Is Hoodia a Safe and Effective Supplement?

April 4, 2008

Hoodia Gordonii Hoodia Gordonii is a succulent plant that grows in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa and Namibia, and has been used medicinally by the indigenous San Busmen to fight hunger and thirst during extended hunting expeditions, due to its appetite suppressant properties.

The obesity explosion is the most pressing health issue of our time, with modern medication having an array of adverse health effects, and is disappointingly limited in treating this “disease”. So the hunt for an effective alternative remedy has led researchers to Hoodia Gordonii.

The metamorphosis of Hoodia from a bushman’s diet to global recognition in the fight against obesity could not have happened without some kind of evidence and results.

The safety and efficacy of Hoodia Gordonii has been documented in various studies.

  • Whole Hoodia powder contains fiber, antioxidants, and the only reported active ingredient P57, an oxypregnane steroidal glycoside. Studies at Brown University Medical School have demonstrated P57 to be a hypothalamic ATP modulator, increasing the content of ATP by 50-150%. ATP is the molecule that stores the energy that we need for every action that we perform in life. P57 informs the brain that blood glucose levels are high, thus fooling the brain into thinking it’s full. P57 contains zero calories, yet is 10, 000 times more potent than sugar in suppressing appetite.
  • In a trial of 24 morbidly obese people where all that they could do was to read, watch television, interact with each other, and of course eat. Half the participants were given Hoodia Gordonii, and the other half a placebo. After 15 days the Hoodia Gordonii group had reduced their calorie intake by 1000 calories a day, despite taking no exercise and not being on any kind of weight loss diet.
  • In another double blind 15-day study, 19 overweight males were randomized to P57 or placebo. Nine subjects in each group completed the study with a statistically significant decrease in calorie intake and body fat and no serious adverse events. Hoodia, in its natural form, has no interactions with any medications and no side effects such as diarrhea, anxiety, irritability or change in sleep habits were reported.
  • A preliminary study at the School of Chemistry of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa determined that Hoodia was a more effective appetite suppressant than fenfluramine, an anti-obesity drug that was withdrawn from the U.S. market in 1997 after reports of heart valve disease.
Although Hoodia is still not FDA approved, and further studies would be desirable, there seems to be little doubt as to the effectiveness and safety of Hoodia as a weight loss aid when combined with a nutritious diet, exercise, and good hydration. The problem is that an estimated two thirds of all Hoodia available is either counterfeit or contains very little of the P57 ingredient.

The C.I.T.E.S. (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) certificate is being displayed to indicate authenticity by many sellers of Hoodia, and while it is a necessary requirement, independent laboratory certificates are the only way to ensure that you are buying genuine Hoodia.

1. Avula B, Wang YH, Pawar RS, Shukla YJ, Schaneberg B, Khan IA. Determination of the appetite suppressant P57 in Hoodia gordonii plant extracts and dietary supplements by liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC-MSD-TOF) and LC-UV methods. J AOAC Int. 2006 May-Jun;89(3):606-11. PMID: 16792058.
2. Pawar RS, Shukla YJ, Khan SI, Avula B, Khan IA. New oxypregnane glycosides from appetite suppressant herbal supplement Hoodia gordonii. Steroids. 2007 Jun;72(6-7):524-34. Epub 2007 Mar 18. PMID: 17467018.
3. van Heerden FR, Marthinus Horak R, Maharaj VJ, Vleggaar R, Senabe JV, Gunning PJ. An appetite suppressant from Hoodia species. Phytochemistry. 2007 Oct;68(20):2545-53. Epub 2007 Jul 2. PMID: 17603088.
4. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, Volume 17
5. FASEB J. 15, 4:A404, 2001

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One Comment

  1. hoodia

    September 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Great article. Hoodia has worked for me in the past. Although I have heard some negative reviews. I believe it is just as anything out there. Some stuff works better for others.

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