Hoodia is a genus of 13 Apocynaceae family of flowering plants. Hoodia Gordonii is a traditional African "cactiform" - resembling the cactus family, although unrelated - a succulent plant that can reach up to 1m high and often have large flowers with a strong smell. African tribesmen consume the succulent stems of Hoodia Gordonii to reduce hunger during long hunting trips. Hoodia plants are also used by the indigenous population of South Africa to treat indigestion, and small infections.
Many Hoodia species are protected plants of the Namib Desert ranging from central Namibia to south Angola. Other common names of Hoodia include "bushman's hat", "and "queen of the namib". The indigenous bushmen call it Xhoba. Several species of the Hoodia plants are also grown as garden plants, and Hoodia Gordinii (one of the species of Hoodia) is widely promoted and marketed as an appetite suppressant.
In 1977, the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) isolated the appetite suppressing compound from Hoodia Gordinii, which is now known as P57, but don't get this confused with current Hoodia Gordonii diet pill products which name their products in a similar fashion, such as Hoodia X57 and Hoodia H57. P57 is the active ingredient that suppresses appetite, while Hoodia X57 and P57 are just products with similar names.
Hoodia P57 was patented in 1996, and the CSIR granted Phytopharm, a UK based pharmaceutical company, the license to P57. Phytopharm then collaborated with Pfizer to isolate the active ingredients and conduct research into synthesizing them for use as an appetite suppressant.
Pure Hoodia Gordonii Diet Pill & Weight Loss Review
Obesity is a major health problem growing to epidemic proportions in North America. In the US, 65% (127 million) adults are overweight, and healthcare costs are estimated to mount to $100billion (American Obesity Association). Similar problems exist in europe where about 40% of the population in UK are overweight, and about 22% are obese. With obesity becoming such a serious health issue, weight loss products and diet pills are coming on the market everyday - some work, and some are just a sham.
Hoodia Gordoni was made popular by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, and also by the TV show 60 minutes that was aired on November 21, 2004. 60 Minutes aired a segment on Hoodia Gordonii, which is an increasingly popular succulent plant in southwestern Africa that's being promoted as an appetite suppressant. The 60 Minutes segment covered the issue of products showing up on the market claiming to contain Hoodia Gordinii, biopiracy (the taking of traditional knowledge without compensation) , and royalty payments to the indigenous Bushmen.
The CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) performed extensive research on Hoodia Gordonii P57 as an appetite suppressant, and has patented P57. In 2002, CSIR officially recognized the San tribespeople's rights over Hoodia, and granted them a percentage of the profits results from Hoodia sales.
Extensive media coverage and heavy marketing by supplement manufacturers that followed created a huge market demand for Hoodia Gordonii, where many products claiming to contain Hoodia do not actually contain the actual ingredient. Reviews by Alkemists Pharmaceuticals found that 60% of supplied samples contained no Hoodia. Consumer Reports investigated Hoodia Gordonii supplements on the market in 2006 and concluded that it lacks the clinical evidence to recommend this product.
How Does Hoodia Work - Hoodia Weight Loss Pill
Phytopharm's Hoodia Gordini is based on an extract of the succulent plant. The extract contains a satiety stimulator that suppresses appetite, and reduces caloric intake in overweight subjects. There are few studies done on Hoodia Gordonii, and the one Hoodia study conducted by Phytopharm in 2001 which involved human subjects, was not published and was not subject to peer reviews for its quality.
Phytopharm's study on Hoodia Gordonii involved 18 overweight individuals in a double blind, placebo controlled clinical study. From the study, they found the subjects that took Hoodia consumed on average 1,000 calories less than the placebo group, and found a statistically significant reduction in body fat. But again, this study was not submitted for peer reviews.
I have seen from websites selling "Hoodia Gordonii" diet pills making claims such as "P57 is estimated to be up to 100,000 times as potent as glucose in sending a signal to the brain that the body is in a state of satiety." I wonder where they get their facts from? While it is true that Hoodia creates the felling of satiety, and is an appetite suppressant, but they must've pulled the 100,000 times potency out of thin air... Well, the truth of it is, the actual number reported is more like 100 times more potent, not 100,000! Seems like they took the reported figured and increased its potency by 1,000 fold!
Hoodia Gordonii DEX L10 Study
The above figure of 100 times potency was reported by a small study conducted by a doctor named Richard M. Goldfarb in Morrisville, PA.. He conducted a small study involving Hoodia Gordonii on people and found it effective. The study involved only 7 subjects using Hoodia Gordonii DEX L10, a 500mg Hoodia capsule sold by Delmar Labs. Dr. Goldfarb did the study for the manufacturer of Hoodia DEX L10, but says there was no financial compensation.
In the study, the 7 subjects took 2 Hoodia Gordonii DEX L10 caps each day, keeping all other eating and exercising habits unchanged with a starting body weight ranging from 193 to 345lbs. The subjects lost 3.3% body weight on average over the 28 day study. The participants reported a lowered caloric intake within just a few days of taking DEX L10, and there were no reported side effects.
In his report, Goldfarb says: "Hoodia gordonii works within the satiety center of the brain by releasing a chemical compound similar to glucose but up to 100 times stronger. The hypothalamus receives this signal as an indication that enough food has been consumed and this in turn decreases the appetite." Yes, "up to 100 times", not 100,000! However, this study was not published in a scientific journal and was not peer reviewed - because it conducted as an efficacy study to find out if the product actually works. (Source: WebMD)
Hoodia Gordonii Diet Pill Conclusion
So does Hoodia work? The few studies outlined above seems to support the fact that Hoodia Gordinii is effective as an appetite suppressant, giving the user a feeling of satiety. The only downside to these two studies is that they were not published, and were not peer reviewed. But, so far, the evidence is pointing towards the fact that Hoodia Gordoni can help suppress appetite and aid with weight loss.
Unfortunately, due to the massive media attention Hoodia received, and the heavy marketing of supplement companies, there exists a very high consumer demand for Hoodia Gordonii diet pills. This has spurred many unscrupulous manufacturers to make unfounded claims, and market weight loss products that claim to contain Hoodia Gordonii although many do not contain the active ingredient.
In december 2004, Phytopharm entered agreement with Unilever in a collaborative 5 stage research and development program of safety and efficacy studies on Hoodia Gordonii, with hopes to bring new weight loss products to market with Hoodia Gordonii. In April 2006, Phytopharm and Unilever completed the first stage of the joint venture, and is in the second stage conducting clinical studies.