Science Behind Hoodia Gordonii
In this article we will look more specifically at the
science behind Hoodia Gordonii and how it has been studied as an appetite
suppressant. We will also examine some theories on how Hoodia Gordonii is able
to suppress your appetite.
What evidence is there that Hoodia Gordonii works as an
For thousands of years the Bushmen of South Africa having
been eating Hoodia Gordonii to fight off hunger during their week long hunting
trips. For the Bushmen there is no question as to the appetite suppressant
power of Hoodia Gordonii - it is a simple fact of life - if you are going on a
long journey you chew on hoodia to avoid hunger.
While the Bushmen did not do formal clinical studies,
there is thousands of years of real world evidence that eating Hoodia Gordonii
works as an appetite suppressant.
There is also a growing body of journalist who can attest
to the powers of Hoodia Gordonii. Here is a piece of the transcript from 60
Minutes (aired in Nov 2004):
So how did it work? Stahl says she had no after effects -
no funny taste in her mouth, no queasy stomach, and no racing heart. She also
wasn't hungry all day, even when she would normally have a pang around
mealtime. And, she also had no desire to eat or drink the entire day. "I'd
have to say it did work," says Stahl.
- Leslie Stahl reporting on CBS News 60 Minutes
Tom Mangold, a correspondent from the BBC News reporting
the following after eating Hoodia Gordonii from the Kalahari Desert...
At about 18.00hrs 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 Capetown.
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
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.
Partial then full appetite returned slowly after 24 hours.
- Tom Mangold, BBC News reporting on 5/30/03
It is very rare for such established journalist to be so
positive on a food supplement. Normally, the media is quick to find fault with
any new dietary supplement and point out potential problems. Not only is Hoodia
Gordonii is being positively "field tested" by journalists, they are
some of the most respected journalist in their field.
Were any clinical studies done with P57?
Yes. In 2001 Phytopharm completed a double-blind,
placebo-controlled clinical study in overweight, but otherwise healthy
volunteers using the P57 extract from Hoodia Gordonii. The participants were
split into two groups, one group received the P57 and the other received a
placebo. Both groups were told to continue their normal diet and exercise. The
results were as follows:
When comparing the P57 group to the Placebo group:
-The P57 group had a statistically significant reduction
in body fat
-The P57 group had a statistically significant reduction
in caloric intake
-The P57 had no adverse side effects
On average the P57 group ate about 1,000 calories a day less than those in the
control group. To put that in perspective, the average American man consumes
about 2,600 calories a day; a woman about 1,900
Were there any side effects from taking Hoodia Gordonii or
There have not been any side effects reported from eating
Hoodia Gordonii or from taking the P-57 molecule. Remember, for thousands of
years that Bushmen have eaten Hoodia Gordonii plants with no ill side effects.
How can P57 (and Hoodia Gordonii) really suppress appetite
to such a great extent?
It is believed that Hoodia (and more specifically the p-57
in the Hoodia Gordonii) imitates the effect glucose has on nerve cells in the
Basically, Hoodia Gordonii fools the brain into thinking
it's full when it's not. So, your brain sends the signal that it is full and
this cuts your urge to snack on unhealthy food. In fact, Hoodia Gordonii is
more powerful than glucose in telling the brain that you are full. Here is how
Phytopharm's Dr Richard Dixey explained how P-57 actually works:
"There is a part of your brain, the hypothalamus.
Within that mid-brain there are nerve cells that sense glucose sugar. When you
eat, blood sugar goes up because of the food, these cells start firing and now
you are full. What the Hoodia Gordonii seems to contain is a molecule that is
about 10,000 times as active as glucose. It goes to the mid-brain and actually
makes those nerve cells fire as if you were full. But you have not eaten. Nor
do you want to."
-As reported by BBC News Correspondent - Tom Mangold -
So I will never be hungry if I eat a Hoodia Gordonii plant
Not exactly. We all need food to survive, when we feel
hungry because we do not have enough food for the body to function, this is
called real hunger. You can not completely starve your body no matter how much
Hoodia Gordonii you eat. At some point your brain will figure out you do need
food to function.
However, when you feel hungry because your insulin levels
are bouncing all over the place, this is called hormonal hunger. It is this
hormonal hunger which does in most people's diets. When our blood sugar levels
spike and fall, we crave more sweets and carbohydrates.
The idea of Hoodia Gordonii is to use it to stop snacking
because of hormonal hunger. You want to continue to eat meals when you have
real hunger, but you want to eliminate all the snacking due to hormonal hunger.
While Hoodia Gordonii can help eliminate both types of hunger, we feel it is
unhealthy skip meals. The real advantage we see to Hoodia Gordonii is to
eliminate cravings and snacks when you do not need to eat food.
I hear about diet pills all the time - what makes Hoodia
Most diet pills and supplements work by trying to increase
the rate at which our body burns fat. If you think about our body as a machine,
calories provide the fuel. If you run the machine (body) hotter, faster and
harder - you burn more fuel (calories). I think you can see the problem here -
run any machine too hot and hard for long and you can have problems.
What makes Hoodia Gordonii supplements so different is
they really work to prevent weight gain. As much as everyone argues about which
is better low carb or low fat - in the end losing weight is a simple equation.
Take in less calories than you burn and you will lose weight. It is really
simple math, you can not gain weight if you consume less calories than you
burn. Hoodia Gordonii gives you a powerful weapon to fight hunger and therefore
take in less calories. No need to run the body hotter or faster or harder,
simply you consume less calories and therefore lose weight.