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Does Hoodia Gordonii Work?

Phytopharm is a company that obtained a licence from the CSIR to investigate the Hoodia gordonii extract as a weight loss product.

This company cites a small trial with 18 people who found that taking Hoodia gordonii reduced food consumption by about 1000 calories per day compared to people taking a placebo.

This study was not published! The small trial would tend to indicate that Hoodia gordonii does work as an appetite suppressant.

However much larger trials are required to really establish the effectiveness of this possible weight loss product

An ex-employee of Pfizer
, (a company that also worked on the potential of Hoodia gordonii,) stated in a letter to the New York Times that Hoodia gordonii did appear to suppress appetite, amongst other effects.

David MacLean, M. D., who is associated with Brown University in Providence Rhode Island published a report on the 10th of September 2004 in which he stated that the molecule p57, a component of Hoodia gordonii probably has an effect on the brain's hypothalamus which regulates appetite.

Unfortunately his study was done on animals so there is no definite indication that Hoodia gordonii will work on humans.


Mark Blumenthal, the executive director of a research organisation called The American Botanical Council, cites the above study. He says the study suggests that Hoodia gordonii might have some effect in suppressing appetite but states that the evidence is not sufficient to make an absolute finding [ as to whether Hoodia gordonii works or not ].

I have not been able to find any further scientific studies relating to the potential weight loss capabilities of Hoodia gordonii. This does not mean to say that there aren't any!

Basically, the weight loss capabilities of Hoodia gordonii are supported by anecdotal evidence of people who have used it and found that they experienced weight loss.

Other people say that the Hoodia gordonii extract did not work for them. It is possible that this lack of effect may be put down to the use of product that, although called Hoodia gordonii or just Hoodia, did not contain sufficient genuine Hoodia gordonii to be effective.

Some people who took Hoodia gordonii and found it effective stated that they also experienced a slight sense of euphoria.

Although Hoodia gordonii was being sold as a weight loss product before 2003/4 it became more well known after a reporter from the BBC News travelled to South Africa to try the product.

Parts of his report is listed here:
    Tom Mangold, a correspondent from the BBC News reported on 30 March 2005 as follows after he went to the Kalahari Desert to eat raw Hoodia gordoni

    At about 1800hrs I ate about half a banana size ( piece of Hoodia gordonii ) - and later so did my cameraman. Soon after, we began the four hour drive back to Cape Town.

    The plant is said to have a feel-good almost aphrodisiac quality, and I have to say, we felt good. But more significantly, we did not even think about food. Our brains really were telling us we were full. It was a magnificent deception.

    Dinner time came and went. We reached our hotel at about midnight and went to bed without food. And the next day, neither of us wanted nor ate breakfast.

    I ate lunch but without appetite and very little pleasure. Partial then full appetite returned slowly after 24 hours.
    {Emphasis Mine}

This report, although certainly not scientific, is anecdotal evidence that Hoodia gordonii does work as an appetite suppressant.

So does Hoodia gordonii work? Does it make people lose weight? Or does it at least help dieters who follow a calorie reduced diet not to feel hungry?

Well, so far there's no hard scientific evidence that Hoodia gordonii promotes weight loss. However many people state that it has helped them to lose large amounts of weight.

It must be understood that the question of whether Hoodia gordonii works depends on a number of factors.

One is whether the brand of Hoodia gordonii being taken actually contains sufficient of the appetite suppressant to be effective.

Another is whether the person taking the appetite suppressant actually reduces their calorie intake if they don't feel hungry.

Some people over-eat for other reasons such as emotional ones or out of habit, or during periods of stress, whilst others may be genetically predisposed to being overweight.

Something else to think about when deciding if Hoodia gordonii works as a weight loss product is when you reduce your calorie intake you will lose weight initially but then your body will become accustomed to the lower intake and your metabolism will decrease leading the weight loss to stop.

The only way to prevent this happening is to combine exercise with the reduced food intake.

So whilst it is quite possible that Hoodia gordonii is an effective appetite suppressant there are other factors to consider when establishing if it will work for a particular individual and help him/her lose weight.

Does Hoodia gordonii work? Your guess is as good as mine!

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