When ephedra left the building in 2004, the heir apparent to the weight-loss ingredient throne was Garcinia cambogia, a thermogenic botanical. At the time it was believed to be a safe alternative to ephedra because of its weight-loss properties but without the antagonistic effects on the heart. Now in 2009, with sales down in mass and natural channels by as much as 36 per cent, the ingredient's value as a full-on replacement is shaky.

Now add that weight-loss powerhouse Hydroxycut and its sister brands were pulled from the market because of reports of potential liver failure and one death in 2007, and it becomes apparent that the ingredient may be in for tough times. But given that Hydroxycut was a thermogenic soup of nearly two dozen ingredients, it isn't entirely clear whether Garcinia cambogia was the culprit for damaging side effects, or whether the cause was a combination of many or a few ingredients. In light of the product pull, Sabinsa released a statement asserting its garcinia cambogia was well studied and, to date, poses no adverse effects to the like. Time will tell whether Garcinia cambogia can rise above the fray and return to its once highly touted status as a promising weight-loss ingredient.

Garcinia cambogia
2007: $997,836
2009: $634,902
Sales down 36 per cent in natural and mass channels

Source: SPINSscan

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