Saturday, December 6, 2014

Garcinia Cambogia May Be Toxic to Some

The fruit garcinia cambogia, also called the malabar tamarind,
grows across southwest India, Myanmar and Indonesia.
The usage of Garcinia cambogia, a popular weight-loss supplement, may pose health risks to people who are using certain antidepressants, a recent case report suggests.

Last year in Oregon, a 35-year-old woman who had been taking Garcinia cambogia supplements for two or three months while additionally taking an antidepressant started stuttering and sweating profusely. In the emergency room of the local hospital, the medical staff noted that the woman's heart rate and high blood pressure were high, and that she had also developed foot clonus, involuntary muscle spasm that cause a person's foot to flex.

The woman's symptoms were characteristic of the hormone serotonin toxicity, a drug reaction that occurs when levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are too high. Following the woman was given medication for serotonin toxicity and spent a few days at the medical center, her symptoms subsided and she eventually recovered. [14 Oddest Healthcare Cases]

"I am hesitant to label it [Garcinia cambogia] as a dangerous supplement, because until we see more than one case, we want to make sure that this particular actually is something that is going to occur, " said Dr . Robert Hendrickson, one of the writers of the case report.

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However , previous studies on people and animals have shown which Garcinia cambogia may, indeed, increase serotonin levels. And taking the supplement in conjunction with antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which also cause this levels to rise, could lead to serotonin toxicity, said Hendrickson, a toxicologist at the Division of Emergency Medicine of Oregon Health and Sciences University.

Hendrickson added which, based on the animal and human data suggesting both SSRIs and Garcinia increase serotonin amounts, he recommends that people who are taking an SSRI not use Garcinia, a minimum of until further research is done. "Not because I know that it will be dangerous, however because there is a chance that it could be, " he said.

"If I had a family member or perhaps a patient who was considering starting Garcinia and they were on an SSRI, I would recommend which they don't do it for now, " Hendrickson told Live Science.

Garcinia cambogia, also referred to as tamarind, is a small , pumpkin-shaped fruit, and diet supplements made from it tend to be touted for helping people lose weight. However , researchers have so far found just mixed results when looking at whether the supplement really helps weight loss. And one study within rats suggested that extremely high doses of Garcinia may cause testicular atrophy, and toxicity.

The woman in the case report had been previously diagnosed with serotonin toxicity whilst she was taking a different kind of antidepressant. At that time, she had also been using Garcinia for a month or two, but she didn't tell the doctor who prescribed the girl antidepressant that she had also been taking the weight-loss supplement, Hendrickson said.

For that reason her doctor attributed her first case of serotonin toxicity to her first antidepressant, and switched her to another one. Then, she developed her second situation of toxicity, for which Hendrickson saw her.

"The question is whether this person had been uniquely susceptible to this problem, or if this is a bigger problem, " Hendrickson said. "And I suspect, over the next year or two, if this is a bigger problem - given the amount of people taking Garcinia - we will see if there are a lot more people with this degree of toxicity. "

The researchers said they cannot be absolutely sure that it was, indeed, the use of Garcinia that caused the patient to develop serotonin toxicity. Another potential, but less likely, induce of the reaction, could have been the SSRI that she had been taking. Moreover, additionally it is possible that although the supplement she was taking was labeled as Garcinia, it may not have contained the supplement, but rather some other substance, Hendrickson said.

"There is really a big difference between a pharmaceutical, like a medication , and a supplement, " Hendrickson stated. Medications are highly regulated. "Supplements, on the other hand, are completely unregulated, " he stated. Whereas people can be relatively certain that a bottle of medication contains the things that it is supposed to contain, the same cannot be said about supplements. [Aspirin in order to Zoloft: How 4 Common Medicines Work]

"There is no regulatory agency that is watching that says that you had to test it and prove that there is Garcinia inside it, " Hendrickson said, adding that there is also currently no way to test whether a specific pill really contains Garcinia or not.

Previous research has shown that some dietary supplements did not contain the herbs or other substances that their bottles said these people contained. Moreover, there have also been instances in which other substances sold as dietary supplements contained pharmaceutical agents, Hendrickson said.

For instance, valerian root supplement pills which are sold as an herbal sleep aid have been found to contain valium, when it was cheaper for the pill manufacturer to use the drug than the herb, he said.

But most capsules labeled Garcinia likely do include Garcinia, Hendrickson said. Because previous studies have shown that Garcinia causes a serotonin increase, it is quite likely this also occurred in the case discussed in the study, the researchers said.

The study had been published online April 4 in the Journal of Medical Toxicology.

View the original article here

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