Is hoodia an effective appetite suppressant?

Answers from Brent A. Bauer, M.D.

Although hoodia is marketed as an appetite suppressant that aids in weight loss, there's no solid evidence that hoodia is effective.

Hoodia — whose scientific name is Hoodia gordonii — is a succulent plant native to Africa. Interest in its use for appetite control and weight loss was piqued because of reports that native Africans use hoodia to reduce hunger during long hunts. However, there's no solid evidence from scientifically sound clinical trials that hoodia aids weight loss.

Still, some dietary supplement manufacturers market products containing hoodia as a way to suppress appetite and aid in weight loss. However, the Food and Drug Administration has warned manufacturers to stop making unsubstantiated and misleading claims about hoodia and weight loss. Evidence about the safety of hoodia also is lacking.

Oct. 15, 2011