Peptide Primer: AOD-9064. Blasting Off with With Weight Loss

References: CBS NewsTransformYouSelf4-minute workout,

Want to know the most effective peptide for weight loss? Sure. Don’t we all! AOD-9064 (AOD: Advanced Obesity Drug) is the last 15 amino acids of growth hormone chopped off with a single amino acid added for stability. That’s it. It’s not a natural peptide in and of itself but it is derived from growth hormone. Growth hormone is 191 amino acids long and much more complicated to make. (It also is therefore technically not a “peptide” as the definition of a peptide is under 50 amino acids long.) Growth hormone does have some weight loss effects on its own, along with many other effects. The weight loss component appears to be that tail end.

What are the beneficial effects of AOD-9064? First of all, it has no growth hormone effect, and no effect on blood sugar. That part is good. Fat cells need to be “instructed” to become more responsive to energy demands and give up their fat. Nudging them to do that requires a whole host of activities. You want blood vessels to grow into the fat. You want the fat cell to turn into brown fat that actually get more mitochondria and generate heat. (Babies are born with 50% brown fat to help protect them in those first few hours when their tiny bodies are adjusting to a cold outside world.) But mostly you want tired old cells to start telling their mitochondria to wake and multiply. That’s not an easy task as many older cells are easily nudged into senescence and spiral on down to cell death. For a mitochondria to multiply, it has to get half of its genes from the cell nucleus, but also half from its own DNA. It does that best when there is some “demand” or “stress” put on it. Just like with exercise, you have “no gain without pain”. In exercise, you push your muscles to the point of failure. That last curl, pushup, step is the most important one as at the point of failure is where you gain strength. It’s at that point of failure that the cell internally flips on the switches for mitochondria to wake up and send off their signals to the nucleus and turn on growth. They get the idea that there is no sugar around, so let’s look around for ketones which come from fat. And that turns on getting fat out of your fat cell. That whole symphony kicks off together in one smooth transition.

How can you enhance all that? Actually this is where your “symphony” kicks in. Fasting with fast mimicking diet preps you magnificently. The fasting part is stressing your mitochondria to wake up. Your stem cells multiply, as do your mitochondria. What else rings that wake up alarm? Exercise! And you can do it in 4 minutes with high intensity exercise, or just plain 40 minutes of walking will do it too. Hormone replacement! If you are over 50, men and women need hormones. Just do it, balanced, with human hormones. 
Then, start with a GHRP peptide and layer in AOD-9064. 250 mcg twice a day and watch the weight peel off. You don’t feel hungry. Your fat cells open up. And you convert that mushy, lazy white fat to brown fat that burns energy around the clock.

Any one of those by themselves will help lose a little, but so slowly you get discouraged. To succeed, you want to get the whole engine that is your body working at its optimal stage. And then your brain works better too. And that’s the real bonus.

WWW: What will work for me. I’m new at this but the professors I’ve listened to and watched are pretty enthusiastic about AOD-9064. I have one alpha adaptor who has gotten the AOD-9064 but hasn’t reported back yet. I want to understand the key ideas of the physiology first. I’m trying the GHRP right now on myself. I’m doing the Fast Mimicking and pretty close to the exercise target. The 4 minute workout looks pretty awful but I want to give it a whirl. See if I can do that.

Pop Quiz

  1. AOD-9064 is a natural peptide? T or F. Answer: Some nuance here. It is naturally a piece off the end of growth hormone but is not naturally in the human body by itself. It’s easier to manufacture when it only has to be 15 peptides long.
  2. To lose weight, you have to do what? Answer: Far more complex that just eat less and exercise more. We now know that we have to understand the pathways of fat burning and how they get turned on and stay on. As we age, we have to turn on the systems that stopped working years ago. Peptides help do that.
  3. You can buy AOD-9064 off the internet? Answer: True. However, you get what you pay for. One report from Switzerland (where the Olympic folks want to study and know just what athletes are up to when they push boundaries of legal drugs.) showed that about 80% of internet peptides were below sensible thresholds of purity, or even close to advertised content.
  4. How do you take it? Answer: Problem here. You have to take it by an insulin needle type shot. Twice a day. Peptides get digested pretty easily in the stomach.
  5. What is the good source for peptides? Answer: There are compounding pharmacies that will make 99% pure FDA threshold drugs. And it is legal to get them. All that costs more. The AOD-9064 on the market actually exists also. It takes a shot and costs $ 1000 a month.

