Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
24 Mar

Dear Mark: Aloe Vera for Leaky Gut, One Meal a Day, and Glyphosate and Celiac Disease

aloeveraFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First I discuss the effect of aloe vera on gut function. Is there evidence that it’s a panacea for intestinal permeability, as so often is claimed? Next, I help an extremely active reader who’s considering switching to one meal a day to lose the last few stubborn pounds of body fat figure out what his next move should be. And finally, I explore the evidence for a connection between the herbicide glyphosate and celiac disease.

Let’s go:

I have been reading a lot about Aloe Vera juice and the claim that it’s a “miracle” potion for helping with curing leaky gut. Do you have an opinion about using this as a method for helping to heal the gut? There is also some research out there claiming that aloe juice has caused tumors in lab rats so I’m not sure what to believe.

Thanks so much for the input.

Gregg

Aloe vera has traditionally been used to alleviate, soothe, and even speed up the healing time of burns on the skin (PDF). I’ve heard these claims about aloe vera as well, but never thought to look into it. The proposed mechanism I’ve seen is that aloe vera heals leaky gut the same way it heals damaged skin on the surface, almost as if swallowed aloe vera coats the intestine and starts the healing process.

Except “leaky gut” generally doesn’t involve mechanical damage to your intestines, but rather miscommunication on the cellular level. In actual leaky gut, the tight junctions that govern the passage of compounds from the gut into the bloodstream are allowing proteins and other substances through the gut lining and into your bloodstream that otherwise would not be granted passage.

With that in mind, does aloe vera help leaky gut? There’s actually evidence that aloe vera increases the leakiness of the tight junctions in your gut. Rather than keep them closed, they open them up. Some researchers are even exploring the use of aloe vera as a way to increase drug absorption via this exact mechanism.

That’s not to say aloe is useless for gut issues. It’s a powerful stimulant laxative, meaning it induces colonic contractions, increases fluid absorption in the colon, and can improve short term bouts of constipation. But it’s not a final solution, or a long term one. Long term usage of stimulant laxatives can lead to cathartic colon, a condition involving damaged colonic musculature and disrupted neuromuscular connections between the colon and brain.

If you’re going to use aloe vera for gut issues, I would suggest using it sparingly and infrequently. Consider a recent study where rats who got whole leaf aloe vera extract in their water every day for 13 weeks developed colonic tumors (both benign and malignant) more frequently than rats who did not receive aloe vera. The researchers concluded that aloe vera is an “intestinal irritant.” Irritants can be helpful hormetic stressors that improve resistance against disease when applied infrequently. When they’re applied chronically, they become agents of disease themselves. Just realize that aloe is medicine, not food.

Honestly? I don’t see how it’ll help leaky gut (and I can see how it might actually cause it or make the condition worse), but lots of people seem to swear by it. Who knows? If you try, be careful with it.

Who I am – Just turned 28, male, 170 cm tall and weight about 90 kg. I train CrossFit everyday, 5 days a week, sometimes 6 times a week. I cycle around 10k everyday and work as a cleaner and as a cook which demand of me to be standing up, moving around, and lifting stuff.

My question – To get what I want, do you think it’s a good idea to do a single meal a day, everyday. Keeping it below 2000 calories. Low carb as possible (10-30g) and with paleo ingredients only.

Fasting is easy. Controlling the amount of food I eat, not so much.

I know it’s been said that counting calories is bad but not if you’re eating paleo. This way I reckon thermodynamics do apply since you’re eliminating (controlling) hormonal response from the equation.

It might sound like I want to cover a lot, I just want to get it over with. Get the fat content I want, better my results at the gym, and be healthy before I turn 30. Everyday I move more weight than my peers in the form of fat and still keep up with them. If I loose it I’ll be able to keep with the top players.

Motivation and drive are not an issue. I just need to know this path will take me there. I realize we should tailor our diets but as a general approach, do you think it’ll work?

Thanks heaps.

Gus C

You’ve got a lot on your plate. CrossFit 5-6 times a week, 10k on the bike daily, and an active, demanding job (working a kitchen is no joke!).

Fasting can definitely speed up fat loss, and it’s a great way to inadvertently control the amount of calories you take in. Lots of people who have trouble controlling their food intake find that intermittent fasting is the most painless way to do it. So yes, it can work.

However, before you switch to one-meal-a-day, you might try making a few changes to your routine.

Here’s what I’d do:

Even though you might love it, reduce your CrossFit intake. Instead of five or six days a week, try three. Going hard every day doesn’t allow you any recovery time. Your cortisol levels are probably permanently elevated, giving you little to no let-up. Cortisol, as you may know, is heavily implicated in the storage and retention of belly fat – often the most annoyingly-persistent fat for us guys. Your performance will increase due to the recovery time, your stress levels will go down, and I strongly suspect that you will begin burning more body fat (even though you’re using fewer calories on the reduced schedule).

Cycling 10 kilometers, or six miles, isn’t much. That’s your slow movement for the day, as long as you aren’t out there sprinting between stop lights and climbing hills the entire time. I say stick with the easy cycling.

Your job is your job. You can’t do much about being on your feet all day.

Try a full dinner to dinner fast once or twice a week. So, eat dinner 8 PM on Monday and don’t eat again until 8 PM on Tuesday. Do that twice each week.

