Garcinia Cambogia and Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss? - Dr. Axe

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Take Garcinia Cambogia and Apple Cider Vinegar Together? Yes or No?


Garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar - Dr. Axe

If you’ve ever been curious about weight loss supplements, one product you’re very likely to come across is garcinia cambogia — which many people claim has the ability to increase weight loss and reduce hunger, mostly do to the effects of its active ingredient called hydroxycitric acid.

One potential way to boost the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia is to combine it with high-quality apple cider vinegar — meaning the type that is fermented and contains its “mother” (strands of proteins, enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria).

Manufacturers of garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar drops claim that their products can lead to nearly effortless fat loss. When used together, some find that these two ingredients can help increase feelings of fullness, curb cravings and improve digestion.

But if you’re hoping that ACV and GC are going to be a quick-fix weight loss solution, then you’re probably going to be disappointed: There’s no compelling evidence that taking these products will miraculously cause changes in your weight, but there is reason to believe this combination may trigger stomach pains, other GI issues and possibly other serious side effects.

What Are Garcinia Cambogia and Apple Cider Vinegar?

Garcinia cambogia (GC) extract is a supplement that comes from a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit (also called garcinia gummi-gutta) that grows in parts of Asia and India. Garcinia fruit is a member of the Clusiaceae plant family and contains the active ingredient called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Additionally, GC also contains many other beneficial compounds too, like xanthones, benzophenones, organic acids and amino acids for example.


Research suggests that some potential effects that GC and HCA may have include:

  • Possibly helping to support weight loss, although some studies (such as one published in JAMA) have not found it to be effective when compared to placebo
  • Reducing the conversion of carbohydrates into stored fat by inhibiting certain enzyme processes
  • Mildly suppressing one’s appetite
  • Having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
  • Possibly helping to protect against insulin resistence/diabetes

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a type of vinegar made from apple cider that has undergone fermentation, resulting in a final product that contains probiotics and healthy enzymes. ACV contains the active ingredient called acetic acid, which some studies have found can help to support digestion and lower blood sugar response after a meal containing carbohydrates/sugar.

Some people also find that ACV can increase satiety, leading to reduced calorie intake. It’s also lower in calories and sugar than apple juice/regular apple cider and has different properties chemically speaking, thanks to the presence of bacteria and enzymes.

Do They Work Together for Weight Loss? Potential Benefits

When it comes to weight loss, does garcinia and apple cider vinegar really work?

An internet search for “garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar before and after photos” suggests that some people do experience changes in body composition using this combination. So what type of garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar results can you expect?

While these two ingredients might offer some help with shedding small amounts of weight (several pounds or so), results of course depend on a number of factors, like your overall diet, health history, etc. Apple cider vinegar is generally very safe to use — and has been shown in many studies to offer a number of benefits related to digestive and metabolic health — however the effects of taking garcinia cambogia are definitely more questionable.

Using garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar together seems promising, but considerable weight loss is definitely not guaranteed. We also don’t have any reliable apple cider vinegar and garcinia cambogia studies to draw conclusions from.

There may be anecdotal evidence that these two products can be somewhat effective, but there has been virtually no formal research done that has focused on using the two simultaneously. Any weight loss you do experience is likely to be small and short-term and may actually occur because you’re eating less due to digestive upset.

What Studies Tell Us About Garcinia Cambogia and Weight Loss:

  • How does GC work for weight loss? The ingredient HCA works by blocking a certain enzyme called adenosine triphosphate-citrate-lyase, which contributes to the formation of fat cells. However the effect is not strong; studies comparing GC’s effects to controls have found that it might only increase weight loss by a mere one to two pounds on average, if it works at all. One meta-analysis focused on GC’s effects concluded that “RCTs (random control trials) suggest that Garcinia extracts/HCA can cause short-term weight loss. The magnitude of the effects are small, and the clinical relevance is uncertain.”
  • How long does it take to lose weight with garcinia cambogia? If you do experience any weight loss from taking this product it will probably be minimal and occur within about 8 to 12 weeks, which is considered the time frame that this product is safe to take.
  • How much weight can you lose in a week on garcinia cambogia? Probably not much. In most studies, the duration of use of GC has been anywhere from about 2 to 12 weeks, with an average of about 8 weeks. Within this time frame some people can possibly lose between about 1 and 9 pounds, however some participants in studies have lost no weight at all, and some have even gained small amounts.

