Consumer Reports did a brief piece on hoodia gordonii in their Feb issue of On Health magazine. I was surprised to learn that the only study done on humans involved 9
participants and lasted 15 days. It wasn't even a published study. The only other known study involved rats, not humans. My personal concern is that we don't know what the long term effects of hoodia may be on our overall health. Sure, the bushmen have been eating it for centuries, but they didn't consume it every day for weight loss, it was just an occasional necessity during long hunts in the desert. Plus, they consume a big chunk of the fresh plant, not pills of ground up parts. I could be wrong on this, but I don't think the bushmen get regular physicals or are tested after they consume specific plants, and I don't think anyone is keeping a record of any health concerns they may have.
But all of that aside, there are still the concerns about what is actually in those hoodia capsules you buy online or at the local corner drugstore. Consumer Lab said that there isn't enough genuine hoodia gordonii growing in all of Africa to produce the amount of "hoodia" being sold today.
1. The term "genuine" hoodia means nothing, since they are not legally required to prove it. Legally, there could be any amount or none at all. It's not regulated.
2. It is the P57 in the hoodia that causes the appetite suppression. There probably isn't any p57 in any of the hoodia capsules being sold. Plus, P57 is patented by Phytopharm and they have not authorized anyone to market it for weight loss, except Unilever and their product isn't on the shelves yet.
3. There are many forms of hoodia which all look similar and other forms of hoodia are being harvested and sold which do not contain the P57.
4. If genuine hoodia gordonii IS being harvested and sold, then it is done so illegally. Hoodia gordonii is protected by law as a rare species.
So what is actually in those hoodia capsules being sold today? No one really knows. They probably contain a mixture of things, many even include stimulants. Many include cellulose fibers which swell up when you take them with water, filling you up and making you think the (nonexistent) hoodia is controlling your appetite.
If this is something that works for you, cellulose fiber tablets are extremely cheap by comparison.
I am very curious about genuine
hoodia gordonii and will probably test it out myself - after a legally available, verifiable, and proven safe version is available here. Anything else is downright scary. I wouldn't take a mystery pill from someone selling them from the corner or back ally, and won't take an equal risk with this.
I need to lose a LOT of weight and can totally understand the appeal of such products. But I'm not the healthiest person and consuming a mystery product involves a risk I'm not willing to take.
If you do decide to take them, please monitor your health carefully and if you notice anything strange, stop taking them and see your physician immediately.
Good luck with your weight loss journey