The beginning of a New Year is a great time to begin a diet. Many people are making New Year's resolutions to break old habits or to introduce new and healthy ones. One of the most often made and broken resolution is the one to lose weight.
Although very often some radical changes in one's lifestyle must be made if a person wishes to keep the weight off permanently, starting a diet with a help of a diet pill or a weight loss supplement is probably one of the most popular ways to achieving a weight loss goal.
Weight loss supplements such as hoodia will help to curb appetite and jump start the metabolism. It must be said, however, that pills cannot replace healthy nutrition. They should not be taken indefinitely!
What is hoodia?
The South African Hoodia Gordonii Cactus is known by many names. It is called xshoba or xhooba by the San Bushmen who have used it to treat indigestion, minor skin infections and as an appetite and thirst suppressant during long hunts. The scientific name is Hoodia Gordonii. It is actually a succulent so the names Hoodia cactus and South African desert cactus are actually misnomers, but they are commonly used. The plant resembles a cactus when seen growing wild in the Kalahari Desert.
There are problems associated with growing the South African Hoodia cactus for commercial purposes. First, logically, is temperature. In order to thrive the Hoodia cactus requires desert like temperatures. Second is time. It takes four or five years for the African Hoodia Gordonii cactus to reach full maturity. Quantities of the wild plant are extremely limited and are protected by the governments of South Africa from harvesting. Phytopharm, the first company to research the properties of the African hoodia cactus, has established plantations in South Africa, but will not begin to sell their patented product for at least a couple of years.
It is important to note that there are more than twenty different varieties of hoodia, but only Hoodia Gordonii is believed to contain the natural appetite suppressant. Some companies may be selling products that are purported to contain the African hoodia cactus, but if it is not Hoodia Gordonii, then it may not work. As with all health supplements, it is best to buy hoodia products from a reputable company that sells a complete line of products. In addition, dieters are advised to remember to drink plenty of water since hoodia suppresses thirst, as well as appetite.
By any name, the African hoodia cactus is a beautiful plant. Flowers are pale purple and appear after the plant reaches maturity. Even though dieters would love to have a large immediate supply, it is important to protect the wild African hoodia cactus from over-harvesting, so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.
How does hoodia work in the body?
In 1937, a Dutch anthropologist studying the San Bushmen noted their use of hoodia gordonii to suppress appetite. In 1963, scientists at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa's national laboratory, began studying hoodia. They claimed that lab animals lost weight after they were given hoodia gordonii.
The South African scientists, working with a British company named Phytopharm, isolated what they believed to be an active ingredient in hoodia gordonii, a steroidal glycoside, which they named p57. After obtaining a patent in 1995, they licensed p57 to Phytopharm. Phytopharm has spent more than $20 million on hoodia research
It must be said that despite its popularity, there are no published randomized controlled trials in humans to show hoodia is safe or effective in pill form.
One study published in the September 2004 issue of Brain Research found that injections of p57 into the appetite center of rat brains resulted in altered levels of ATP, an energy molecule that may affect hunger. The animals receiving the p57 injections also ate less than rats that received placebo injections. However, this was an animal study and injections in the brain are different from oral consumption, so it cannot be used to show that oral hoodia can suppress appetite in humans.
The manufacturer Phytopharm cites a clinical trial involving 18 human volunteers that found hoodia consumption reduced food intake by about 1000 calories per day compared to a placebo group. Although intriguing, the study wasn't published or subjected to a peer-review process, so the quality of the study cannot be evaluated.
There have not been any side effects reported from eating Hoodia or from taking the P57 molecule. Remember, for thousands of years that Bushmen have eaten Hoodia Gordonii plants with no ill side effects.
How pure is your hoodia product?
There are widespread reports of counterfeit hoodia products. Mike Adams of News Target, estimates that 80 percent of hoodia products are contaminated or counterfeit. It is impossible to know if a hoodia product contains pure hoodia and the active ingredient, unless it has been tested by an independent laboratory.
To avoid scam purchase products from credible sources only!
*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.