Hoodia Gordonii supplement, side effects and benefits. Is it effective as a diet pill, does it help with weight loss? The Anti-Fat Plant?
July 5 2014 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.  

The hoodia plant is a spiny succulent (similar looking to a cactus) that grows in the Kalahari desert in Africa, mostly in the arid areas of South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia. San Bushmen (who are one of the world's oldest hunter-gatherer tribes), have known about it for countless generations. Rock paintings of the San Bushmen go back more than 20,000 years. The nomadic Bushmen, who live in this harsh and arid desert, use the hoodia gordonii plant as an appetite suppressant during their long marches and hunting trips through the vast desert. I am not aware of any human studies published with hoodia gordonii supplements for weight loss. Below I mention one rodent study that I came across that showed it did reduce appetite.
   For a highly effective product with hoodia gordonii extract that helps you eat less, see Diet-Rx natural appetite suppressant. I have tested Diet Rx with patients and the results have been consistent in terms of appetite suppression.

Review
Hoodia supplements appear to be effective for appetite control in many, but not all, users. Since there are hundreds of hoodia products on the market, in a variety of extract potencies and quality of raw materials, it is difficult to give an evaluation that would apply to all products. We've had feedback from hoodia
gordonii supplement users regarding appetite control, and the results are mixed. Overall, though, it seems about 50 to 60% of the feedback has been positive.

buy Hoodia Extract 400 mg, 20:1
Note: This hoodia product is a 20:1 extract which means it is 20 times as concentrated as regular hoodia plant. Four hundred mgs of extract equals about 8,000 mg or 8 grams of the actual plant.
Hoodia gordonii is a succulent found in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa. The San Tribesmen of the Kalahari have been using it as a food source for thousands of years.

Supplement Facts
Hoodia gordonii Stem Extract (20:1) - 400 mg

Suggested Use: 1 or 2 capsules in the morning before breakfast on an empty stomach.

 


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All Natural Appetite Suppressant
Decreases appetite so you eat less
Helps you maintain healthy blood sugar levels
Helps you maintain healthy cholesterol and lipid levels
Provides a variety of antioxidant from two dozen herbs and nutrients
Provides healthy fiber
Improves energy
Improves mental concentration and focus
Improves will power and choice of food selection

Diet Rx Contains
Green Tea Extract - Studies show green tea extract results in an increase fat oxidation and in energy expenditure (a measure of metabolism). Green tea contains various antioxidants, including EGCG. It also increases energy. The benefits come from an interaction between caffeine and EGCG).
Hoodia gordonii has a compound called P57 that works directly in the brain to help reduce appetite. For thousands of years the bushman of the Kalahari Desert in South Africa have been chewing on it to stop hunger while they were on hunts or journeys, where there was little of no food available to them.
Glucomannan konjac extract helps satiate and provides good management of blood lipid and carbohydrate status along with providing fiber for optimal bowel movements.
Bitter-Melon helps with blood sugar control and increases lipid oxidation, or fat burning.
Pomegranate is full of antioxidants that helps reduce damage to the inner lining of blood vessels.
Coleus forskohlii contains
Forskolin which increases Cyclic AMP thus influencing membrane transport proteins and increasing fat metabolism..
Fenugreek helps with blood sugar control and reduces insulin resistance.
Guggul can help a sluggish thyroid gland and help the body to burn calories more efficiently. Guggul also helps manage cholesterol levels.
Inulin is from the chicory plant. Inulin is a prebiotic fiber that helps reduce food absorption but improves mineral absorption, including magnesium and calcium.
Banaba extract helps check blood sugar and insulin levels. Fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin are related to appetite and food cravings, particularly for carbohydrates.
Acetyl l-Carnitine helps maintain attention and focus so you can think clearer

Hoodia powder versus extract
Which form is better? We really don't know the answer to whether hoodia powder or extract is better since no studies have been done comparing the two.

Appetite control
It was in the 1960s that scientists first discovered that when rodents were given hoodia
gordonii, they practically stopped eating. According to news reports, researchers in South Africa discovered hoodia gordonii contains a previously unknown compound, not known to be present in other plants, which has since been named P 57. Apparently the license was sold to a British pharmaceutical company, Phytopharm, who in turn sold the development and marketing rights to Pfizer Corporation. Studies with hoodia gordonii are being conducted at this time. A preliminary report in the news media which I can't find in medical journals indicates that hoodia gordonii is able to suppress appetite in humans. Here is a study done with rats.