Peptide Primer 4: Epitalon (Epithalamin) and Telomeres

References: Self-HackedWikipediaNeuro Endocrin LettersBull Exp Med Biol.,

Ready for real shocker! Want to lengthen your telomeres? Do you know what telomeres are? Here we go. (Do you trust Russian research?) 
Epithalamin is a peptide found in the pineal gland of calves. It was discovered at the St. Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology by Vladimir Khavinson. It breaks down ever so easily so was altered to the new peptide called Epitalon which is only 4 amino acids long: Ala-Glu-Asp-Gly. This gets digested ever so easily in your stomach so has to be given IV or IM. But note, this is not a natural peptide but a slight modification of the original. That is not to take away from its effects, but this one isn’t natural. It’s just very simple.

What are telomeres? They are the tail ends of your chromosomes that are gradually used up as stem cells duplicate. The protein that duplicates DNA has a certain number of base pairs left inside it when it finishes copying DNA that then gets chopped off the end when it is done. The net effect is that cells can only duplicate so many times. That is called the Hayflick limit. It predicts that humans can only live to be about 120. Extending the Hayflick limit is the Holy Grail of anti-aging. Things like exercise, fasting, good sleep, stress control, less sugar all help extend the Hayflick limit. But not as much as we would like. 
This is where Epitalon comes in. This was Khavinson’s first work. He showed that Epitalon extended human fibroblast telomere proliferation from expected termination at the 34th generation up to the 44th generation, making the treated cells have telomeres as long as original cells. Khavinson compared epitalon to epithalamin and found them to be equivalent in effect. And he conducted a prospective human cohort study in humans with 266 folks given epithalamin. Over the next 6 years, there was a 1.6-1.8 reduction in mortality with just one treatment. If combined with another peptide, thymulin, and treated annually, over the subsequent 6 years he reported a 4.1 fold reduction in mortality. 
In another study of 79 coronary artery disease patients given 3 years of biannual epitalon treatment they had a 50% reduction in cardiovascular mortality and 28% reduction in overall mortality. These numbers are huge but are based on a tiny cohort. Just one or two deaths would make gigantic changes in the numbers.

Is there a feasible mechanism that explains these potentially huge results? Yes, possibly. It appears that epitalon has the effect of increasing the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a potentially awesome cancer fighter. It also helps you sleep and get better rest. We make much less of it as we age. In one study involving 14 elderly humans, Epitalon improved melatonin back to youthful levels. There is likely also a corroborative effect on the production of T cells, which are cancer fighters. There are now multiple rat studies showing dramatic reductions in cancer spread and size with epitalon. Human studies? Not so much. 
Whoa, Nellie! These are over the top, too good to be true studies. And all from Russia. Do we trust the Russians? Is medicine a different forum than election politics? Does the FDA approve? What would you do?

WWW: What will work for me? I have tried every peptide on myself before writing about them. At least so far. I have heard from one of my faculty that he gives epitalon twice a year to all his serious anti-aging clients. (For the last year.). As in, just one year – so no long term experience. What’s a serious, ethical, honest scientist to do? I think every one of us has the right to make our own choices. Doctors have the obligation to first do no harm. To be sure of that, we should be following research-based evidence. Let’s see what research emerges. I’m staying tuned.

Pop Quiz

  1. Epitalon is a natural peptide. T or F. Answer: False. It is a modification of epithalamin which is a natural pineal peptide from calves. It has been reported to be equivalent to epthalamin.
  2. What is epitalon purported to do? Answer: Increase the length of telomeres and increase the production of melatonin. Those two may be linked.
  3. What has been shown to be the effect of epitalon in Russian elderly folks when combined with thymulin and given twice a year? Answer: An 80% reduction in mortality.
  4. How much longer do mice and rats live, given epitalon? Answer: Not fair. Not in the note above but if you read all the references: roughly 30% longer lifespans.
  5. Epitalon is FDA approved? Answer: No.

