hoodia

Diet Pill Supplement Scam: Two-Thirds of Hoodia Gordonii Pills Sold In the United States Are Counterfeit

Tuesday, August 30, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: hoodia gordonii, hoodia, diet pills

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As part of an ongoing investigation into Hoodia Gordonii supplements sold around the world, Truth Publishing has now learned that eleven out of seventeen brand-name hoodia supplements have failed a laboratory analysis of authenticity. The laboratory tests, conducted by Alkemist Pharmaceuticals in Costa Mesa, CA, show that approximately two-thirds of the tested supplements contain no identifiable hoodia gordonii according to two plant authentication tests: High-Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Many samples were furthermore subjected to microscopy with digital photo documentation.

For each specimen, an unopened, sealed plastic bottle was delivered to Alkemist Pharmaceuticals. The batch number and expiration date, if printed on the bottle, was photo-documented. Each bottle was opened, and the chromatography and microscopic tests were then conducted on the supplements found inside. All test results were provided to Truth Publishing by Alkemist Pharmaceuticals and are published here with permission.

Truth Publishing, a consumer advocacy group, earns no revenues whatsoever from the sales of any hoodia products. Adsense ads appearing on this site are chosen by Google, not by Truth Publishing. We publish this information in the interests of public safety and health, with the hope that we can help educate consumers to choose authentic hoodia products. Truth Publishing is a 100% independent, neutral reviewer of these products.

Six Hoodia Products Pass the Test

Out of the Hoodia Gordonii products tested, only six passed the tests. These products, according to the lab test results, contain 100% genuine hoodia gordonii:

The other eleven hoodia products failed the authentication tests. For reasons that will be explained below, the brand names of those failing supplements are not being listed here, but Truth Publishing can confirm that those products are popular, brand-name products found on the internet and on health food store shelves everywhere.

Failure of this test does NOT necessarily indicate that the manufacturer is aware of the non-authentic nature of their hoodia gordonii raw materials (raw powder). Truth Publishing is aware of many cases where hoodia brokers are using dishonest tactics to fool U.S. manufacturers into buying bogus hoodia even as they believe they are purchasing the real thing. These tactics include:

  1. Counterfeiting lab results. Truth Publishing has learned that at least one laboratory exists in the United States that will generate an authentic-looking certificate of analysis on practically any sample as long as the "testing" is paid for.
  2. Bait-and-switch tactics. Many brokers will attain a genuine sample of hoodia gordonii, send that sample for testing, acquire a certificate of authenticity, and then fill their bulk orders with something entirely different.
  3. Cutting the real product with fillers. Many dishonest hoodia gordonii brokers or wholesalers will buy genuine hoodia, then cut it with sawdust, leaves or the ground-up parts of various plants (often succulents). The resulting product may only have 10% of the original potency of genuine hoodia, yet it is sold as 100% South African hoodia gordonii powder to bulk buyers in the United States.

As a result -- and this is critically important to understand -- many U.S. supplement companies may be unknowingly selling counterfeit hoodia gordonii supplements while believing they are 100% genuine.

At the same time, other supplement companies may, in fact, not really care what they're selling as long as customers keep buying it in the hopes of losing weight. In fact, there are really two camps of counterfeit hoodia sellers in the United States: 1) those who know they're selling fake hoodia but don't care, and 2) those who don't want to know whether their hoodia is fake or genuine, so they don't ask the tough questions of their suppliers.

Truth Publishing believes the counterfeit hoodia gordonii supplement market is made of both types of companies: there are several high-end companies whose hoodia products tested as unconfirmed even though the companies have a strong track record of quality control and honesty. On the other hand, there are definitely fly-by-night companies (one of which was already exposed in a previous Truth Publishing article on hoodia supplements) that will blatantly sell practically anything to anybody, as long as they don't get caught. It's a code of behavior similar to many pharmaceutical companies, but with weight loss pills instead of medications.

It is important to note that even counterfeit hoodia supplements have never been known to actually kill people (as many prescription drugs most certainly do). Yet that is no excuse for the dishonest practices by those hoodia supplements companies who knowingly sell counterfeit products to consumers.

What's in the hoodia pills if not hoodia?

One obvious question from these results is: if it's not hoodia in these supplements, then what's in there? From a source that wishes to remain anonymous, Truth Publishing has learned that the most common "adulteration" found in non-genuine hoodia supplements is a succulent with a similar physical appearance as hoodia, but without the same chemical composition. In other words, it looks the same, but doesn't have the same active ingredients as genuine hoodia gordonii.

This reveals and interesting point. When hoodia gordonii is harvested in the wild in South Africa, the economic incentive to find more hoodia gordonii results in people digging up practically any succulent that resembles hoodia in physical appearance. Ultimately, they get paid the same whether it's hoodia or not, because as long as there are buyers willing to shell out US$225 / kg for adulterated or counterfeit hoodia powder, there will always be plenty of individuals or organizations in South Africa who are willing to provide it. After all, harvesting wild cactus for $225 / kg is a lucrative business in South Africa (or any country, for that matter).

At the same time, due to the massive harvesting effort of wild hoodia gordonii (the raping of the land, actually, for this lucrative herb), South Africa, Botswana and Namibia have classified hoodia gordonii as an endangered species. Its harvesting and exporting is now controlled and must be authorized by the government.

