Hoodia is a weight loss supplement that is a newcomer to North America and the weight loss industry. It is another one of the over the counter supplements that is sold to make the journey to thinness “theoretically” easier and painless.
Hoodia Gordonii was first discovered in 1937 by a Dutch anthropologist. He descovered that African Bushman were usin the flowering plant to suppress their appetite and thirst, when they travelled across the desert.
South African scientists, working with a British pharmaceutical company called Phytopharm, isolated the active ingredient – P57 in 1995. Then in 1998 another Pharmaceutical company Pfizer spent $21 million to sub-license the patent from Phytopharm. After the initial research Pfizer decided to return the license. (1) Then, in 2010 Phytopharm also let the patent lease expire. (2)
Hoodia weight loss supplements must contain the P57 from the Hoodia Gordonii plant to be advertised as Hoodia. There are over 13 different Hoodia plants and only one has been found to have the active ingredient that causes the appetite and thirst suppression.
Hoodia weight loss supplements work on your central nervous system and trick the body into thinking it’s full. This will avoid the nagging feelings of hunger. It also tricks the body into losing the trigger for thirst which is worrying as it can potentially cause problems with dehydration, especially on hot days.
People with diabetes should be especially careful using the supplement since it tricks the body into thinking that there is sufficient blood sugar. Without the proper feedback mechanism, people suffering from diabetes can suffer dangerously low blood sugar drops that can lead to hypos and death if not treated immediately.
Before using any product including this one, you should always check with your doctor to determine if there may be any interactions with medications you may already be taking or any underlying medical conditions that which you may be suffering. Your pharmacist can also help with interactions with any over the counter medications you be thinking of buying
Just like any other herbal supplement, Hoodia supplements must be used with caution. The manufacture of Hoodia products are not regulated by any agency. The only real way to know if what is labeled on the bottle is really in the bottle is by an evaluation in an independent laboratory.
Sometimes herbal supplements contain products that are not listed on the label. They are included in the manufacturing process and they are not processed out. Some of these substances in Hoodia weight loss supplements can cause liver dysfunction and damage, which was the reason that Pfizer had backed out of the patent. These side effects on the liver were too much of a liability to the pharmaceutical company Pfizer who was weighing the cost of risk vs. benefit. To the average user the benefit is weight loss. However, the pharmaceutical company was weighing the potential cost of law suits and manufacturing process to reduce the risk of liver damage, against the financial benefit of the sale of the product.
Typical side effects of this supplement are not well documented since there have been no reliable studies using humans since it was introduced in North America.
Although Hoodia Gordonii has been shown through case studies to be effective in weight loss supplementation there have also not been enough studies to show the safety of using this supplement. The choice is always yours. (3)
(1) Rebirth Africa: From Hoodia Gordonii to P57
(2) NutraIngredients.com: Phytopharm CEO Insists Hoodia Still “Interesting” Despite Patent Disposal
(3) Natural News: Hoodia Gornonii is No Miracle Weight Loss Pill, Health Investigation Reveals