Weight loss herbal blocked over testicle damage fear

By Annie Harrison-Dunn contact

- Last updated on GMT

Garcinia cambogia, also known as Malabar tamarind, is a plant native to Southeast Asia and  is increasingly popular as a weight loss ingredient for supplements in developed countries.
Garcinia cambogia, also known as Malabar tamarind, is a plant native to Southeast Asia and is increasingly popular as a weight loss ingredient for supplements in developed countries.

Related tags: Obesity, Mass

The Norwegian food safety authority has warned against a weight loss product containing Garcinia cambogia, a plant ingredient than can cause serious damage to the testicles.

Sales of the recalled product through the website www.swissclinic.no​ have been halted, according to a warning on the authority Mattilsynet’s website.

Garcinia cambigia is toxic to the testicles because of its content of hydroxycitric acid (HCA) – a derivative of citric acid found in many tropical fruits.

According to the harmonised list of botanicals put forward by Belgium, Italy and France, BELFRIT, Garcinia cambigia is “OK”​ but levels of HAC “must be determined”.

Swiss+Diet+Garcinia+Cambogia

The plant's entry on the list referenced a 2005 study from the Japanese National Institute of Health and Nutrition​ using rats, which suggested diets containing 102 millimoles of HCA per kilogram or more (778 and 1244 mg HCA per kg body weight per day, respectively) caused “potent testicular atrophy and toxicity”​.

This effect was not seen with diets containing 51 mmol HCA/kg or less (389 mg HCA per kg body weight per day).

The paper "tentatively"​ pointed to HCA as the cause of the negative health effect, but added: "This is the first published report of the testicular toxicity of HCA-containing Garcinia cambogia, and therefore, we do not currently know which of the constituents of this preparation is responsible for the toxicity." 

Garcinia cambogia, also known as Malabar tamarind, is a plant native to Southeast Asia used traditionally for its dried rind as a food preservative, flavouring agent and carminative but it is increasingly popular as a weight loss ingredient for supplements in developed countries.

Holland & Barrett sells a supplement containing 300 mg of Garcinia cambogia powder per two-capsule serving.

The UK Amazon site also sells such supplements with content around 500 mg Garcinia cambogia per capsule.

HCA, the main acid in its fruit rinds, has been shown to suppress appetite and body fat accumulation in animal experiments.

An alert issued on the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) showed the Swiss Clinic product had come from Sweden, with Denmark raising the alarm.

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3 comments

RE: HCA does not cause testicular damage

Posted by Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn,

Interesting point on the research - but the same study is referenced in the BELFRIT list which is written into law for the likes of Belgium. Seems the issue wasn't resolved for everyone ten years ago - not for BELFRIT authors nor for Norwegian or Danish authority

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No way Norway

Posted by paul clayton,

Yet more idiocy from the Scandinavians.

778 mg/kg extract / day causes testicular damage in rats, with a NOEL at 389 mg/kg.

The Norwegian regulators force products off the market which contain extract at up to 5 mg/kg, i.e. less than 2% of the NOEL. And this from a culinary plant!

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HCA does not cause testicular damage

Posted by Dallas Clouatre, PhD,

What are we to make of an article that cannot even supply the right picture? This issue was resolved 10 years ago as being due to Renaissance Herbs' use of product not properly manufactured. The rat model also was wrong, plus the histopathology did not show toxicity, but lack of development. Finally, far larger and longer trials have never reproduced this result. This claim of toxicity is false and repeatedly has been shown to be false. Even a few minutes of research on PubMed would have demonstrated that no toxicity been linked to HCA per se and even GI-tract complaints are rare.

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