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Hoodia For Weight Loss

What is Hoodia?

Hoodia gordonii (HOO-dee-ah) is a powerful natural appetite suppressant that has recently been feature in 60 Minutes, Oprah, Today, and InTouch. Hoodia is a “succulent” cactus like plant that grows in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa, as well as other semi-desert of Angola and Namibia.. Hoodia has a spiny tubular form that makes it look similar to a cactus. The spines are large, cucumber like structures, that are peeled and eaten, or dried and used in supplements.

The pungent excretions are used to attract the flies that are needed to pollinate the flowers. While harvesting can start in 5 years, it is thought that 15-20 years is required for the plant to reach its full height and productive capability. Recent demand has led wild varieties to receive “protected” status is countries such as Namibia.


What does Hoodia do?

Hoodia, Weight Loss, and Dieting... Hoodia gordonii is a powerful natural appetite suppressant. Reported results include reduced interest in hunger, increased feelings of “fullness”, increased alertness (without stimulation) and general feelings of well-being.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study by Phytopharm showed that does of Hoodia gordonii extract led to statistically significant reduction in calorie intake (-1000 kCal/day by the 15th day of the trial).That level of calorie reduction is enough to lose a pound of body fat every 3 to 4 days. Note, only the gordonii variety of hoodia has been shown to suppress appetite and thus contribute to weight loss.Hoodia may also lower blood pressure and treat erectile dysfunction, but these secondary effects are still under investigation. The San Bushman of the Kalahari Desert, the original “discovers” of the properties of Hoodia, have used raw hoodia for thousands of years as a way to suppress hunger, thirst, and boost energy while hunting in the raw desert environment they live in.

Although the effects of hoodia have been observed by western scientists as far back as 1937, it is only the recent publicity from stories in 60 Minutes, BBC, Oprah, MSNBC, the Today Show, ABC, etc. that have triggered the recent surge of interest.The publicity around hoodia is immediately clear: a wonder drug that makes you lose weight, brightens your mood (antidepressant), gives you energy, treats sexual dysfunction, and lowers your blood pressure too.  Just the appetite suppressant effects essentially give you “discipline-in-a-bottle” to follow through on diet / dieting and weight loss plans.

How does Hoodia work?

P57 is the name of the active ingredient in Hoodia gordonii that is thought to give the plant its potency. P57 affects the hypothalamus – the  area of the brain that controls appetite and hunger. P57 works in the same way that glucose triggers a “full” feeling after ingesting a meal. The difference though is that P57 is about 10,000 times more powerful than glucose (blood sugar), so ingesting even small amounts of P57 tricks the hypothalamus into signaling the brain that you are full.

Hoodia Dosage & Usage

The correct dosage of hoodia is dependent on the individual. In clinical trials, doses ranging from 80 mg to 2400 mg a day were tested. They found some individuals needed as little as three 100 mg pills a day to produce the desired effect, while others needed much more. Many distributors of hoodia products will quote the lower number, but anecdotal evidence suggests that 1200 mg (400 mg pills three times a day) is the optimal dosage that is required to achieve what would be had if you ate raw Hoodia plant like the indigenous populations of South Africa.

The timing of the effects of hoodia are also dependent on individual factors such as metabolism and weight. Some report feeling the effects in as little as 20 minutes after the first pill, while others have reported requiring a “build up” period of up to two weeks before experiencing the appetite suppression effects. The general recommendation is to take hoodia an hour before meals and to keep up your water intake as dehydration easily become an issue since hoodia also suppresses thirst.

Hoodia Side Effects

Initial clinical trials have shown a satisfactory safety profile. Hoodia is not a stimulant and has no known side effects. While the synthetic form of Hoodia (P57) is still undergoing trials, make sure to consult your health care professional before starting a diet or fitness program. This is especially the case if you are taking any other prescription medications or if you have diabetes. Because hoodia simulates glucose, it may be easy for diabetics to become hypoglycemic.

Hoodia Product Buying Tips

Be very careful when buying hoodia. Because of the difficulty in cultivating Hoodia gordonii to meet high demand, many vendors are under dosing by using fillers, inactive ingredients. Hoodia gordonii supplements usually come in the form of diet pills, liquid drops (which you mix in a drink), patches, and tea bags. Understanding the 3 different ways hoodia products are made will help you evaluate strength and potency claims.

  1. Hoodia concentrates or extracts: Hoodia is placed into an alcohol mixture that “pulls out” the active ingredients. This mixture is then strained to remove any fiber or skin and the alcohol is removed. This leaves the hoodia extract as a power ready to be put into capsules. The potency of concentrates is usually stated as a ratio. 20:1 means that 20 grams of plant were used to create 1 gram of extract. Extracts such as HoodiThin are a great way to get 100% pure Hoodia and are considered the best source. Extracts are taken by adding a drop or two into any beverage. Some people prefer this method since it provides extended release over time without having to take a pill or drink.
  2. Powder from dried and ground Hoodia plants: This is the most common and cheapest form of manufacture. Only the core fleshy insides of the hoodia gordonii’s aerial stems have been shown to be effective. Some merchants will grind up the outer inactive skin, spines, etc and use them as filler. While technically still 100% pure Hoodia, the capsules are under-dosed. Pills come in a variety of doses. One popular brand of 100% pure aerial stem hoodia comes in a unique extended release version.
  3. Extract and/or synthesize the P57 molecule: The process to directly extract the active ingredient is patented by Phytopharm and it’s partners (Pfizer et al). As of the beginning of 2006, Phytopharm was still in the trial stage with this process so no product currently have pure P57.

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This information is not a substitute for professional medical, legal, or financial advice from a qualified provider.