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”.
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.