What Is HCA, and Is It the "Natural" Weight-Loss Supplement It Claims to Be?

Maya Allen
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Urban Outfitters

It’d be wrong to say that you shouldn’t be skeptical of supplements that have anything to do with metabolism or weight loss—you 100% should. The struggle is real when it comes to finding legitimate and safe diet additives that actually live up to their convincing claims. We know how it goes all too well: You spend hours perusing the internet and reading reviews in search of the next best thing to boost your metabolism.

You probably do your best at the basics, like working out and eating healthy, but you’re intrigued when something promises to make your fitness goals happen faster. When we found out Malaysian women were eating a tropical fruit called garcinia cambogia (also known as HCA) to block their body’s ability to produce fat and lower their appetite, I was intrigued. I mean, being hungry all the time is one of my personal weaknesses that I’ve yet to come to terms with. You already know what my next Google search was: “What is HCA?”

In layman’s terms, it’s an extract from a Malaysian fruit that’s also known as hydroxycitric acid. Studies have shown that this ingredient has the potential to aid weight loss by doing two things. It starts by increasing your body’s chemical serotonin levels, which in turn decreases your appetite and makes you feel less hungry. Then, it supposedly fights off your body’s fat-making enzyme called citrate lyase and lowers your level of cholesterol.

In the U.S., you’ll most likely see HCA being sold as a supplement. Like every other metabolism and weight-loss supplement sold on the market, I’m sure you’re asking yourself whether it really works, right? And, more importantly, is it safe for you to take? I reached out to four registered dietitians to get their professional take on HCA and all it’s hype.

Before you get your hopes up, read on to see what they had to say about this natural weight-loss supplement that everyone’s talking about.

Curious about supplements nutritionists can actually stand behind? Check out five supplements nutritionists would totally buy on Amazon.

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