Does Hoodia Gordonii Boost Fat Loss?

Does Hoodia Gordonii Boost Fat Loss?

There are lots of fat loss supplements on the market- many of them containing natural plant extracts and ingredients- that are reported to boost your fat loss potential. One such supplement, Hoodia gordonii promises just that. But does the science back up the claims?

We bring you the skinny on this fat loss supplement, and tell you exactly what you need to know before using this it as a supplement.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • What is Hoodia gordonii?
  • Does it boost fat loss?
  • Side effects and warnings
  • Final word – Does it work for Fat Loss?
  • What does work for fat loss?

What is Hoodia?

Hoodia gordonii is a succulent plant or small shrub native to Africa and can be found in deep Kalahari sands.

It is leafless and looks very similar to a cactus, although it is from the Apocynaceae family. It is also referred to as ‘bergghaap‘ or ‘Khobab‘ amongst many other native terms- commercially it mostly referred to as just ‘hoodia

When flowers are borne they vary in color and range from pale pink to maroon- one thing they do have in common though is their smell- rotten meat. [1]

Traditionally, this plant has been used as an appetite suppressant [2] and as such has previously been marketed as a ‘slimming cactus’. It is thought that the plant was used during times of famine to relieve hunger symptoms.

Quick Summary: Hoodia Gordonii is an African plant marketed as a fat burner. It is thought to help suppress appetite and help cut weight.

The science – Why is it thought to work?

In the late 1990s a group of researchers from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research isolated a number of compounds from the Hoodia plant- steroidal glycosides [4].

Often referred to as ‘cardiac glycosides’, these plant derived molecules effect heart tissue and can have an effect on blood pressure as well as the heart itself.

If if you’ve got any queries as to how strong these cardiac glycosides are- they are prescribed in the treatment of some types of heart disease and heart failure. If they have the potency to effect heart failure you can imagine the strong effect they have on healthy heart tissue- it is possible to be poisoned if taken in amounts exceeding a healthy dose.

The main bioactive glycoside in Hoodia is P57. This compound is thought to be the main appetite suppressant of the plant [5] and accounts for around 11% of the total steroidal content [6]. Supplements however have been found to have levels of P57 of up to 80%- you’ll see why this might be problematic later.

Quick Summary: Hoodia Gordonii contains the bioactive glucoside P57. This is thought to promote appetite suppression. It also contains Cardiac Glycosides which have been used in the past to help with blood pressure and heart health.

Does it boost fat loss?

There’s not really a lot of research out there- but the studies that have been done are pretty conclusive…… Hoodia Gordonii does not help with weight or fat loss.

#Study 1: Blom et al [3]

This study by Blom et al used 49 healthy but overweight female volunteers. They were instructed to eat whatever they wanted over a 15 day period but one group was asked to take 1100mg of Hoodia twice a day (79.5% steroidal glycosides).

There was no improvement in any of the key factors of the study- including weight loss

There are a few animal studies circulating on the web that may propose some benefits to appetite suppression and weight loss but these were funded by Hoodia manufacturers and contain poor methodology – and of course, animal studies can have a very different outcome to human studies.

Quick Summary: As it stands, there’s only one study out there that we can look at for evidence: Blom’s – and as we can see there was no real improvements from supplementing Hoodia Gordini.

Side effects

As there are limited human studies to draw upon, it is difficult to say with confidence that Hoodia is safe. The limited evidence that is available may point to changes in biomarkers that indicate toxicity, although this still needs to be confirmed.

A study by Blom et al [3] found that 15 days of twice-daily doses of 1100mg of Hoodia caused a number of side effects including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased blood pressure, heart rate
  • Episodes of ‘disturbances to skin sensation’
  • Liver function issues

In total there were 208 cases of side effects in a study sample of 49 healthy volunteers!

To make matters worse for the volunteers. There was no change in energy turnover or weight loss either!


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use P57 Hoodia of which it suggests is ‘a product for weight loss sold on various websites and in some retail stores’.

With the potential for steroidal glycosides to have some severe side effects. According to the FDA [7] this product may also interact in life threatening ways with other medications a consumer may be taking. The report goes on to suggest that consumers should stop using this product immediately

Additionally, Some supplements may contain Sibutramine, a controlled substance that was removed from the U.S. market in October 2010 for safety reasons- it was found to substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or stroke [7].

It is important to be aware that Hoodia is sold in a number of supplements and under different guises- cactus slimming pills, fat burner detox and hunger suppressant sprays may contain Hoodia extracts so it is important to clearly check the ingredients before purchasing anything of this kind.

Quick Summary: Hoodia is a potentially dangerous when combined with certain medications, banned by the FDA. Always consult with a physician when considering Hoodia.

Final word – Does Hoodia Gordonii Boost Fat Loss?

Although it’s marketed as an effective fat burner, the actual evidence for Hoodia Gordonii helping you lose fat is minimal. The only reliable study out there shows the nutrient to have no effect on fat or weight loss. To make matters worse, there may even be a risk of side effects including nausea, liver issues and more.

We strongly suggest that you consider an alternative product to this supplement due to it being an FDA unauthorized product and limited data on its efficacy.

The number of side effects reported in people using this supplement is astonishing and there is little to no evidence to suggest that you will benefit from it in any way whatsoever.

What does work for fat loss?

With so many products on the market it is important to make sure you use only the best and safest ingredients.

Instant Knockout is an industry-leading fat burner that helps you achieve fat loss goals by boosting your metabolism in a safe way.

It’s even been endorsed by multiple MMA fighterswho have seen benefits such as:

  • Increased Calorie Burning – Turn on your fat burning furnaces
  • More Energy – You’ll be able to exercise harder and for longer
  • Appetite Control – You’ll naturally reduce food cravings which will help you maintain a strict diet
  • Day-Long Fat Burning – Regular servings throughout the day, allow your body to constantly burn fat


  1. Barkhuizen, B.P. 1978. Succulents of southern Africa. Purnell, Cape Town
  2. Lee, RA et al. Indigenous use of Hoodia gordonii and appetite suppression. Explore. 2007; 3(4): 404-6
  3. Blom, W et al. Effects of 15-d repeated consumption of Hoodia gordonii purified extract on safety, ad libitum energy intake, and body weight in healthy, overweight women: a randomized controlled trial. 
  4. Dall’Acqua, S et al. Steroidal glycosides from Hoodia gordonii. Steroids. 2007; 72(6-7): 559-568
  5. van Heerden, FR et al. An appetite suppressant from Hoodia species. Phytochemistry 2007; 68(20): 2545–53
  6. Janssen HG, et al. Quantification of appetite suppressing steroid glycosides from Hoodia gordonii in dried plant material, purified extracts and food products using HPLC-UV and HPLC-MS methods . Anal Chim Acta. 2008. 617(1-2): 200-7