An appetite suppressant from Hoodia species.
Phytochemistry. 2007.
Two pregnane glycosides were isolated by fractionation of the dried stems of Hoodia gordonii. Compound 1 was tested for its appetite suppressant properties in rats by oral gavage at 6.25-50mg/kg and the results showed that all doses resulted in a decrease of food consumption over an eight day period and a body mass decrease when compared to the control sample receiving only the vehicle.

The Sad San Story -- A short history of the San Bushmen
Relatively small in stature, the San Bushmen first made contact with Western explorers in the 1920s. They were treated unkindly (some of the explorers even hunted them like animals) and by the 1930s the Bushmen population was so decimated that a wide section of the Kalahari desert was officially turned into a game preserve and the San were allowed to live off the land. Unfortunately as a result of the Apartheid laws in South Africa in the 1950s, the San were forced to settle in a makeshift township on the edge of the Kalahari desert. They were forbidden to hunt and ended up living in poverty and squalor... to this day.
     In 2004 it was reported in the news that more than 200 bushmen from the Kalahari desert took the Botswana government to court over their forced eviction from ancestral lands. They are challenging a 2002 decision to resettle them outside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which was their home for tens of thousands of years.

Is hoodia a diet pill?
I'm still trying to evaluate the feedback from users of hoodia gordoni. Thus far I tend to lean towards the probability that this natural product
is in fact helpful to curb appetite, but I still need many more case reports from hoodia users before coming to a firmer opinion. In the meantime, I am confident that Diet Rx with hoodia extract is a potent appetite suppressant.

Side effects, safety, danger, risk, allergy
Thus far there have not been any reports in the medical literature regarding significant hoodia side effects but high dosages could lead to an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. The San Bushmen consume hoodia gordonii on a regular basis and it appears that they are healthy although I don't know how often they eat it. Plus, most users in this country are taking the hoodia extract and not the whole succulent fruit. As more people take this popular supplement, it is likely that hoodia side effects could surface. All plants and substances have the potential to lead to an untoward reaction, but we have not yet come across allergy as an adverse effect.

Chemical composition, what's in it?
Hoodia has many components, including C21-steroidal derivatives, namely gordonosides, along with goodigosides, and oxypregnane glycosides. P57AS3 (P57), an oxypregnane steroidal glycoside, is believed to be the active constituent from this plant in terms of appetite suppression. P57 increases the content of ATP by 50-150% in hypothalamic neurons which may be one of the mechanisms by which hoodia works as an appetite suppression.

Food Chem Toxicology. 2012. Safety profile of Hoodia gordonii extract: rabbit prenatal developmental toxicity study Hoodia gordonii extract was orally administered by gavage to groups of 22 female New Zealand white rabbits from day 3-28 after mating at doses of 0 (control), 3, 6 or 12 mg/kg bodyweight/day. These doses were reached by a dose escalation phase between days 3 and 7 after mating. As well as a vehicle control group, a control group pair-fed to the high dose was also included. On day 29 after mating the females were euthanized and examined. Treatment at 6 or 12 mg/kg/day was associated with a dose-related reduction in feed intake and bodyweight gain. Feed consumption and bodyweight gain was unaffected at 3mg/kg/day. In spite of marked maternal effects at 12 mg/kg/day, reproductive indices were unaffected at all doses and there were no effects on fetal or placental weights and no morphological changes in the fetuses. The no-observed-effect level (NOEL) for developmental effects was therefore 12 mg/kg/day, and the maternal NOEL was 3mg/kg/day. At doses that caused marked maternal effects, H. gordonii extract did not affect embryonic or fetal development in a species that is considered predictive of developmental toxicity in man.

Hoodia Gordonii Research
Determination of the appetite suppressant P57 in Hoodia gordonii plant extracts and dietary supplements by liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and LC-UV methods.
J AOAC Int. 2006.
P57AS3 (P57), an oxypregnane steroidal glycoside, is the only reported active constituent from this plant as an appetite suppressant. Effective quality control of these extracts or products requires rapid methods to determine P57 content. New methods of liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and LC-UV for analysis of P57 from Hoodia gordonii have been developed. The quantitative determination of P57 was achieved with a Phenomenex Gemini (Torrance, CA) reversed-phase column using gradient mobile phase of water and acetonitrile, both containing 0.1% acetic acid. The method was validated for linearity, repeatability, and limits of detection and quantification. Good results were obtained in terms of repeatability (relative standard deviation <5.0%) and recovery (98-103%). The developed methods were applied to the determination of P57 for Hoodia gordonii plant samples, one related genus (Opuntia ficus-indica), and dietary supplements that claim to contain Hoodia gordonii.

