Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Who'd heard'a Hoodia?

Not me until I received an e-mail today asking me what I thought of it. A little research indicates this may be the real diet deal.

Leslie Stahl of CBS news described it as "a small spiky pickle." This little cactoid plant which grows wild in the Kalahari desert has been used as food for centuries by the San bushmen. South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research proved what the Bushmen already knew: the plant species Hoodia gordonii squelches the appetite, leading to decreased caloric intake and weight loss with continued use.

Scientists have isolated the active ingredient which they nicknamed P57 (short for P57AS3). Injections of P57 deep into rat brains leads to an increased content of ATP in the hypothalamus. This primitive brain structure that sits straight back from the eyes right between the ears is known to regulate appetite. Researchers theorize that "ATP may be a common currency of energy sensing." In other words, if you've got a hypothalamus brimming with ATP, your brain sends out signals that you're set for energy. No further muffins needed!

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