Research: Garcinia cambogia use tied to liver damage.

Research wordResearch word

Acute liver injury following Garcinia cambogia usage for weight-loss.

Garcinia cambogia

Many Americans see herbal supplements as a means to jump-start their weight loss. The number of articles in magazines and stars on TV spouting the benefits of one supplement or another is staggering. Garcinia cambogia extract and the products containing it are some of the most popular dietary supplements on the market thanks to telemarketers and TV stars. The problem is that there is limited to evidence to back up any of these products and many of the studies done have highlighted concerns about their safety.  

Herbal weight-loss supplements are often marketed as self-medication products and they prey on those that are looking for anything to help them in their path toward health.   Many gram them in the stores and are under the misconception that their natural origin guarantees their safety.  The fact is that this could not be further from the truth and these supplements are not required to provide any proof of benefit or lack of risk to patients.  

The possible risks associated with the use of herbal extracts or supplements in food are becoming more and more documented in the literature and the side effect profile for many of these is quite scary.  One of the most concerning side effects of these supplements, including Garcinia cambogia, is liver damage and failure.  The researchers will have you believe that something else is causing this liver damage, but the fact is that the cluster of injuries is too highly centered around the use of these supplements to dismiss it.  In fact, supplement is currently the largest cause of herb-induced liver injury.  This liver damage can be so severe that has the potential to be lethal.  

This damage is much more severe and more likely if you combine it with other liver metabolized drugs such as Tylenol or cholesterol medications or if you flush it down with a fifth of liquor.  A recent case presentation looked at the overwhelming evidence that this supplement was tied to four recent cased of liver damage[1].  The use of these medications are unlikely to cause meaningful weight loss and are in fact dangerous to your health.  

The bottom line:   Garcinia cambogia extract is currently marketed for weight loss, but it is not worth the risk. I would strongly recommend against the use of this or any supplements that claim to cause magical or rapid weight loss.  They are just not worth the risk to your health.  


G. Crescioli et al., “Acute liver injury following Garcinia cambogia weight-loss supplementation: case series and literature review,” Intern Emerg Med, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. 857–872, May 2018 [Online]. Available: 10.1007/s11739-018-1880-4″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

Be the first to comment on "Research: Garcinia cambogia use tied to liver damage."

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.