A United Nations conference approved a proposal by African countries to control trade in hoodia sought hungrily by drug companies for its appetite-suppressing properties. The hoodia cactus in question has been used for thousands of years by southern Africa's San Bushmen to dampen their appetites during long treks through the harsh Kalahari desert and holds the key to potentially lucrative anti-obesity drugs. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species listed the hoodia plant in its Appendix II -- which will regulate global trade in the species -- at the behest of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has patented the chemical entity extracted from hoodia and licensed British drugs-from-plants firm Phytopharm Plc to develop the plant's commercial potential. Phytopharm said in July it welcomed moves to protect hoodia from illegal cultivation.

Increased ATP content/production in the hypothalamus may be a signal for energy-sensing of satiety: studies of the anorectic mechanism of a plant steroidal glycoside.
Brain Res. 2004.
A steroidal glycoside with anorectic activity in animals, termed P57AS3 (P57), was isolated from Hoodia gordonii and found to have homologies to the steroidal core of cardiac glycosides. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injections of the purified P57AS3 hoodia gordoni extract demonstrated that the compound has a likely central (CNS) mechanism of action. There is no evidence of P57AS3 binding to or altering activity of known receptors or proteins, including Na/K-ATPase, the putative target of cardiac glycosides. The studies demonstrated that the compound increases the content of ATP by 50-150% in hypothalamic neurons. In addition, third ventricle (i.c.v.) administration of P57, which reduces subsequent 24-h food intake by 40-60%, also increases ATP content in hypothalamic slice punches removed at 24 h following the i.c.v. injections. In related studies, in pair fed rats fed a low calorie diet for 4 days, the content of ATP in the hypothalami of control i.c.v. injected animals fell by 30-50%, which was blocked by i.c.v. injections of P57AS3 hoodia extract. With growing evidence of metabolic or nutrient-sensing by the hypothalamus, ATP may be a common currency of energy sensing, which in turn may trigger the appropriate neural, endocrine and appetitive responses as similar to other fundamental hypothalamic homeostatic centers for temperature and osmolarity.

Emails, testimonials
Q. I'm currently taking hoodia supplement. Background: I'm 52, 5' 2", with apparently no metabolism but a normal appetite and work in a stressful place where there's food all around me. You can guess what that did. It's too early to record anything significant as to weight loss, but I'll be astonished if it doesn't happen as hoodia is willpower in a bottle! I now eat only when my stomach is growling, only a tiny amount is enough, and have been able to postpone meals and stop snacking completely. Hoodia is much better than the over-the-counter appetite suppressant that they banned a few years back. I start in the morning with 2 hoodia capsules, and may have another in the afternoon if I feel a snack appetite coming on. If night eating starts happening, I'll take another one then, but it hasn't been a problem. I tried Atkins - it works, but more slowly than when I was young and seems to plateau quickly. Hoodia plant seems to work even on emotional-based eating patters: my job is just as stressful, I haven't won the lottery, yet I'm no longer self-medicating with food. I may try combining Atkins with Hoodia to reduce calorie intake (calories do count in Atkins, just according to a different formula). Hoodia might be a partial answer to an important problem in our society.
     A week later update: I've had to cut back my morning hoodia dose from two to one pill after about a week - I've read elsewhere about hoodia effects building up. I've started to lose a little, too - I get little 'pits' in the fat when it's starting to shrink. Nothing obvious yet. This natural pill is still willpower in a bottle. I notice a slight bitter taste and mild sensation in my mouth and lips when its effect is at its height, and taking too much hoodia made me almost a little giddy.

Q. I'm a 360 lbs white male, age 40. I took pure hoodia diet pills, 2 a day, for a week and did not notice any effect on appetite or weight loss. I'm not convinced hoodia is a diet pill.