Peptide Primer: Thymosin Beta 4 Your Healing Booster

References: NIH Grant Home,J. Investigative DermatologyScience DirectWikipedia,

If you haven’t heard of Thymosin Beta 4, don’t sweat it. No one else has either. So here goes. It was the second peptide isolated from Thymus extracts so got called Thymosin beta 4. Then it was found everywhere else, particularly in platelets. Considering that platelets are the very first things to plug up a wound, having a lot in platelets lends credence to the idea that TB4 plays a big role in healing. It does. It appears to play a key function in helping the molecules that make your internal cellular scaffolding called actin molecules to line up and bond together in chains. That’s one of the key steps of a cell repairing its inner architecture, or multiplying, or differentiating. TB4 isn’t just tissue repair though, as it demonstrates activity in a variety of venues that haven’t been fully sorted out. Yet. So, we’ve got stuff to learn. But bottom line, it’s not from the thymus gland. It’s everywhere. It can promote migration of cells, formation of blood vessels, maturation of stem cells, survival of various cell types and lowering of the production of inflammatory cytokines. Wow. It does everything attached to repairing injury and helping new growth! So what if we kill the gene off that codes for it in lab rats. What happens? Nothing we can tell. They look normal. Go figure. More mysteries to unpack. 
It is a bit larger than many active peptides at 43 amino acids long. And it may not be a final step. If you chop off the end 4 amino acids, you get a potent peptide that inhibits blood cell formation. The intertwining of peptide functions in multiple layers makes for their complexity and potential potency. 
How can TB4 be used? Well, there is a lot of excitement around its utility in dry eyes. One of the most frequent autoimmune conditions in women, dry eyes are a terrible scourge. Can you imagine a drop that had no side effects? How about regeneration after a heartattack? Want new blood vessels growing in bringing in new muscle stem cells? It shows promise in healing the plaques of multiple sclerosis. In Europea company has been granted a patent to use TB4 in MS for just that purpose. 
How about just plain old wounds? Cuts? Surgery? Burns?In a rat study using 8 mm full-thickness punch wounds of the skin, Tβ4 at 5 μg/50 μL 
was found to accelerate wound closure, increase angiogenesis, and accelerate collagen deposition. One surgeon now claims that he uses it with every surgery, on everyone.

What’s a curious person to do? Hmmm. Learn first. TB4 may soon find itself in cream for you to put on topical wounds. It may emerge as part and parcel of surgery. It may play a role in heart attack recovery. If I had dry eyes, I’d be all over it. It’s a natural compound that was part of your ecosystem when you were young. But do we have impressive, randomized trials to prove it? How much do you need to do when there are no side effects? Do we need to study it, or simply replace it. You had it when you were young.

WWW: What will work for me. I’m going to give myself the stuff and see if I feel anything different. It’s cheap. And has no side effects, well yet. I’m three days in and haven’t felt anything worse.

Pop Quiz: 

  1. Thymosin Beta 4 is found primarily in the thymus gland extracts. T or F. Answer: False. It is there and was discovered there, but it is all over your body, particularly in platelets.
  2. Its key role appears to be in helping rebuild broken down cells, or regenerating cells by doing what? Answer: Glueing together the building blocks of a cell’s internal scaffolding called actin. You gotta put together the ladders, the footings, and scaffolding before you can rebuild a wounded cell, or grow a new cell. That’s what a general contractor does. That’s what thymosin beta 4 does.
  3. Can you name one clinical condition thymosin beta four has been successfully used in? Answer: dry eyes
  4. If it is good for wound healing, where else might it be useful? Answer: a voluntary wound called surgery might be just the ticket. Want to get better, faster?
  5. We have to be careful with TB4 as we don’t have randomized, placebo-controlled science to prove that it works. T or F. Answer: T. But there is always a huge debate about how much you have to explore on compounds that were always there, part of your natural landscape that fades with age, and have no discernible side-effects. There’s the rub. Do we need to have it around for years to prove lack of long term side effects?

Peptide Primer: III Thymosin a 1

References: Proc Nat Acad of SciWikipediaClin Expr ImmunolNatureCritical CareScience Daily,

Ready for this? Here goes a deep dive into the next peptide in our series: Thymosin a1. It was discoveredway back in 1972. It is a 28 amino acid peptide that is a chunk derived off a larger 113 amino acid pro-peptide. It appears to act primarily by enhancing your T-cells to do their thing fighting viruses and cancers. And if you talk T cells, then you have to look at auto-immune diseases where an imbalance of T cell function plays a big role. 
Now, your thymus gland really goes to town when you are a tiny tot. A one-year-old has a thymus gland about half the size of their heart that is easily visible on chest x-ray. But this aging thing isn’t so good for your thymus gland, or its function. As we age, we lose significant thymus function. Our thymus gland involutes and is basically gone by age 20. You can find it on surgery, but it’s down to a tiny vestige of its former self. Your T cells and dendritic cells are still there, but their function appears to be coasting and slowly degrading. Thymosin a1 helps dendritic cells to present antigens to T cells, and the T cells do the “killing”. 
What are some examples of its clinical applications? Well, it if enhances T cell function, it should be able to increase the ability to fight chronic viral diseases. One of the world’s scourges is Chronic Hepatitis B. Sure enough, Thymosin a1 adds sufficiently to treatmentthat it has been approved in 35 countries to aid in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C. Tuberculosis is another human vulnerability that has been around since Lucy, with clear problems with our T cell defense. Again, it aids in the treatment of drug-resistant TB.

What this all boils down to is the nature of your immune response to invasion. Autoimmune disease is an abnormal feed forward situation where you attack yourself in response to perceived threat, but still, the abnormal release of internal fire alarms called cytokines. The out-of-control spiral effect of too many cytokines is what happens in septic shock, or severe influenza. In fact, the common cold is mostly the result of your immune response to a virus. You are infectious the first day or two of a cold, but your misery for the next 5-6 days is simply your immune system still driving your crazy with symptoms. The virus is gone. 

