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Dr. Richard Dixey who performed some of the first clinical trials on the hoodia plant, explained how the active ingredient actually works:

There is a part of your brain, the hypothalamus. Within that mid-brain there are nerve cells that sense glucose sugar.

When you eat, blood sugar goes up because of the food, these cells start firing and now you are full.

What the hoodia seems to contain is a molecule that is about 10,000 times as active as glucose

It goes to the mid-brain and actually makes those nerve cells fire as if you were full. But you have not eaten, Nor do you want to.

How is Hoodia To Be Used?
The traditional use of Hoodia gordonii for its appetite suppressant effect involved the eating of whole, fresh plants or perhaps dried plants. Flowers, roots, and spiky skin on the plant were not eaten readily by anyone, including the hardy San bushmen. The natural use of Hoodia involved cutting open the skin, and eating or drinking the flesh and sap of the plant. In fact, several TV correspondents have taken the plant in this traditional form. These newscasters, along with others, comment upon its bitterness, and almost immediate effects on appetite suppression. It is clear that Hoodia gordonii cannot be taken in this fresh form by many consumers. Therefore, the Hoodia plant in South Africa has been processed by drying the plant and producing powder or concentrates that can be used in dietary supplements, or perhaps added to food.

The use of Hoodia in a dietary supplement is closer to the traditional use of Hoodia than the isolation of certain extracts of Hoodia (steroidal glycosides). Although recent scientific experiments seem to support that specific fractions or extracts of Hoodia gordonii are responsible for its major effects on appetite, it is not safe to assume that other ingredients within Hoodia do not contribute to its many effects in humans. The precedent for the safety of taking Hoodia rests with the use of the whole plant, not with the use of extracts such as steroidal glycosides.

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