What is Hoodia?
Hoodia is a cactus-like succulent plant, native to the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa.1 Due to overharvesting and slow growth, Hoodia is considered a threatened species.2
The main active ingredient in Hoodia is a steroidal glycoside called P57.3 This glycoside is thought to be responsible for the appetite-suppressing effects of Hoodia.4
Hoodia has been used for centuries by the San people of the Kalahari Desert to stave off hunger during long journeys.5
In the early 2000s, Hoodia gained popularity as a weight loss supplement after it was featured on the BBC program Horizon.6
Since then, Hoodia has been heavily marketed as a weight loss aid. However, there is very little scientific evidence to support these claims.
How Does Hoodia Work?
The active ingredient in Hoodia, P57, is thought to work by tricking the brain into thinking you are full.7
P57 does this by mimicking the effects of a hormone called glucose.8
Normally, when you eat food, your body breaks down the carbohydrates into glucose. This glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream and signals the brain that you are full.
P57 is thought to work in a similar way by tricking the brain into thinking you have eaten, even when you haven't.
Does Hoodia Work for Weight Loss?
There is very little scientific evidence to support the claims that Hoodia is effective for weight loss.
One study, which was funded by the manufacturers of Hoodia, found that it was effective in reducing calorie intake by 1,000 calories per day.9
However, this study was small and had several flaws.10
Another study found that Hoodia had no effect on calorie intake or weight loss in obese women.11
Overall, the evidence is not convincing that Hoodia is effective for weight loss.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Hoodia is generally considered safe. However, there have been some reports of side effects, such as:12
- Abdominal cramps
If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking Hoodia and consult your doctor.
Hoodia is a cactus-like plant that grows in the Kalahari Desert. The active ingredient in Hoodia is a glycoside called P57, which is thought to have appetite-suppressing effects.
There is very little scientific evidence to support the claims that Hoodia is effective for weight loss. Additionally, there are some reports of side effects, such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
If you are considering taking Hoodia for weight loss, talk to your doctor first. Additionally, there are many other proven weight loss strategies that are much more effective, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
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