Ethnopharmacological relevance: Hoodia gordonii (Masson) Sweet ex Decne (family Apocynaceae) is consumed globally as a natural appetite suppressant. While this effect-and its subsequent effect of weight loss-has been reported in the scientific literature, no information is available on the specific tissue types affected that accounts for the significant weight loss reported after consumption of the plant. Furthermore, most studies are performed on lean animals, so that the response of overweight or obese individuals to this plant supplement remains largely unknown.
Materials and methods: Twelve lean and twelve obese male Wistar rats were supplemented with different doses of Hoodia gordonii extract (80 or 160 mg/kg body mass twice daily) in a placebo-controlled study, for a period of 14 days.
Results: All supplemented rats exhibited significant weight loss (P<0.001). This could be ascribed to decrease in both adipose cell size and skeletal muscle fibre size.
Conclusions: We conclude that the weight loss seen after consumption of Hoodia gordonii is due to loss of both adipose and muscle mass.
Keywords: Adipocyte; Appetite suppression; Cardiac hypertrophy; Gastric emptying; P57; Skeletal muscle atrophy.
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