How does this affect you on a daily basis? Well, if you have an auto-immune disease, you may want to downregulate it a touch. If you have chronic Hep B or C, it may help. But less dramatic and more mundane, how about if you get a bad cold? Want to be sick for a week, or would you rather be sick for a day or two? 

Does it have any side effects? Thymosin a1 had been around since 1972, and not found to have any side effects yet. It shouldn’t. It comes naturally as part of you. You had lots of it when you were 20. Not so much at 55, less at 70.

WWW: What will work for me? I write this column this week with absolute fascination. I got a horrible cold this last week. We had planned a weekend away in Door County and with a shaking chill, I could hardly get home at the end of my last day. I thought it was just oak pollen at first, but then I was so achy, I realized I was coming down with a virus. We cancelled the vacation, the dog care, the hotel. So, I rustled up some Thymosin a1 and started myself on it. By 12 hours later my nose was drying up and I slept pretty well. By 36 hours my energy was back. By 48 hours, I was fine. That’s better than normal. Am I being seduced by my own enthusiasm? Two of my lectures mentioned that they used T-1 for colds. I’ve now done it once. You may want to have it one hand yourself.

Pop Quiz

  1. What is Thymosin-a1? Answer: one of your natural immune modulating peptides that signals your immune system to buck up and do its thing in a balanced fashion.
  2. What happens to it as we age? Answer: We really weren’t designed to live to be 90. It fades with age. In some circumstances, it fades faster. (auto-immune, chronic Hep B, tuberculosis) In some circumstances, it can’t overwhelm the “cytokine storm” of particular infections: severe influenza, sepsis. Ergo: give some back and supplement what you aren’t making on your own.
  3. It has been approved in 35 countries to treat what? Answer: Chronic Hep B and C
  4. Why is this topic suddenly coming up? Answer: The advent of peptide manufacturing inexpensively is a new thing. What used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a few precious micrograms is now produced in an hour by the gram. It’s on the market. Google it. I can show you how to use it.
  5. Does it have any side effects? Answer: Nope. Not in 35 years. It couldn’t. Like asking if thyroid hormone could have any side effects, or estrogen, or testosterone. Oh, get I slight ache where I gave myself the Sub-Q shot. Sorry. One side effect.

Peptide Primer II: BPC-157. Body Protective Compound

References: J Orthopedic ResearchExamineInflammopharmacologyJ Physiol Paris,Life SciMIT NewsCurr Med Chem,

Body Protective Compound is a modestly large protein discovered in mammalian gastric juice. It has a molecular weight of 40,000 and is a huge molecule. After chopping off pieces of it into smaller fragments, a 15 amino acid sequence was isolated that has the beneficial effects that folks desire to use for clinical benefits. There you have it! The ability to manufacture peptides has exploded recently, and naturally, the smaller the better. It’s relatively easy now to plug the formula in for a 15 amino acid sequence and then manufacture pure, compounded peptide results.

What does BPC-157 do? It heals tendons. Tendons and connective tissue are sort of silent little partners that hold us together. As we get older, we heal more slowly. When we exercise and are out of shape, we injure ourselves. When we try to build houses at age 60 and have never done it before, we strain our shoulders, hurt our backs. When we start Cross-Fit after spending a day sitting at a desk, we injure the tendons in our necks and elbows….and where-ever. 
How about when we have surgery? The surgeon cuts through connective tissue and stitches together torn rotator cuffs, twisted knee menisci, strained carpal name it. 

What about GI effects? BPC-157 is stable in gastric juice for a full day. That’s where the big protein was found. It leads to healing esophagitis and all sorts of inflammatory bowel conditions….in animal models. Hmmm….do we have any human studies yet? Precious few. 
Want to get better faster? Then you want a compound that is the natural messenger your body used to have that instructs it to heal itself. You want the peptide your cells are used to seeing that instruct them to do their job and get back in shape. What is BPC-157 doing? Just that. It accelerates the spreading out of tendon fibroblasts by 230% with its effect starting in minutes. It increases survival of new fibroblasts under oxidative stress – that’s code for saying it makes the repair tissue live longer, spread faster, and put stuff together again more effectively. If you want a really deep dive into its physiology read Chang’s nice review from 
What’s the big picture? To reiterate; as we age we lose the ability to generate hormones, peptides, messengers, exosomes, whatever you want to call it. We don’t make them anymore as we get older. Living longer, better, requires us to be savvy and learn the means by which we can counter the inevitable decline in our ability to heal and repair ourselves from injury. That we live to age 60 is a miracle enough as it is, without the risks we take on of riding bicycles, climbing ladders, lifting weights, painting houses. When we get injured, we need casts and surgery, physical therapists and hospitals, ERs and ambulances…….and the messengers with which we heal ourselves.

