I just ran into a couple of great articles on Hoodia and thought it would be great to share them. Why do I care about Hoodia? Well I keep getting spam about the “Greatest loss product ever” and man do I hate unfounded hype.
It seems that Hoodia may be a good product but if there is ever a wonder drug that will stop people from eating and help them lose than the lack of exercise will surely kill people. I t is very important to remember that even if Hoodia does a great job in helping you lose that you still need to exercise regularly to stay or regain health. I have made my own notations here in bold from this great article at about.com written by Cathy Wong
Introduction to Hoodia
Each year, people spend more than $40 billion on products designed to help them slim down. None of them seem to be working very well.
Now along comes hoodia. Never heard of it? Soon it’ll be tripping off your tongue, because hoodia is a natural substance that literally takes your appetite away. It’s very different from diet stimulants like Ephedra and Phenfen that are now banned because of dangerous side effects. Hoodia doesn’t stimulate at all. Scientists say it fools the brain by making you think you’re full, even if you’ve eaten just a morsel.
Hoodia is a cactus that’s causing a stir for its ability to suppress appetite and promote weight loss. 60 Minutes, ABC, and the BBC have all done stories on hoodia. Hoodia is sold in capsule, liquid, or tea form in health food stores and on the Internet. Hoodia is also found in the popular diet pill Trimspa.
Hoodia gordonii can be found in the semi-deserts of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. Much like a cactus it has recently been turned into a cash crop in Namibia where there are hundreds of acres of it being grown to meet the demand in North America.
It takes about 5 years before hoodia’s pale purple flowers appear and the cactus can be harvested. Although there are 20 types of hoodia, only the hoodia gordonii variety is believed to contain the natural appetite suppressant.
Although hoodia was only marketed recently, the San Bushmen of the Kalahari desert have been eating it for a very long time. The Bushmen, who live off the land, would cut off part of the hoodia stem and eat it to ward off hunger and thirst during nomadic hunting trips. They also used hoodia for severe abdominal cramps, haemorrhoids, tuberculosis, indigestion, hypertension and diabetes.
In 1937, a Dutch anthropologist studying the San Bushmen noted that they used hoodia to suppress appetite. But it wasn’t until 1963 when scientists at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa’s national laboratory, began studying hoodia. Initial results were promising — lab animals lost after taking hoodia.
Eventually pharmaceutical giant Pfizer got together with Phytopharm and started to research how to make a drug out of the Hoodia plant. Pfizer recently returned the rights to hoodia to Phytopharm, who is now working with Unilever.
Why would Phizer stop? Phizer claims they stopped trying to get Hoodia to work because it is a very tough product to synthysize and they just had to give up.
How does hoodia work?
There isn’t much published research on hoodia. Researchers at Brown University in Rhode Island recently found that the steroidal glycosides in hoodia affects nerve cells in the hypothalamus that monitor blood glucose. Simply put, the brain is tricked into thinking there is enough energy (blood sugar) and doesn’t need to eat, so it shuts down the hunger mechanism.
What you need to know about hoodia
Hoodia appears to suppress appetite
Much of the buzz about hoodia started after 60 minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl and crew traveled to Africa to try hoodia. They hired a local Bushman to go with them into the desert and track down some hoodia. Stahl ate it, describing it as “cucumbery in texture, but not bad.” She lost the desire to eat or drink the entire day. She also didn’t experience any immediate side effects, such as indigestion or heart palpitations. Stahl concluded, “I’d have to say it did work.”
In animal studies, hoodia is believed to reduce caloric intake by 30 to 50 percent. There is one human study showing a reduced intake of about 1000 calories per day. However, I haven’t been able to find either study to actually read for myself and am going on secondhand reports.
Hoodia is expensive
There has always been a demand for quick-fix, no-pain loss pills. After the ban on the herb ephedra, the market was particularly ripe for the next new loss solution, preferably one that didn’t have the same stimulating side effects as ephedra. The demand for hoodia is great, but the supply isn’t. Until very recently, hoodia gordonii was only found in the wild in South Africa. Hoodia is difficult to grow. It requires 4-5 years to mature and temperatures in the range of 122F. The supply is scarce, which keeps costs high.
One of the important issues to look at is that many Hoodia products fake the amount of Hoodia in them and in fact contain almost none. Be usre to watch who you are buying your Hoodia from!
The correct dose of hoodia is individual
Supplement companies put a standard recommended dose on the bottle, but people often need far less or more than that amount. Some people who’ve used hoodia say they need at least 1,200 milligrams per day to notice a difference. But it depends on a person’s , diet, lifestyle, and metabolism.
How long does hoodia takes to work?
The consensus is that hoodia can take up to 1 to 2 weeks to kick in, however, many people notice the appetite suppressing effects within 1/2 hour of taking a dose of hoodia.
How to take hoodia
An hour before meals
With a glass of water. Ensure adequate water intake, because hoodia will also shut off your thirst mechanism.
Side efffects of hoodia are still unknown
I’m not aware of any published reports of side effects after short-term use of hoodia.
There are no published long-term studies on the safety of hoodia. Just because it has been used for thousands of years doesn’t mean it is safe. The San Bushmen are a tribe of hunter-gatherers. They do not take pills for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, depression, and other diseases, like we do.
Hoodia simply hasn’t reached a wide enough market yet or undergone safety testing to know what the side effects, drug interactions, and safety concerns are, if any.
People with diabetes should be particularly cautious. Because hoodia tricks the brain into thinking that it has enough blood sugar, it’s possible that a person’s blood sugar could drop dangerously low while taking hoodia. With the regular hunger mechanism turned off, the normal warning signs may be suppressed — until it’s too late.
There are no studies evaluating the use hoodia during pregnancy, lactation, in children, and by people with chronic conditions such as heart, kidney, or liver disease.
So there you have it. I hope that I never have to revisit the Hoodia subject in this much depth as I really am tired of the hype. Any news that I do see though I will pass on though. It appears that there is not nearly enough research done and the governments of some aftrican countries are not about to lose this great cash crop so you will likely have to be very careful when examining health claims of Hoodia.