Hoodia – The Magical Weight Loss Supplement from South Africa?

What is hoodia?

Hoodia_gordoniiHoodia gordonii grows naturally in both South Africa and Namibia. Its flowers have a distasteful smell similar to that of rotten meat. The flower was first discovered by Robert Gordon in 1779.

This plant has been used by the indigenous people of the area for hundreds of years to treat ailments related to small infections and indigestion. What Gordon discovered, though, was the the indigenous hunters used the meat of this flower to suppress their appetite when undertaking long hunting trips into the Kalahari Desert. The main appetite suppressant component of this flower was isolated and patented in 1996.

No scientific studies have been conducted which would give evidence to hoodia’s ability to suppress the appetite. In one study on rats, however, purified hoodia was injected into their brains and this seemed to have a significant impact on their appetite.

So, does hoodia really work or not?

There is no question about it, the general population of North America keeps getting fatter by the day. The statistics are astonishing when you realize that more than 35.7% of the population is now considered to be obese, not just overweight. Not only is that bad for your health, it’s bad for your pocketbook if you have to keep buying larger and larger clothes to cover your bulk. Being overweight puts you at risk for much more than just being made fun of by mean people. It dramatically increases your risk factors for heart disease, Type II diabetes, stroke and respiratory problems. But did you also know that it also dramatically increases your chances of developing certain types of cancer, especially if you’re a woman?

hoodia-weight-lossFor every inch that we gain around our waists, the weight-loss industry flexes its muscles, too. It is estimated that more than $5 billion dollars is spent every year in the United States on weight loss products as a whole. A staggering amount of money. The products purchased range from diet pills to meal replacements to diet pop and artificial sweeteners.

Hoodia  is now being marketed by the makers of Slim-Fast, a popular meal supplement. You will find many people touting its benefits online, claiming that it is some kind of “miracle cactus”. These marketers will promise you that using hoodia will give you rapid weight loss but be forewarned, health practitioners are much more tepid about these claims. This is because, as stated earlier, no scientific studies have definitively proven that hoodia is an effective appetite suppressant. Though some studies have shown that hoodia is able to influence a part in the brain which deals with the feelings of hunger, more research is certainly needed.

Any Side Effects?

Hoodia-gordonii-diet-supplementMost sellers of hoodia claim that it has no side effects but as stated before, there have not been any clinical studies carried out on this product. The sellers of the product make this claim because they know that the bushmen in the Kalahari desert have been using it for literally thousands of years with no ill effect. Nevertheless, the product has not been used in North America for even anecdotal reports that it does not have side effects.

What is known, however, is that people with diabetes should use this supplement with caution. One of the current hypotheses about the way hoodia works is that it sends a signal to the brain telling it that the body has had an adequate supply of blood sugar. If you are a diabetic who is taking blood control medication or insulin, you should probably not use hoodia. It could cause your blood sugar to drop dangerously low.

Another potential concern with hoodia is that it not only suppresses the appetite but also the body’s ability to detect thirst.

How Do You Take Hoodia?

hoodia-side-effectsHoodia should only be taken along with a health diet. Be sure to include lots of fiber in your meal plan. It may take you a while to figure out how much hoodia  you should take each day. Every person’s body is different and so dosages vary. The rate at which you lose weight will also depend on how much exercise you are getting each day. It’s a good idea to start off slowly which means taking only 1 capsule per day. You should also drink one full glass of water containing at least 8 ounces each day about 30 to 60 minutes before you plan to eat no matter how strong the capsule says it is. Clinicians suggest that you should take about 1200 mg per day split into either two or three doses.

How Soon Will I Begin To See Results?

Most people taking hoodia report that after just two weeks of taking it consistently, they were able to begin seeing results. If after two weeks of being on hoodia you have still not begun to see any results, you should consider having your batch tested at a laboratory to determine if it is pure hoodia.