The real thing: a CITES certificate

In South Africa, this authorization is provided by a CITES certificate. C.I.T.E.S. stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Hoodia gordonii was added to the CITES schedule during a 2004 meeting in Bangkok. The official CITES listing for hoodia now reads:

Botswana , Namibia , and South Africa submitted a proposal to the 14th Conference of the Parties of CITES to list all species of Hoodia on Appendix II. This proposal was accepted in January 2005 and it is now prohibited to trade in any parts and derivatives of any Hoodia species without a permit. A permit can only be obtained from the relevant permitting authorities of each country and can only be issued for trade in cultivated plants or wild plants where the trade can be shown not to have a detrimental effect on wild populations (a CITES non-detriment finding). The listing of Hoodia makes provision for exemption from CITES permits where traders participate in controlled harvesting and production systems in collaboration with the CITES Management Authorities of Botswana/Namibia/South Africa, but no such agreements are yet in place. Importing countries must ensure that a valid CITES export permit has been issued by the country of origin for any trade.

Because all genuine hoodia gordonii exported from South Africa must have a CITES certificate, the display of such a certificate by hoodia resellers is one of the ways consumers can confirm the authenticity of the product. See a CITES certificate on the DesertBurn.com website. Desert Burn also displays the sellers license and growers license, providing the most documentation of all hoodia resellers in the United States.

Not surprisingly, some websites are counterfeiting the CITES certificates with help from Photoshop. By photo-editing the certificate found on DesertBurn.com or other websites, they can create their own genuine-looking CITES certificate, even though their hoodia remains counterfeit. A real CITES certificate will clearly show the name of the importer and exporter for the hoodia. A fake CITES certificate will usually have these whited out.

This is why laboratory testing of the hoodia sample is the only way to be 100% certain of its authenticity. And, again, only six products passed the laboratory testing conducted by Alkemist Pharmaceuticals:

If your hoodia diet pills aren't working...

The high prevalence of counterfeit hoodia supplements sold in western countries may help explain why some hoodia users complain the herb isn't working for them. The reason is simple, it seems: they're not taking genuine hoodia gordonii.

The solution is to switch to a brand of hoodia that has been 100% authenticated as genuine, such as Desert Burn, Hoodoba, King Hoodia or Hoodia Max.

The other reason your old hoodia supplement may not work is because of the digestibility factor: many people have such poor digestion that they never absorb all the active ingredients in genuine hoodia powder. So they may be taking genuine hoodia but still not getting the effect they were expecting. The solution to this? Hoodia gordonii tincture.

Hoodia gordonii tincture

One company currently sells hoodia gordonii tincture (hoodia herb soaked in alcohol to extract the herb's active ingredients): Hoodoba (Hoodoba Hi-Potency Elixir).

For some people, tinctures work better than pills due to the digestibility factor. This benefit is especially prevalent in people over the age of 60 who typically suffer from low production of HCL stomach acid, but it can vary greatly from one individual to the next.

The bottom line on hoodia gordonii supplements

The good news on hoodia is that there are known sources for acquiring the real thing, and there are packaged supplements available right now that contain 100% genuine hoodia. The bad news is that if consumers aren't educated about what's genuine, perhaps two-thirds of them are buying products with no verifiable hoodia gordonii content.

And that's bad for the entire supplements industry, because it creates a negative experience for those customers. They might take their counterfeit pills for a few weeks, then realize their appetite is exactly the same as before. So they blame the hoodia pills and declare that hoodia doesn't work. But the reality, of course, is that they weren't taking hoodia. They've been duped, just like many of the supplement manufacturers who think they're selling genuine hoodia but who are actually shipping adulterated supplements that may contain no hoodia gordonii whatsoever.

Finally, it is important to realize that even when taking genuine hoodia gordonii supplements, no pill will cause you to lose weight, all by itself, unless you combine it with sensible changes in your lifestyle that include moderate exercise and avoidance of certain food ingredients such high glycemic ingredients (sugars, white flour, etc.) and artificial fats (hydrogenated oils and trans fats).

If you are depending on hoodia alone to make you lose weight, without engaging in some form of exercise, then it probably doesn't matter whether you're taking the real thing or not: you won't lose body fat either way. In contrast, if you do take up a sensible exercise program, and you combine it with an effective appetite suppressant such as hoodia gordonii, your results are likely to be accelerated.

Healthy weight loss should never exceed two pounds of body fat per week. Any weight loss beyond that is likely to include loss of lean body mass (muscle) and skeletal mass (bone density). Most nutritionists recommend sustained weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds of body fat per week.

Full hydration (drinking lots of water) during any weight loss effort is very important. Don't fall for the trap of trying to lose weight through dehydration and starvation, aided by an appetite suppressant herb. This can be medically dangerous. Drinking lots of water may make you feel bloated, but remember: water has no calories. Drink all you need. It won't add an ounce of fat, ever.

As always, be sure to work with a qualified health practitioner before attempting any weight loss program, exercise program, or dietary supplement (including hoodia). If you choose to purchase and consume hoodia supplements, do NOT take the word of hoodia websites that display lab analysis documents. Such documents may be counterfeit or crafted as part of a bait-and-switch tactic. Only purchase the supplements that have been verified here as containing 100% genuine hoodia gordonii.

Again, that list of authenticated, genuine hoodia gordonii is:

Remember, Truth Publishing accepts no advertising from these companies and earns no affiliate fees, commissions of kickbacks from these products. We are a consumer advocacy group dedicated to public education about health, nutrition and medicine safety.

For more articles about hoodia gordoni, visit the hoodia gordonii page at NaturalNews.com

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.

In late 2013, Adams launched the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, where he conducts atomic spectroscopy research into food contaminants using high-end ICP-MS instrumentation. With this research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products to low levels by July 1, 2015.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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