Just imagine if you could pop a pill and not feel hungry for hours, possibly even days? In the process, you lose weight and body fat because of your reduced caloric consumption.
Sounds like the stuff of snakeoil salesmen catering to fantasies and mass public delusions, only this time the promises may have some merit.
In fact, much media coverage from major news sources have already covered the hoodia story, which is probably why you have heard of it.
Journalists and correspondents who have travelled to South Africa to try the stuff firsthand all remark on how well it worked.
So is hoodia too good to be true?
Being rightfully skeptical you maybe wondering: yeah, perhaps it works, but is hoodia safe?
Hoodia safety is a very valid concern because we’ve all heard about that other weight loss wonder, the herb ephedra, which was banned several years ago for being implicated in the deaths of individuals using it (and perhaps abusing it).
A lot of people who were using ephedra and now looking for a safe alternative that works are probably wondering: could there be hoodia death too?
When it comes to hoodia safety, there’s good news and there’s bad news. We think the good news is much better than the bad right now, but it’s worth pointing out the bad too.
Let’s start with the good news, which is that currently it appears hoodia is safe.
What we know about it is that the Sans Bushmen, a tribe that lives in the the Kahalari Desert of South Africa discovered hoodia and have been using it literally for thousands of years to suppress their appetite with no known negative side effects.
We also know that the active ingreident in the hoodia plant responsible for its ability to diminish the appetite — called P57 — was used in a study with morbidly obese participants by the pharmaceutical company Phytopharm and caused weight and fat loss in the participants using it with no discernible bad side effects.
The last thing we know is that hoodia is not a stimulant like ephedra or many other weight loss herbs….which often work by reving up the body’s metabolism, and therefore, may cause such side effects as elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, feelings of nervousness, jitters, and more.
Now, having said all of this, we can’t say yes to the question: is hoodia safe? Although we must admit the news so far does look very good with respect to hoodia safety.
Having covered the good news, let’s talk about the bad news.
First, the study conducted by Phytopharm, even though being a scientific clinical trial, was a small one and did not last too long.
To establish the safety of the active ingredient more conclusively — P57 — will require longer term studies with more participants.
Second, hoodia works by suppressing the appetite and thirst.
This could pose a danger to people who may forget to drink enough fluids or eat enough food if they are feeling full.
Third, hoodia may be dangerous to people with diabetes because it tricks the brain into thinking its full even when it’s not. Therefore, diabetics may suffer a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels from having not eaten enough.
Lastly, there is always the possibility that with so many people in the Western world taking so many over the counter and prescription drugs, hoodia may end up interacting negatively with some of these in the body and we just don’t know it yet.
On this last point, keep in mind that the Sans Bushmen are a primitive tribe and they don’t use things like prescription drugs so for them this sort of negative interaction is not a concern.
To this date, the aforementioned good news and bad news is what we know about hoodia safety.