Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Does hoodia work?

Hoodia gordonii (pronounced HOO-dee-ja) is also called hoodia, xhooba,! Khoba, Ghaap, hoodia cactus and cactus desert of South Africa.
Hoodia is a cactus that caused a stir for its ability to suppress appetite and promote weight loss. 60 Minutes, ABC and the BBC, have done stories about hoodia. Hoodia is sold in capsule, liquid, in the form of tea or health food stores and on the Internet. Hoodia gordonii can be found in the semifinals deserts of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. Hoodia grows in thickets of green stalks rights and is actually a succulent, not a cactus. It takes about 5 years before the pale purple flowers appear hoodia cactus and can be harvested. While there are 20 types of hoodia, hoodia gordonii only the variety is believed to contain the natural appetite suppressant.
Although hoodia was "discovered" relatively recently, the San Bushmen from the Kalahari Desert which have been eating for a very long time. The Bushmen, who live off the land, cut the stalk and eat hoodia to avoid hunger and thirst during hunting nomadic travels. It is also used to hoodia severe abdominal cramps, hemorrhoids, tuberculosis, indigestion, hypertension and diabetes.
In 1937, a Dutch anthropologist studying the Bushmen San noted that hoodia used to suppress appetite. But it was not until 1963 when scientists at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa National Laboratory, began studying hoodia. Initial results are promising -- laboratory animals lost weight after taking hoodia.
The South African scientists, in collaboration with a British company called Phytopharm, the active ingredient isolated from the hoodia, a steroidal glycoside, which is designated p57. After obtaining a patent in 1995, licensed p57 to Phytopharm. Phytopharm has spent more than $ 20 million in research hoodia.
Eventually pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (makers of Viagra) caught wind of the hoodia and became interested in developing a drug hoodia. In 1998, Phytopharm subcontractors licensed the rights to develop p57 to Pfizer for $ 21 million. Pfizer recently returned to the hoodia rights to Phytopharm, which is now working with Unilever.
What you need to know about hoodia
Hoodia appears to suppress appetite
Much of the sense of hoodia started after 60 minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl and crew traveled to Africa to try hoodia. It hired a local Bushman to go with them into the desert and find some hoodia. Stahl ate, and described him as "cucumbery in texture, but not bad." She lost the desire to eat or drink all day. She also did not experience any immediate side effects, such as indigestion or heart palpitations. Stahl concluded, "I must say that did the work."
In animal studies, it is believed hoodia to reduce calorie intake by 30 to 50 percent. A human study showed a reduction in the intake of about 1000 calories per day. However, I have not been able to find any study to read to me and I go in secondhand reports.

6:11 AM 21 comments