Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Are You Buying Genuine Hoodia Gordonii?

It is necessary to do a little research, before you can be sure that the product you are buying is genuine hoodia gordonii. There are many varieties of the hoodia plant, but only genuine hoodia gordonii is believed to be a natural appetite suppressant. The Food and Drug Administration does not approve health supplements as they do prescription drugs, so there is no FDA approved hoodia. Consumers must protect themselves by looking for certain things, before they buy.

Many people have heard about genuine hoodia gordonii. News reporters have traveled to Africa to sample the plant. Phytopharm, a British pharmaceutical company is currently researching the effects of extracts from the genuine hoodia gordonii plant. If Phytopharm ends up releasing a prescription form of hoodia, it will have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration before it can be sold in the United States. But, currently there is no FDA approved hoodia. While the FDA does regulate the manufacturing practices of health supplement companies to a certain extent. The FDA does not approve or disapprove dietary supplements. It is only in rare cases when the FDA will make a statement about a health supplement.

Many health supplement companies are marketing products which claim to contain genuine hoodia gordonii for use by dieters as natural appetite suppressants. While most of these companies are undoubtedly delivering reliable and high quality products, there have been reports which state that some of these products do not contain any genuine hoodia gordonii, at all. So, how can the consumer have any confidence in the products that he or she is buying? If there is no FDA approved hoodia, then what should the consumer look for?

The first thing to look for is a CITES document. Wild growth of genuine hoodia gordonii is protected from exportation by legislation in southern Africa, the only place that genuine hoodia grows. In order to legally export genuine hoodia gordonii, a manufacturer must have a CITES license. Legally exported hoodia is grown on farms. A reputable supplement company should be willing to make their licenses available for inspection by consumers. While this is not an FDA approved hoodia product, it has been approved for export by the South African government.

The second thing to look for is chemical analysis reports. Samples of genuine hoodia gordonii are compared by independent testing facilities with samples of the health supplement in question. By the time genuine hoodia becomes a health supplement, it looks like a fine brown or light green powder, baring no resemblance to the genuine hoodia plant. But labs can still test this powder using microscopic and other techniques to determine if the powder is genuine hoodia gordonii or not. While these tests are not required by the FDA, since there is no FDA approved hoodia products, responsible manufacturers do have these tests performed.

Phytopharm has invested millions of dollars researching genuine hoodia gordonii and it’s potential as an appetite suppressant. They are concerned that p57, the active molecule in genuine hoodia gordonii may not be present in large enough quantities to have an effect on a person’s appetite. Since there is no FDA approved hoodia currently on the market and even Phytopharm’s product may not be a prescription drug (the only hoodia that would be FDA approved) since they are now partnered with Unilever, makers of Slim Fast, food products and over-the counter medications. The chemical analysis reports of the better hoodia products do show the presence of the p57 molecule.

Dieters who have tried the appetite suppressants currently on the market report mixed reviews; as with most health supplements. Even genuine hoodia gordonii only works for some people. No one is claiming that healthy diet and a reasonable exercise program are not important for weight loss. While genuine hoodia gordonii products may help to curb a person’s appetite, it will not magically melt the fat off of a person’s body. Any company that makes such a claim should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC investigates reports of deceptive claims made by health supplement and other companies. The FTC also offers guidelines for identifying weight loss scams. These can be viewed at the official FTC website.

So, while there is no FDA approved hoodia, customers can protect themselves by educating themselves. A reasonable money-back guarantee also inspires confidence and manufacturers of most genuine hoodia gordonii products will issue refunds on unopened bottles if the product fails to produce desired results.