studies conducted by Dr. Anthony Conte revealed that when Garcinia was combined with niacin-bound chromium, a much lower dose was needed of 500 to 1000mg/d. However, current research data indicates that HCA is 8 times more effective when taken 2 to 3 times a day.
Special Note: Unlike other fat burners, hydroxcitric acid appears to maintain its thermogenic affect for several hours after initial intake, physiologically , acting as a timed released fat-reduction supplement. This ultimately will allow you to have more even keeled workouts ,removing you away from those thunderous starts ,only to crash with the intestinal fortitude of a lamb.

This is monumental as HCA doesn’t stimulate the central nervous system. It reacts on the level of carbohydrate metabolism via the liver and not the brain. Bottom line here, no jitters, elevated heart rate and or blood pressure.In practical terms here HCA shifts the body into a ketogenic state where it utilizes fat or fuel instead of carbohydrates or stored glycogen. This will insure that you have ample fuel to keep you energized throughout you workout , as well as, sparing backup stores of glycogen deposited in the liver and muscle tissue for future use.

HCA Reduces Exercise Induced Inflammation

In addition to the above one emerging area of concern is what researchers refer to as low grade chronic inflammation. Health officials have linked this phenomenon to many of todays degenerative disorders ( alzheimer’s, heart disease, arthritis, cancer) , including obesity and the ability to properly reduce or metabolize body fat. Dr Floyd H. Chilton the author of Win The War Within states that  not only does being overweight exacerbate an existing inflammatory disease, but fat cells play a key role in the creation of messengers that cause and perpetuate the inflammatory cascade. While redness, pain, and swelling are signs of inflammation and is the way the body informs you to rest or seek medical advice, low grade chronic inflammation can’t be seen outwardly, but acts like small smoldering firers that can’t be extinguished. Sports science professionals have also discovered that low grade inflammation can impede lean tissue growth, recovery, accelerate muscle wasting and fatigue, as well as disrupt a host of other anabolic growth cycles. In a currently released study investigators at the University of Houston reported that HCA plays a key role in reducing levels of pro-inflammatory compounds like C-reactive protein and Interlukin-6 , definitive biomarkers of excessive inflammation. These compounds can wreak havoc on your hard earned muscle tissue , as well as increase oxidation, insulin resistance, weight and fat gain, to causing undo muscle damage and  hamper recovery efforts.
Last Words

For best results HCA should be a part of your regimental core that you use on a daily basis. When used judiciously data indicates psychologically there is no need to worry about the check fat engine light coming on with HCA, as it is the spark that ignites fat burning and numerous other metabolic and thermogenic  processes  for hours on end. Best part here, HCA is a silent worker and doesn’t stimulate the central nervous system and  doesn’t interfere or alter other chemical reactions. HCA is truly one of nature’s most multi-dimensional fat burners.


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