Q: How in the world do I go about finding a product that really does contain 100% hoodia? I have been researching this for months but do not want to keep wasting my money on these so called "100% Pure Hoodia" pills. Thank you for any and all advice you can give.
Hoodia is a popular herbal weight loss supplement sold in health food stores and online. Unfortunately, there are widespread reports that most hoodia products are counterfeit or have been adulterated.
If you search online for hoodia, you'll find hundreds of companies selling hoodia and cautioning you not to buy the competitor's useless hoodia pills.
Companies run the gamut from legitimate nutritional supplement companies to hucksters. How do you know if you're getting the real thing?
Mike Adams of the website News Target estimates that 80% of hoodia products are counterfeit.
Counterfeit and adulterated hoodia products exist because the supply is scarce. Hoodia is a plant that is difficult to grow and takes four to five years in a very hot environment to mature.
Also, CITES, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (an international agreement between governments to ensure that harvest operations and trade of wild plant and animal specimens doesn't threaten their survival) imposed trade controls on hoodia in October 2004. In order to be legal, hoodia must be grown or collected with a permit. But Adams says that some hoodia companies use counterfeit or stolen CITES certificates.
Another major problem is that it's impossible to know if a hoodia product contains pure hoodia and the purported active ingredient.
One laboratory that analyzes hoodia products is Costa Mesa-based independent laboratory Alkemists Pharmaceuticals.
But according to ConsumerLab.com, an independent lab in White Plains, New York, there are no definitive, established tests for judging the quality of hoodia products at this time. ConsumerLab.com does not test hoodia products for that reason.
Even when companies can produce a certificate, some companies may have submitted a genuine sample of hoodia to the lab to obtain the seal of authenticity and then used adulterated hoodia in the production run.
Nutritional supplement companies might not even be aware that they are using fake or adulterated hoodia because they do not submit their hoodia for independent testing.
Phytopharm, the UK manufacturer that holds the license to hoodia's purported active ingredient p57, claims that hoodia supplements on the market today contain between 0.1 and 0.01% of the claimed amount of the active ingredient, according to a CBS report.
The hoodia pills that have been consistently verified as pure hoodia, according to Adams, include the Desert Burn brand, the Hoodoba brand from Strictly Health Corp., and the Hoodia Hoodia brand from Millennium Health.More:
Phytopharm. 23 Oct 2006. <http://www.phytopharm.com>.
"African Plant May Help Fight Fat." CBS News. 21 Nov 2004 <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/18/60minutes/main656458.shtml>.
Adams, Mike. "Hoodia update: Counterfeit rate reaches 80 percent, but genuine hoodia is still available." News Target. 28 August 2006. <http://www.newstarget.com/020167.html>