Want to get better after surgery, faster? Want to fix that nagging shoulder pain after rotater cuff surgery? Want your tennis elbow to fix? Want to get off GERD medications. Want to cool off your inflammatory bowel disease?

WWW: What will work for me. I’m all in. There has been no known documented toxic side effect of BPC-157. It is made up of amino acids, after all. That’s what we are made up. Hard to be allergic. And when compounded by a compounding pharmacy, that’s the means by which we can legally get a peptide for which we may have profound benefit. I’m taking it right now for my aching neck that awakens me many nights. One week in, I can feel an effect. My foot still aches from falling off the ladder. I don’t know if that will fix, but it’s what is in my sights as an experiment on myself. Side effects? None with me.

Pop Quiz

  1. BPC-157 is what? Answer: A 15 amino acid peptide that is a fragment of a much, much larger protein called Body Protective Compound isolated from gastric juice.
  2. The fragment, BPC-157 does what to inflammed stomachs? Answer: Chill baby, chill. It appears to calm down animal models of GI inflammation dramatically.
  3. How does BPC-157 work? Answer: It turns on the activity of fibroblasts, the healing and growing cells of tendons and connective tissue, and angiogenesis, new blood vessels.
  4. Does BPC-157 have any side effects? Answer: Nope. Not found yet.
  5. Is it legal to get it? Answer: That’s what a compounding pharmacy does. They make “medications”, in this case peptides, to order from component parts. It’s the ability to manufacture proteins with peptide connecting machines that allows this revolution to get into gear.
  6. What’s the standard model of medical advancement? Answer: The randomized placebo controlled trial. Paid for with $ 100,000,000 dollars of pharma money. Not going to happen for a compound that Big Pharma can’t patent.

Peptide Primer: RNA Complexity and Your Operating Manual

References: Science News,NatureNature CommunicationsScience DirectWikipediaScience Direct,

Want to get absolutely lost in the world of biological complexity? Then a deep dive into peptides will suit you fine. If you think your body is a relatively simple machine that needs simple nutrients and support, you may need to reconsider. But let’s give it a try at 30,000 feet to give you an overview of how complex your body is. 
First, what is a peptide? It is a short chain of amino acids. A protein is made by hooking up amino acids into long chains. A peptide is generally considered under 50 amino acids long. There are 20 amino acids used in humans. So, a peptide can be as short as two amino acids hooked together. Glutathione, our own natural internal antioxidant, is three amino acids long: a three amino acid peptide. Insulinis well known. It is a bit over the boundary of 50. It is 51 amino acids long. 

We have the DNA coding for about 22,000 proteins. That’s what makes you, you. But that only takes up between 5-10% of your DNA. What is the other 90%? Till recently it was a mystery. That mystery is being revealed. You have the coding for 300,000 peptides. And very likely, many more RNA molecules. RNA is the intermediate step from DNA to a protein. Your cell DNA can copy itself into an RNA molecule that has the coding to make proteins or peptides. Those RNA molecules then are translated, just like computer code, into the manufacture of proteins, or peptides. That’s what the other 90% of your genetic code is all about. 
The explosion of complexity around the making and regulation of small and large proteins, peptide and proteins, through RNA is mind-boggling. Not only is RNA in each cell, your body packages up RNA molecules and ships them all over in your blood in exosomes. Exosomes are so tiny we don’t have machines that can measure them yet, but each cubic centimeter of blood likely has millions of them in it, each containing up to 20,000 various sized molecules. These little packages of information are being shipped from one cell to another where they pass on the genetic coding or turn on the manufacture of new peptides in other cells. In those other cells, the peptides turn on all sorts of biological behavior.

What is that in summary? Your micro-RNA and your peptides are your operating instructions, your owner’s manual. Some RNA molecules turn into proteins, or peptides. Some RNA molecules block DNA expression. Some RNA molecules act like hormones themselves, turning on various processes. All the actions that make your body work, or get disease, can be traced to the actions of your DNA, expressed through your RNA, expressed through your peptides. 

What’s the implications of all this? Nature isn’t much interested in you what you have passed on your DNA. Time for the next generation to express itself. You may be interested in you, however. As you age, your hormones decline. And…just as importantly, your peptides decline. 
If you want to age well, if you want to avoid disease, if you want to fight cancer and dementia….you may need to have the operating instructions still operating. That takes understanding and managing your instruction manual properly. That takes being open to using new forms of therapy. Micro RNA and peptides are the means by which your body talks internally to itself when you are young. They are in decline as you age. It may be time to consider how to replace them.

