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Hydroxycitric Acid

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names :

Garcinia cambogiaHCAHydroxycitrate


Hydroxycitric acid is a compound found in the garcinia cambogia fruit. It has been used to help promote weight loss. Hydroxycitric acid can be taken by eating the garcinia cambogia fruit or drinking its juice. It can also be taken as a pill or powder.


250 to 800 milligrams 3 times daily

What Research Shows

May Not Be Effective

  • Obesity —may not promote weight loss A1-A5

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It may be safe to take hydroxycitric acid in small doses for a short time, but liver damage from garcinia is possible.B1-B3 Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Obesity

A1. Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1596-1600.

A2. Preuss HG, Bagchi D, et al. Effects of a natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX plus niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract on weight loss. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2004;6(3):171-180.

A3. Kim JE, Jeon SM, et al. Does Glycine max leaves or Garcinia Cambogia promote weight-loss or lower plasma cholesterol in overweight individuals: a randomized control trial. Nutr J. 2011 Sep 21;10:94.

A4. Astell KJ, Mathai ML, et al. Plant extracts with appetite suppressing properties for body weight control: a systematic review of double blind randomized controlled clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2013 Aug;21(4):407-416.

A5. Vasques CA, Schneider R, et al. Hypolipemic effect of Garcinia cambogia in obese women. Phytother Res. 2014 Jun;28(6):887-891.

B. Safety

B1. Márquez F, Babio N, et al. Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of hydroxycitric acid or Garcinia cambogia extracts in humans. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2012;52(7):585-594.

B2. García-Cortés M, Robles-Díaz M, et al. Hepatotoxicity by Dietary Supplements: A Tabular Listing and Clinical Characteristics. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Apr 9;17(4):537.

B3. Crescioli G, Lombardi N, et al. Acute liver injury following Garcinia cambogia weight-loss supplementation: case series and literature review. Intern Emerg Med. 2018 Sep;13(6):857-872.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 5/27/2020