Here’s What We Know About Apple Cider Vinegar’s Benefits:

  • Acetic acid found in ACV has been shown in certain studies to help lower glucose and insulin response when consumed with a high-glycemic load meal; in other words, it can help to decrease blood sugar levels when someone consumes it with carbs and/or sugar. Acetic acid supplements have also been shown to lower the glycemic index (GI) of carb-heavy meals.
  • Consuming ACV can increase feelings of satiety/fullness and may help decrease calorie intake (possibly by as much as 200–300 calories).
  • Acetic acid can potentially help block body fat accumulation by altering actions of certain genes and proteins involved in fat storage, leading to small reductions in belly fat, body weight and waist circumference among obese adults, according to some research.
  • Due to its ability to help reduce high triglyceride levels, daily intake of apple cider vinegar might be useful in the prevention of metabolic syndrome.
  • In animal studies, acetic acid has been shown to help alleviate obesity by altering lipid metabolism, inflammation and gut microbe composition.

Recommended Dosage

In studies, dosages of garcinia cambogia have ranged from about 1 gram to 2.8 grams daily. The “optimal dose” of GC or HCA is currently unknown, but studies overall haven’t found that taking higher doses necessarily leads to better results.

An “apple cider vinegar diet” is one that involves consuming 1–2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before or with each meal. Putting these two concepts together, following a garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar diet may mean:

  • Taking anywhere from one gram to 2.8 grams daily of GC by mouth. Typical doses are usually between 250–1,000 milligrams per day. Up to 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia per day seems to be safe for most adults.
  • Also consuming 1–2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with water before or with each meal. Apple cider vinegar can also be used to make sauces, marinades and salad dressings.

Is taking garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar pills or drops a good idea? These types of products are no more likely to be effective, and may possibly contain fillers and other ingredients that are aren’t even listed on the product’s label. The bottom line is that garcinia cambogia can be overused and is not very well-regulated, so do your research before buying this product, only purchase from a reputable brand, and always read dosage directions carefully.

When buying apple cider vinegar, look for the kind that has been fermented, contains its mother, contains no added sugar and has not been pasteurized. It’s a good idea to start with a low dose of ACV and work your way up gradually to assess your tolerance.

Is It Safe to Use Garcinia Cambogia and Apple Cider Vinegar Together?

While GC is derived from a natural fruit, this doesn’t mean that taking GC extract in high doses is necessarily a good idea. Health authorities like the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Medicine have stated that taking garcinia cambogia for short periods, around 12 weeks or less, appears to be safe for most people, however there have been rare cases in which serious side effects have been reported.


What are the side effects of garcinia? These can potentially include weakness, fatigue, brain fog, skin rashes, lower immune function, dry mouth and bad breath, headaches and digestive issues like nausea, trouble eating or diarrhea. Certain studies have found that digestive side effects (“gastrointestinal adverse events”) are sometimes twice as common in people taking HCA found in GC compared to those taking a placebo.

A few case studies have also linked use of garcinia with hepatotoxicity and acute liver injury. Many people are also advised to avoid taking garcinia cambogia due to how it can affect other medications, such as some pain meds, blood thinners and statins.

Apple cider vinegar appears to be safe when taken in amounts of about 1–2 tablespoons per day, diluted with water. However, taking higher amounts may lead to digestive discomfort and other issues.

When used together, garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar side effects (especially when taken in high doses) can include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues including indigestion, stomach aches, burning sensations, loss of appetite, nausea, etc.
  • Throat irritation
  • Erosion of tooth enamel
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Overall feeling tired, run down and unwell

Remember that when it comes to using ACV and GC, more is not necessarily better. When in doubt ask your doctor for his/her opinion if you’re unsure whether GC, or this combination, is a good option for you.

Final Thoughts

  • Garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar together are taken to promote weight loss. However, there isn’t any strong evidence that these two will cause fat loss in any substantial way.
  • ACV and GC may be able to help you eat a bit less by reducing your appetite, and can also potentially decrease the glycemic load of your meals, reduce triglycerides, improve digestion and fight inflammation. Results are not guaranteed and taking this combination should not replace a healthy diet.
  • Apple cider vinegar is safe for most people to take (about 1–2 tablespoons daily. Garcinia cambogia is considered generally safe when taken in doses of about t 1 gram to 2.8 grams daily. However, potential garcinia cambogia and apple cider vinegar side effects may include: gastrointestinal issues like indigestion, stomach aches, burning sensations, loss of appetite, nausea, plus throat irritation, dry mouth and headaches.

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