Citrimax® is an over-the-counter weight loss supplement made from the rind of the Garcinia cambogia fruit, a pumpkin-like fruit found in India. When taken orally, the product claims to increase users’ metabolisms and promote faster weight loss. These claims, however, have not been substantiated, and little research has been performed to evaluate the supplement’s effectiveness.
Citrimax® was originally introduced in 1991 by InterHealth Nutraceuticals, a company specializing in dietary supplements and nutritional products. At the time the product launched, the main ingredient used was ephedra, a Chinese herb found in many popular pills. Although fairly effective for weight loss, ephedra users reported side effects such as elevated blood pressure and heart palpitations, which led it to become illegal in many countries.
In response to the ephedra restrictions, many popular weight loss supplements were reformulated without the substance. In 1997, an ephedra-free version of Citrimax® was released under the new name “Super Citrimax®” and featured Garcinia cambogia fruit as its main ingredient. InterHealth dropped “Super” from the product’s name in 2004.
As the main ingredient in Citrimax®, Garcinia cambogia fruit is said to boost the amount of fat a person burns during exercise. There is very little evidence to support this claim, however, and the few studies that have been done have proven inconclusive. Prior to its use in weight loss supplements, the Garcinia cambogia fruit was primarily used as a flavor additive in many Indian dishes.
One of Citrimax's® other ingredients is hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Often found in Asian cuisine, HCA purportedly reduces malonyl-coA cell levels, an enzyme that slows metabolism and reduces the amount of fat a person burns during exercise. In theory, this means HCA would help its users lose weight by increasing the number of calories they burn each day. Once again, however, clinical studies have been unable to substantiate this claim.
Although there is insufficient evidence to determine whether or not the fruit of Garcinia cambogia and HCA are beneficial for weight loss, Citrimax® has been shown to reduce its users’ lactic acid levels. Technically a waste product produced by the human body, lactic acid can build up in the muscles, causing the burning sensation that often occurs during and after rigorous exercise. As a result, the product may prevent muscle tension and pain during a workout, thereby promoting longer workout sessions and, in turn, increase the number of calories burned during physical activities.