Nature’s Hydroxycut

another secret from nature

another secret from nature

Yes you read it right, hydroxycitric acid (HCA, or “hydroxycut” used in many diet formulas that are otherwise dangerous to the body, bad bad bad) has a natural safe original source:

the Hibiscus Flower!

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is effective in weightloss because it helps to stop the conversion of carbs in food to body fat. It fights appetite and encourages weight loss  not by increasing your energy, but by limiting how much we convert the carbs we eat. HCA is not a good idea on low carb dieting (which is a crap idea anyhow) but it does help weight loss when used with a healthy program of general calorie restriction reducing consumption of carbs, protein, and fats equally.

Hibiscus tea affects how we absorb fats and carbohydrates because it contains phaseolamin, a powerful enzyme inhibitor that blocks amylase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down fats and carbohydrates.  This enzyme inhibitor acts in the same way as the drugstore-pill versions, but remains in its natural, unadulterated form and is much safer and more beneficial for the body than laboratory-produced concoctions. (This can be said for almost all things, if it comes in nature, why make it in a lab?) By the way, the same form of amylase inhibitors is present in kidney beans and other hard-to-digest legumes, so eat your beans! 😉

In addition to blocking the absorption of sugars, this traditional tea has cleansing and anti-bloating properties, helping the body rid of excess fluids and therefore further contributing to weight loss, especially in premenstrual and menopausal women. It’s especially good for women as it balances our Yin (female) and Yang (male) energies when our hormones are changing.

Hibiscus tea is caffeine-free and has a high vitamin C content, it has a bright red color and a tart cranberry-like flavor, it’s like natures Kool-aide but way way better for you.  Hibiscus tea is also known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. In folk medicine, they are used to prevent and treat heart and liver diseases. I dare you to get those benefits out of a crappy diet pill or kiddie drink!

You can find dried loose flowers in most nature stores, and some brands even market hibiscus tea bags. It’s inexpensive (no more than $20 per pound here in NY, and a full pound will last eaons) and can also be added to loose green or black tea for an added flavor.


Steep 3-4 dried flowers  in about 16oz of freshly boiled water for 5 minutes. It’s so great in the summer as a refreshing afternoon drink, but to use it medicinally for cholesterol or weight loss management, I suggest you have 3 cups a day, 1 hour after each meal.

Kimberly, counselor since 1998 and founder of, holds a Masters in Health & Healing as a Certified Nutritional Counselor, a Masters in Education and is an internationally trained advanced  Yoga and Yoga Therapy instructor that has worked and studied in New York, Spain and in Southern India. Her practice is based in New York City. She believes in showing her clients how to combine time-tested ancient theories with modern knowledge to get the best benefits from both worlds.

Finally, Growth Hormone Treatment in a Pill?

 For years, false promises have been made about pills that produce therapeutic increases in growth hormone levels in adults. I countered those claims in a number of articles on this site Recent scientific advances may have finally made this myth into reality. A recent study from the University of Virginia of healthy elderly individuals whose growth hormone levels were low has shown that a synthetic drug mimicking a naturally occurring brain hormone, when taken orally, can restore growth hormone levels to young healthy levels.

Growth hormone levels normally decline as we get older. It is my opinion that age related declines in hormones like growth hormone may be a form of natural programmed death of the aging body. Along with decline in growth hormone comes a decline in muscle mass and an increase in body fat.  This combination makes older people weaker more likely to suffer injury and develop diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Ghrelin is a hormone normally made in the intestine and brain.  It has the ability to stimulate the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. The new drug MK-677, a synthetic molecule which mimics ghrelin action, is absorbed into the blood after oral administration and creates a long acting natural stimulus to the pituitary to release growth hormone. Making this drug even more appealing is that it causes growth hormone release in a natural up and down rhythm (pulsatile) rather than a single big daily elevation as occurs with standard injections of growth hormone.

Does MK-677 help?  According to the researchers, muscle mass increased, and body fat remained the same but overall weight increased a small amount.  The bad cholesterol (LDL) level declined when taking the drug. The study was conducted in healthy elderly people so any benefit to quality of life was hard to measure. Additional problems may arise because ghrelin also stimulates appetite and may cause weight gain as shown in the present study.

MK-677 is an investigational medicine and is not available to the public. Only your personal health care professional can recommend whether any medical therapy is appropriate for you.

Gary Pepper, M.D.


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