About 10 years ago, while the Hollywood writers prepared the script
for a film about a South American search for a medicinal plant-one
capable of curing cancer-a different sort of plant was found in
the desert of South Africa. It was a cactus plant, one that contained
a special substance. That substance was given the name Hoodia Gordonii.
The discovery of Hoodia Gordonii coincided with the removal of
Ephedra from the store shelves. Overweight consumers wanted a new
type of diet pill. Studies conducted by Phytopharm showed that Hoodia
Gordonii could be used to encourage weight loss.
The active ingredient in Hoodia Gordonii is a molecule called P57.
For some reason, the hypothalamus gets a perplexing signal from
the P57 that flows in the blood stream. The hypothalamus "thinks"
that the P57 is glucose. When the hypothalamus "thinks" that it
sees glucose in the bloodstream, then it sends out a signal, a signal
that food is no longer needed by the body.
In the absence of that signal, the individual who has ingested
the P57 has no appetite. That individual has no desire to eat. The
P57 in the Hoodia Gordonii acts like an appetite suppressant.
Scientists are learning more about why a person would choose to
stop eating. The tendency to stop eating is called satiety, and
it demonstrates a feeling of satisfaction. Scientists believe that
every person has a unique point at which he or she becomes full,
or satisfied. They call that point the set-point.
Scientists have learned that physical activity can lower the set
point. It can cause someone to feel "full" after only a limited
amount of eating. Physical activity is, therefore, recommended for
anyone who is on a diet. It is also recommended for the users of