Use of popular the weight-loss supplement Garcinia cambogia may be risky to people who are taking certain antidepressants, according a recent case report.
Garcinia cambogia may raise serotonin levels, and if a person taking the supplement is using certain antidepressants known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, it could cause serotonin toxicity, LiveScience reports
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"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 actually is something that is going to occur," said Dr. Robert Hendrickson, one of the authors of the case report, LiveScience reported.
Hendrickson recommends people who are taking an SSRI not use Garcinia, at least until further research is done. "Not because I know that it will be dangerous, but because there is a chance that it could be," he told LiveScience. "If I had a family member or a patient who was considering starting Garcinia and they were on an SSRI, I would recommend that they don't do it for now."
According to the report published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology, a 35-year-old Oregon woman who had been taking Garcinia cambogia supplements over the course of two or three months while also taking an antidepressant started stuttering and sweating profusely and was admitted to a local hospital’s emergency room.
Medical staff observed the woman’s heart rate and blood pressure elevate to a high level and she had developed foot clonus, involuntary muscle spasms that cause a person's foot to flex. After the woman was treated for serotonin toxicity with medication and spent several days in the hospital, her symptoms reportedly subsided and she eventually recovered, according to the report.
Garcinia cambogia is also known as tamarind, native to Indonesia. It is a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit and diet supplements made from it are said to help weight loss. Researchers, however, have so far found only mixed results when looking at whether the supplement really aids in the losing of weight.
According to the Dr. Oz Show’s website, the plant from which Garcinia cambogia
is derived “offers one of the least expensive herbal supplements on the market. The ingredient from the rind of the fruit could hasten your weight-loss efforts. The natural extract is called hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, and researchers claim that HCA can double or triple one’s weight loss.”
The website did have warnings, though, about the use of the supplement, saying it is “likely safe in normal amounts” but people who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t take it. Also, those who are taking a diabetic medication like insulin or glyburide or a statin, a cholesterol-lowering drug, should consult their physician.
“Those with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia shouldn’t take HCA because of the risk of worsening dementia,” according to the website.
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