P57, an Introduction to the Patented Molecule Found in Hoodia

P57 was patented by a British pharmaceutical company, Phytopharm. Acting as a steroidal glycoside, P57 acts on the central nervous system, specifically the hypothalamus, to “trick” the brain into suppressing your appetite by releasing a sense of “fullness”. The results have shown this P57 is found in the South African plant Hoodia, and may be the next avenue to weight loss success.

Hoodia commonly grows wild in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa. The indigenous people of this area, the Bushmen, were found to use Hoodia as a basic staple in their native food preparation. The Bushmen, with origins dating back more than 100,000 years, often use hoodia plants as an appetite suppressant to stave off hunger and thirst while on hunting expeditions for several days. A small spiky plant, Hoodia, when eaten, has no bitter taste and does not cause any traditional appetite side effects such as racing heart or central nervous system stimulation.

Upon discovering the Hoodia plan, a British company, Phytopharm, reportedly spent more than $20 million in research and development to isolate the component of the plant which suppresses appetite. Thus, the P57 molecule was labeled and patented. Through their research, Phytopharm has determined P57, within study groups, demonstrated that individuals will tend to consume at least 1,000 less calories per day when ingesting the active form of P57. With research ongoing, Phytopharm teamed up with Pfizer in an effort to continue conducting research with the intent to design a weight loss drug for potential FDA approval. Unfortunately, after many studies, Pfizer made the decision to withdraw from the program citing the inability to create a pill with the active form of P57 virtually impossible. Today, however, many companies have continued to market and label Hoodia weight loss supplements. What is important to note is these supplements may not contain P57 and, if present, may not be in the active form which is required to obtain the weight loss results.

Given the weight loss crisis in the United States and around the world, Phytopharm has continued to research the P57 molecule and plan to release meal-replacement products to the market in 2008. At present, Americans spend more than $40 billion per year on weight loss products which guarantees Phytopharm substantial profits in their production of Hoodia P57 weight loss replacement products.

So, when considering a Hoodia in a weight loss program, be mindful of the patent approval only given to Phytopharm in their isolation of P57. Products marked as Hoodia weight loss products may not contain the true weight loss P57 and, if included, may be in the inactive form. However, active formed P57 meal replacement products may soon be available and may provide the weight loss solution so desperately needed in the United States and beyond.

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