WWW: What will work for me. The world of peptide therapy is a wide open, wild swirl of science and exploration. It’s clear that these tiny little proteins are potent hormones and turn on all sorts of cellular processes. You had them once. If you are over 40 and feeling your age, you might well be running out of them and no longer in possession of all your faculties. I have an ache here and there. I broke a foot two years ago and still ache when I stand up. Can I get that better? Goodness, yes.

Pop Quiz

  1. What is a peptide? Answer: A short chain of amino acids, shorter than 50 amino acids long
  2. How many are there? Answer: Probably greater than 300,000, more than the 22,000 proteins that make up your unique genetic code
  3. What are they made from? Answer: Small messenger RNA molecules that are the template to translate them into the 20 amino acids human use.
  4. Where does the messenger RNA come from? Answer: The 90% of your DNA that doesn’t code for your standard proteins.  RNA is copied off your DNA then transported to places where it has its impact.  
  5. What do peptides do? Answer: Along with the RNA, they compromise the complex web of operating instructions that tell your body what to do, when. And as you age, they decline.

Hibiscus Tea, The Best Drink for High Blood Pressure

References: J HypertensionFitoterapia

Everything you do that helps high blood pressure adds to other actions. Losing weight, cutting salt, eating more vegetables, snarfing down ground flax seed, reducing alcohol all add up. In fact, they don’t just add up, they are synergistic and are multiplicative. Now that you have done such a good job, time to reward yourself with a nice cuppa. Whoa, not black tea, hibiscus tea. This shouldn’t have been last in the series, it should have been first. Why, well because it is so easy and has such a profound effect.

This is not just hype. This really works. And a lot! In fact, so much so that anyone with any sort of high blood pressure should consider this foundational to their care.

Here is the data. Combine 5 studies that used randomization and controls, with 390 participants, and you get today’s results. The average lowering was in the range of 7.5 mm Hg. systolic and 3.5 mm diastolic. The higher your initial blood pressure, the greater the effect. Of course, with only 390 participants scattered over 5 studies, the authors note that “larger studies are needed”. Can you imagine that? Not a chance that will ever happen as there isn’t much of a market for expensive hibiscus pills. It’s too cheap. Which means you must do it. You can afford it and it’s ever so good for you. 
Why on earth does Hibiscus sabdariffa have such a powerful effect? The flower is particularly rich in organic acids, polyphenols, and anthocyanins that are salutary for the human vascular system. High blood pressure is essentially the lining of your blood vessel tree being fed up with all the assaults you place on it. HIbiscus’s good stuff evidently calms all that firestorm down. Fat tissue is exuding inflammatory cytokines. The transfats, sugars, alcohol, and caffeine we slurp down are all setting off all our fire alarms that startle our vascular system into alarm mode.

It’s no wonder we have high blood pressure. If you don’t, living in America today, you are an outlier. By 70, 70% of us have it. And for this, we take a pill, or two or three. If you travel to parts of the world where folks naturally don’t have all our American dietary insults, you find that people’s blood pressure actually declines with advanced age. The two go hand in hand. 
So, if you want to live to be 100, you have to address your blood pressure. If it’s already pretty good, great. Make it a little better. Reward yourself with a nice afternoon cuppa. Hibiscus. Not camellia sinensis (black tea).

WWW: What will work for me. I went on Amazon and bought myself a pound of hibiscus tea and two tea strainers. It’s cheap. I don’t want as much caffeine, particularly after lunch. So, the afternoon cuppa……hibiscus.

Pop Quiz

  1. Hibiscus tea will lower your blood pressure by how much? Answer: 7 mm Hg / 3 mm Hg.
  2. How does that compare to a pill? Answer: Equal to virtually every pharmaceutical. And not as fun
  3. As we age, our blood pressure naturally goes up? Answer. True, in America if you consider drinking alcohol, gorging on salt, getting overweight, shunning vegetables to be natural behavior. In parts of the world where those behaviors are less prevalent, blood pressure falls with age.
  4. What ingredient in Hibiscus does it? Answer. We don’t know and likely won’t’ find out anytime soon. No big dollars to support something that is cheap.
  5. Can you name 5 strategies that help high blood pressure you are willing to add to your own lifestyle?                        Answer:     Your call?

