Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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Year: 2008

Reflect, Regroup, Resolve

New Year’s Eve: parties (whether they be grand galas, small social gatherings, cozy dinners with partners/friends, or living room camp-outs with the kids), champagne, evening appetizers, brunch buffets, noisemakers, balloons and glittery hats, kisses at midnight or perhaps turning in early. Each of us will be doing something different this evening, but somehow the occasion sparks a similar sentiment in everyone. Reflection, contemplation – a mental review of good times during the year and perhaps regret of a few unfortunate moments. We think about not just what happened, per se, but how we view the pattern or progression along the way. What has the year meant for us? How far have we come? What were the highlights, and where were the low points? In our professional lives? In our personal lives? In our families and social circles? And, of course, in our health?

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Aflatoxins, or Another Reason to Shun Peanuts

We already tend to steer clear of peanuts for some obvious (to our readers) reasons: the fact that they’re legumes, rather than actual nuts; the potentially dangerous, “anti-nutrient” lectins found in them; and their prominent spot in the upper echelons of the “Most Common Food Allergens” list. But there’s another reason to steer clear of peanuts, something we’ve touched on briefly in the past but never expounded upon. Peanuts, along with a couple other crops we tend to avoid, like corn and cereals, are especially susceptible to a mold that produces a mycotoxin called aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin is a carcinogen that has been shown to cause liver cancer in rats (and, presumably, in humans). The amounts given to the rats in the study were highly concentrated, of course, with the express intent to study the effects of acute aflatoxicosis. You won’t be getting a couple grams of aflatoxin with every bag of peanuts or anything, so acute aflatoxicosis isn’t a big issue for people – at least in the US.

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Dear Mark: Sunglasses and Sunlamps

Dear Mark,

We’re heading into the winter months (it’s chilly even here in Atlanta!) and the days are getting shorter. As “Lights out: sleep, sugar, survival” taught us, we’re wired to handle seasonal patterns of sunlight exposure. What are your thoughts on maintaining a tan year round? Would you be better off letting your tan wane in the winter and switching from regular fish oil to cod liver oil to compensate for the vitamin D? To maintain a tan in the winter months would probably require a tanning booth, and I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on using those, even very occasionally. I’d love to see an article discussing this topic if you can get around to it. If you’ve already written one, could you point me in the direction of it?

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 30

With the holidays behind us (well, there is still New Year’s to go) most big temptations are behind us, but 60 in 3’s 6 way to avoid temptations can always come in handy.

Conditioning Research published the results of another recent study that suggests a low carb diet is “effective for improving and reversing type 2 diabetes.”

Dr. John Briffa echoes a sentiment I made recently; if you must take antiobiotics be sure to take some probiotics to protect your gut.

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Your Heart is Telling You to Sleep

A study in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that sleep is an integral ingredient for heart health.

For the study, researchers from the University of Chicago outfitted 495 healthy, middle-aged volunteers with actigraphs, a device worn on the wrist to measure movement and rest.

Accounting for some degree of movement during sleep time – hey, we’ve all been there with the tossing and turning! – the researchers determined that the study participants slept an average of 6 hours per night but spent about seven hours in bed, presumably waiting to fall asleep.

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Shouting Groceries

A particularly difficult workout session the other day, along with the holiday fast approaching (not a holiday fast, mind you – really, who would fast on a holiday?), prompted this post.

As is typical of many mornings for me, the other day I bagged breakfast and just had a big cup of really strong coffee with a splash of heavy cream and nothing else. Figured I’d eat later at a business lunch. I had a full schedule and not a lot of time, so I decided to do a quick set of modified burpees, where instead of simply jumping, landing, and doing a pushup, I would toss a pull-up into the mix. Nothing but a rotation of squats, pushups, and pull-ups –  and lots of them. I did this for twelve minutes straight with intermittent breaks, which got progressively more frequent as time went on (admittedly). It’s an ass-kicker if you are ever pressed for time. By the end, I was feeling all the typical effects I’ve come to expect from my occasional hard workouts: throbbing legs on the verge of giving out; arms that don’t seem to work anymore; sweat pooled around my feet; and a pretty high heart rate. But I was also incredibly nauseated, which is unusual for me – almost to the point of vomiting. I didn’t feel like moving for about five minutes, and I quite frankly wasn’t myself for the next hour. If it hadn’t been an early morning workout on an empty stomach, I probably would have emptied its contents. This got me to thinking – is too much intensity (to the point of nausea and vomit) a bad thing? Or is the nausea that comes with a particularly intense workout telling us that maybe we’re doing it right?

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