Q. On 60 Minutes it was reported that some hoodia products being sold on web sites did not actually contain it. How can I be certain that what web sites are selling is the real hoodia product?
   A. Most of the products sold are actually pure hoodia but, there are unscrupulous marketers who may not be selling real hoodia. The only way to know for certain is to send the actual product to a lab for HPLC testing.. The question still not answered is whether the amount of the hoodia cactus present in the capsules or the hoodia extract that is present in them is enough to cause appetite suppression, or how many hoodia capsules are required to do so. I review the test results of the raw materials in the hoodia supplement product or the Diet Rx with hoodia extract to make sure they are accurate.

Q. Do the hoodia gordonii pills sold to the consumer work?
   A. I personally have not tested many hoodia products, but I know of more than a dozen people who have tried it. The majority claim hoodia reduced their appetite without side effects, although none had taken hoodia longer than 4 weeks. The others did not think the hoodia supplement worked for them. Even if hoodia stops appetite, there have not been any long term human trials to see if hoodia supplements lead to long term weight loss.

Q. How do I know if I buy a hoodia diet pill product that it is pure hoodia?
   A. Unfortunately, I would not be surprised if some companies are selling hoodia products that are not true to their label. Buy hoodia from a company you are familiar with. The only way to know for certain is to have an independent lab test analyze the hoodia supplement.

Q. I heard on 60 minutes that hoodia has H57, a compound mostly responsible for the appetite suppression. Does a hoodia supplement sold in stores have this H57 compound?
   A. I don't know for sure but I would suspect that a hoodia product would have H57 but I have not seen any test results to know for certain. Practically speaking, most people are noticing appetite suppression from the use of hoodia supplements.

Q. I've seen hoodia spelled as gordoni and gordonii. Which is the right spelling?
   A. The right spelling is hoodia gordonii.

Q. I was interested in beginning to take hoodia appetite suppressant. However, I am currently taking 10 mg of Enalapril for treatment of high blood pressure. Will hoodia and these pills interact? 
   A. No human trials are available regarding hoodia supplement use along with medications, therefore it is very difficult to say what kind of interaction, if any, would occur when taking hoodia and a blood pressure medication such as an ACE inhibitor.

Q. I saw a documentary on BBC news that hoodia had no side effects. Is this true?
   A. In my opinion, all herbs have the potential for side effects. Hoodia gordonii is still a new supplement on the market, and when tens of thousands of people start taking it, there is bound to be some hoodia side effects reported.

Q. Does Hoodia 920 actually work? I have PCOS and am now insulin immune. I am very healthy but my weight really fluctuates and metformin does not help. I have also been diagnosed with Celiacs disease. Bad as it sounds I am a clinical reflexologist and am quite healthy. Hence none of these issues were diagnosed until very recently. All this asides, I would really appreciate any advice you have to give on Hoodia 920. I can hear my size 12 jeans screaming to come out of the wardrobe and I would just love to oblige.
   A. We have not tested Hoodia 920 and hence don't know if it leads to weight loss. At this time the only info on hoodia is updated on this web page.

I would like to try a hoodia diet pill but there are literally dozens of products marketed on the internet. How do I know that there is actual hoodia gordonii in these pills?
    Unless you send the product to an independent lab, you can not be 100 percent certain that the product you buy will have hoodia gordonii or the right amount as stated on the label. However, most of the large companies selling hoodia weight loss pills are reliable.

I came across your website regarding hoodia supplements while searching to see if there are any reports on results similar to my own. I have been diagnosed seven years ago with PCOS, three other doctors confirmed this diagnosis. My weight continued to elevate from 5'5" 135 pounds to a whopping 220 pounds. I had been taking metformin (for insulin resistance) this entire time with no positive weight loss results, although all docs had told me it was a good possibility. My menstrual cycle had almost ceased completely, with periods intervals of about one every four to five months. About 9 months ago, I ordered a two month supply of hoodia online and started taking four hoodia pills a day with my 500mg metformin 2 times a day. My menstrual cycle returned at a 28 day interval almost immediately. After three months, I had lost almost thirty pounds from my middle, lost all sugar and white flour cravings. I tapered off of the metformin and continued on the hoodia supplements for about a month, and results ceased. I then tried metformin alone for about a month with no results either. Returned to the metformin / hoodia combo (I call it a cocktail) and results started up almost immediately again. I am now down to 155 pounds and counting. It seems apparent to me that this is an effective mix for PCOS patients, yet I do not find ANY studies or evidence online. Other results I have noticed only in combination: Immediate return of libido, No need for antidepressants whatsoever, No more symptoms of lethargy.