Treat High Blood Pressure Naturally: Lose the Weight

References: Thirty Days to Natural BP Control by DeRoseVascular Health Risk Manag., PLos One,

Losing weight is so important to blood pressure control, it is always in the big three means by which to lower your blood pressure naturally. The data is absolutely unequivocal. For every 1 mm of systolic blood pressure you drop, your risk of stroke drops 2.8%. That adds up. 
It gets to the core problem of blood pressure. What is it? In effect, high blood pressure is better called “endothelial dysfunction”. The lining of your blood vessels is called the endothelium. It gets upset by various features. It’s actually a pretty simple little affair. The endothelium is the last barrier between the outside world and your fragile cells. It is the last line of defense. Its job is to help protect the cells. The endothelium can only do three things. It can relax. That’s called low blood pressure. It can go ballistic and constrict. That’s called high blood pressure. Or it can call for help by sending out cytokines (morse code) for troops. 
We thought fat tissue was just a convenient place to store calories from beer. That may be the case, but more ominously, fat turns out to be incredibly inflammatory. 
If you look at fat tissue under a microscope, the greater the size of fat cells, the greater the number of white blood cells (pus). This phenomenon occurs particularly in “visceral fat”. Your belly.

To get to low blood pressure, you need to have your fat cells not setting off inflammation in your endothelium, getting it all upset and constricting. It’s that simple. And that means losing weight and keeping it off. 
And that’s the big conundrum. If we could simply lose weight, we all would do it. Weight loss is not a two-week affair. It is the natural consequence of lifestyle choices you choose to do for the rest of your life. That requires change in habits that you stick with for the rest of your life.

Losing weight means avoiding some foods, all of which have been tied to high blood pressure. You don’t avoid sugar for a month to lose weight. You look at sugar very skeptically for the rest of your life. You look at every food you eat and choose not to get the dessert. Don’t have the sweetened soda. Don’t add sugar to your tea. Losing weight means eat more vegetables than animal. Forever. Enjoy your meat, in much smaller proportions. Pile on the vegetables. And just plain stop eating two particular egregious vegetables: french fries and potato chips. Too many carbs soaked in fat, with too much salt.

WWW What will work for me. Controlling weight requires habits developed in five venues. Home, work, vacation, restaurants, and parties. All five have to be working to make habits become successful. I think I’ve got three of them conquered but the parties at restaurants are tough for me. If its Indian food with Indian gulab jamuns and Kheer, I’m done in.

Pop Quiz:

  1. For every millimeter of systolic blood pressure drop, what happens to stroke risk? Answer: 10% drop.
  2. Belly fat is harmless. T or F. Answer: False as false can be.
  3. Blood pressure is a risk factor for what else? Answer: Any kind of heart attack, vascular disease, stroke, congestive heart failure.
  4. Name the 5 venues for which you need to have strategies to be consistent with life style choices about food. Answer: Home, work, travel, parties, restaurants.
  5. What’s the fancy term physiologically for high blood pressure? Answer: Endothelial dysfunction. Upset lining of your blood vessels.

Treat High Blood Pressure Naturally: Lose the Salt

References: The Lancet April 2019He BMJ 2013NEJM 2010 Bibbins-DomingoNutrientsHarvard Health, David DeRose

This sounds so mundane that you yawn and want to skip the news. Don’t! The data shows SALT as the NUMBER ONE cause of premature death in the world today. Number 1. That includes cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure. The works. 
In this study released last week in The Lancet, the authors looked at which diets ended up shortening lives the most. Excess salt exceeds the risk of smoking. The use of excess salt results in 3 million excess deaths a year. The other two signature problems showed up as insufficient whole grains, and insufficient fruit. Goodness. 
We have considered salt a problem for a long time. The three foundational pillars of blood pressure control are 1) Losing weight, if overweight, 2) Eating whole foods instead of processed foods, and 3) decreasing salt. Salt has always been in the running.

Dr. He did a meta-analysiswith the Cochrane Collaboration and produced the definitive review of salt literature in 2013. Thirty-four studies were combined to conclude what a powerful blood pressure lowering effect reducing salt has. Many folks consume as much as 9 grams a day of salt. The recommended goal was to get to 3 grams. 
In America, another major study showed the effect that would have on lives saved. In the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010, Dr. Bibbins-Domingo demonstrated that in the US we would reduce cardiac disease and stroke by some 30-50% saving some $ 25 billion a year in health care costs if we cut the salt to 3 grams a day. (In perspective, 3 grams is about 1/2 a tsp.) 
What’s the reason for this power? It’s back to the principle of the balance of sodium to potassium and magnesium. Just a thousand years ago, or more, we ate much, much less sodium (700 mg a day) and more vegetables, aka, potassium (1100 mg). The net effect was that the ratio of potassium to sodium changed dramatically. What used to be 16 molecules of potassium to 1 of sodium (a potassium dominant pattern) has reversed into a 1-to-4 ratio (for a sodium-dominant pattern). There are now calls to use the urinary Na-K excretion ratio as the best method of determining whether one has enough of a sodium reduction or potassium increase.

