The African plant hoodia (a succulent typically found in the desert) can be used for weight loss. Locals have used hoodia by chewing it, to boost metabolism and help with infections. By itself, hoodia can’t help with weight loss but there is a component of hoodia called P57 which can indeed at high levels help a person lose weight.

The mechanism that the compound P57 from hoodia uses to help with weight loss is that it actually blocks the hunger signal – even if you would normally be hungry between meals or because you didn’t eat enough, that impulse from your stomach to your brain wouldn’t fire correctly, so your brain wouldn’t know you were hungry – or at least that’s the claim.

Unfortunately, the tests on the safety and efficacy of hoodia are not numerous or large. The best-known test was only 50 women and only 14 days, so more testing would be nice. Additionally, there were some side effects noted in the study with which anyone considering taking hoodia P57 should be familiar. Side effects include vomiting, faster pulse and higher blood pressure. Even worse, there was no difference in the weight loss between the control group and hoodia group, leading to the conclusion that hoodia is not effective at promoting weight loss and can in fact be dangerous.

Key Points:

  • 1Hoodia, a succulent found in Africa, has been used for generations to aid with metabolism.
  • 2One of the nutrients in hoodia is called P57 and it helps tell the brain that we’re full.
  • 3While it can help with weight loss, it isn’t without side effects like vomiting or elevated pulse.


Simply put, even if you have an empty stomach, your brain still does not get the message that you are hungry.

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