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Hoodia gordonii

Hoodia gordonii is a small shrub (falsely said to be a cactus) that is claimed to suppress appetite. It seems the main bioactive (P57) cannot easily reach the brain to do this, and aside from failures of hoodia to suppress the appetite it may also be mildly toxic and imprudent to supplement.

Our evidence-based analysis on hoodia gordonii features 33 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Hoodia gordonii

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Hoodia gordonii is a small plant that is used as a famine food (to suppress appetite and thirst, to make suffering a famine a bit more bearable) and due to that is sought after for possible appetite suppressive effects. The first introduction of Hoodia to the first world (Europe and North America) was based on preliminary studies associated with the company producing Hoodia, and the lone independent study on Hoodia has noted that active dose recommended for a supplement not only failed to reduce appetite but was also associated with some mild and irregular toxic effects that need to be further investigated.

This plant appears to be a source of a large amount (well over 30) steroidal glycosides, and only one is said to be the activ ingredient (P57) yet most of the steroidal glycosides have no research on them. Due to this, the possible toxic effects in humans (confirmed in mice), and both the inefficacy on reducing appetite while having no other apparent marketable effects Hoodia gordonii does not appear to hold any promise for a dietary supplement.

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How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Recommended doses of Hoodia Gorgonii tend to be around one gram of an extract of 70% steroidal glycosides or more, taken twice a day with each dose about an hour before a meal.

There is no evidence to suggest an optimal dose nor to support the above as being active, and the toxic dose in mice (as well as preliminary human evidence) is the exact same as the supplemental dose.

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Hoodia gordonii has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-c Notable - See study
The increase in blood pressure noted with hoodia gordonii in otherwise healthy persons reached 5.9-15.9mmHg systolic and 4.6-11.5mmHg diastolic; a worrying increase
grade-c Minor - See study
The increase in bilirubin seen with hoodia is thought to be a biomarker of possible hepatotoxicity, although it was not met with hemolysis (usually accompanies)
grade-c Minor - See study
Both heart rate and pulse rate are increased with hoodia ingestion, which are thought to be related to toxic effects of the herb
grade-c Minor - See study
ALP was noted to be increased in otherwise healthy women given the standard dose of hoodia, although the other liver enzymes were not affected significantly
grade-c - - See study
No significant reduction in appetite was seen with hoodia relative to placebo
grade-c - - See study
No significant reductions in fat mass are noted, secondary to a lack of influence on appetite
grade-c - - See study
No significant modifications in lean mass during weight loss with hoodia relative to placebo
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on overall body weight (due to no fluctuations in appetite and thus no significant fat loss)

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Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Hoodia, Veldkos, Slimming cactus, Trichocaulon gordonii, Stapelia gordonii

Do Not Confuse With

Garcinia Cambogia (another ineffective appetite suppressant)

Caution Notice

May interact with enzymes of Drug Metabolism

Possible toxic effects (requires further study)

  • Possible CYP3A4 inhibition in vitro at a concentration that is relevant; no human studies have yet been conducted

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Click here to see all 33 references.