Your kidneys struggle to keep up with that change in relationship. Every single last cell in your body uses a potassium-sodium ratio across their membranes to pump vital nutrients across the membrane. When you flood the system with much more sodium, you screw up all those membranes. It’s really that simple. 

Where does sodium sneak into our diet? Many ways. Mostly prepared foods but we inflict more sodium on ourselves in the form of salty sports drinks. If you are dripping sweat from football practice in 102-degree weather, have some salt. But if you are just a little tired, or my goodness, don’t poison yourself.

WWW: What will work for me. I’ve stopped salting my food. Just stopped. After about a week, I’m noticing that the flavor feels back to normal. It took a couple of days of feeling like the food was lower in taste that I liked, but now that feeling is gone. There is literature to show that effect to be true. I’m off most prepared food but I sure enjoy ethnic cuisine at a night out. I suspect I get a lot there without realizing it. And no sports drinks for me.

Pop Quiz

  1. What is the average consumption of salt in America, per day? Answer: about 6-7 grams a day
  2. How much salt is that in relation to a teaspoon? Answer: Two
  3. If I could cut that down to ________, I would be under the recommended limit of three grams a day. Answer: 1/2 teaspoon.
  4. I’m aiming to raise my Sodium to potassium ratio. How can I do that effectively? Answer: The more raw vegetables you eat, the better. Steam them if you cook them. But don’t boil. That green color is all the potassium and magnesium leaking out.
  5. Name one strategy you can do to reduce your salt? ________________

Treat High Blood Pressure Naturally – Stop Animal Foods

References: Amer Jr Public HealthDeRose 30 DaysFraser AJCN 2009AJCN 2009 FraserNutrition Reviews,

What are the basic, most effective methods we can follow to lower our blood pressure? Three things: whole plant foods, lose weight, less salt. That’s the foundation of natural blood pressure control. In David DeRose’s wonderful book about natural control of blood pressure, he details the seminal studies that prove the point.

The Adventist study of Seventh Day Adventists was the first and may be the best study. Adventists have emphasized healthy eating for over a hundred years with the result that a fair percentage of them are vegetarian. They make an ideal group to compare different dietary strategies in lifestyle to various other elements. Being a vegetarian is one of the most dramatic. In African Americans, meat eaters had a 44% rate of high blood pressure, while vegetarian African Americans only had 16%. In Caucasians, the rate of high blood pressure dropped from 22% down to 7%.

That study led to a much larger study of over that study to 80 others in a compilation by Berkow in the journal Nutrition Reviews of all the effects of being a vegetarian, and you find that it is never too late to start and always has a beneficial effect. 
It should be noted that these effects in all these studies is from natural, whole foods. Real potatoes, not chips. Real corn, not bagged, fried, salted, processed chips. Real……natural food. What is the elements that make it work? 
[The evidence shows that our forebears used to have 11,000 mg a day of potassium to 700 of sodium. That’s 16:1. Today we have 3,200 of sodium to 2,500 of potassium. Hmmm. We’ve flipped the ratio from dominant potassium to dominant sodium with a 32 fold shift in the ratio. A study published in the](The evidence shows that our forebears used to have 11,000 mg a day of potassium to 700 of sodium. That’s 16:1. Today we have 3,200 of sodium to 2,500 of potassium. Hmmm. We’ve flipped the ratio from dominant potassium to dominant sodium with a 32 fold shift in the ratio. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2009 on the ratio of potassium to sodium in American adults showed about a 50% reduction in mortality for folks with the highest potassium to sodium ratio. Whole foods, particularly uncooked, have the most potassium in them.

WWW: What will work for me? Whole food is not a store. It’s a life style. The Adventists have proven it positively. The rest of Americans have proven it negatively. Now it’s just climbing out of that a hole into whole. Can I do it? I’ve made it to at least one day a week with just plants. As I accumulate more recipes of tasty, delicious plant foods I find it easier. I’m on a quest for more recipes. For breakfast today I just got lazy and had a whole avocado. It didn’t feel like enough at first but then an hour later I left very nice and full. One, whole avocado.

Pop Quiz

  1. Who are the folks in America who take their place amongst the healthiest in the world? Answer: Vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists. The meat eating Adventists aren’t much better than the rest of Americans.
  2. Our great grand parents consumed how much potassium in relationship to sodium? Answer: 16:1. Much, much more potassium.
  3. We’ve flipped our ratio of potassium to sodium by how much? Answer: 32:1. Sodium is now dominant. Three grams a day is what we are eating. Goal, drop it back down to one.
  4. What happens to my blood pressure when I switch from animal based foods to plant based foods? Answer: drops by at least 50%
  5. I’m old. Does it matter if I switch? Answer: At any age, every move from more animal to more plant makes for improvement. Animal includes milk, eggs, cheese, meat.