Or try what I do – a truncated eating window. I generally eat from around 1 PM to 7 PM. At this point, it’s ingrained. I don’t think about it, I just do it. And if I do get hungry, I’ll eat. I just don’t get hungry outside of the window.

Some people thrive on a single meal every day, but most do not. You have a demanding life and a very physically active existence, and I’d wager that you’d do better on a slightly different schedule. Feel free to try the one meal a day thing, but be prepared to switch it up if things don’t work. Whatever eating strategy you choose, cutting two CrossFit days will probably be the real game changer.

Mark,

I was wondering if you had been following any of Stephanie Seneff’s recent…well, not sure whether to call them “findings”, but not sure if they’re totally invalid either. Just read this interview with her and was curious about your take on it.

Greg

I’ve seen that paper and even linked to it in a past Weekend Link Love. Seneff’s idea is certainly interesting, and I’ve always been more concerned by the massive amounts of Roundup used on GMO crops than the GMO crops themselves. There’s a lot to unpack in the paper, more than I have time for on Dear Mark, so I’ll just focus on what looks to be the most compelling part: the effect of Roundup/glyphosate on gut bacteria.

Let’s look at a few lines of evidence:

  • Children with celiac disease have fewer enterococcus, lactobacillus, and bifobacterum bacteria than children without celiac. That’s a a pretty standard finding – celiac disease is characterized in part by dysfunctional microbiomes.
  • Interestingly, a recent paper showed that those very same bacterial species that are reduced in celiac disease - lactobacillus, enterococcus, and bifidobacterium - are the ones most susceptible to glyphosate, while the pathogenic bacteria like salmonella and clostridium botulinium (responsible for botulism) are highly resistant to glyphosate (PDF).
  • Furthermore, glyphosate also inhibits the anti-pathogenic activity of enterococcus bacteria. One of the reasons why “beneficial bacteria” are so beneficial is that they tend to keep the pathogens at bay, and glyphosate directly interferes with it.

Even if glyphosate proves to be safe for human cells, it appears to affect the bacterial cells that outnumber our own cells, power our immune system, regulate our digestive function, and affect our brains. They count, too. Research is scant, but that’s only because the microbiome is a relatively recent concern for most. What research does exist suggests that the microbiome may be vulnerable to otherwise-safe glyphosate residues, and this alteration of the microbiome may increase gluten reactivity. It’s certainly worth further study, don’t you think?

In the meantime, I’m going to kindly excuse myself from the massively uncontrolled trial being conducted on a mostly unsuspecting population. Just to, you know, be safe. How about you?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Be sure to send in your questions, comments, and concerns, and I’ll do my best to address them in the blog or on the podcast!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. If one has persistent belly fat despite a good exercise regimen and low carb intake is the takeaway that one should try a full dinner to dinner fast once or twice a week?

    Christopher Lee Deards wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • Way too little information here. Would need to take a look at pro/fat ratios, stress, sleep, workouts, etc. etc.

      Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on March 24th, 2014
      • Well, yes, of course. I didn’t provide lots of information.

        I’ve been doing primal for a few years now. About six months ago I started a kettlebell routine. I’ve had great results: a fair amount of fat loss and good muscle development.
        My stress is what it is. I have three young children. I don’t get as much sleep as I would like, but that’s not going to change anytime soon. Should I just accept that I will retain some belly fat because of the sleep and stress, or should I try fasting once a week?
        That’s a more complete question.
        All things being equal I intend to tweak this one variable and see what happens.

        Christopher Lee Deards wrote on March 24th, 2014
        • Click my signature and email me and maybe we can get a little more specific for you

          Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on March 24th, 2014
        • I’m sure that my lack of sleep has slowed my weight loss, but it’s just a reality and season of life. It will be interesting to see what happens when my children start sleeping through the night, but until then, I’m with you on trying to control other factors. I like the idea of Mark’s compressed eating window, so I may try that first.

          Stephen wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • Chris, it probably wouldn’t hurt, but you should also look into other possible issues. How many calories are you eating (too much or too little can also cause issues)? Do you experience chronic stress? Do you get adequate sleep? Treat your body as an ongoing experiment. Give the fasting idea a try and see how it works for you. If you notice results, great! If not, try a different approach.

      Jacob wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • I believe the take away was you may need to decrease the amount of intense activity in order to reduce cortisol levels and give your body adequate recovery time. Beyond that limited IF can also be helpful.

      FoCo Jo wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • True! I tried so hard to go on a vegan diet all week. But as soon as I get on the weekend, it’s a day for me to spoil myself. Cheat day ain’t so bad right?

      Trish Conner wrote on March 25th, 2014
  2. To the faster: I would also recommend STARTING your eating window post your CrossFit workouts. You get the best of both worlds here.

    Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • Thanks Mark and Anthony. I’m backing up on training. I’ll try to train and then eat, not the other way around. And finally, increase the carb intake a little. See how it goes.

      Cheers.

      Gus C wrote on March 24th, 2014
  3. Sigh. This again? Contrary to what Gus apparently “reckons,” “thermodynamics do apply” to everyone, regardless of whether or not they are eating Paleo; “hormonal response” works within the framework of thermodynamics. Even Gary Taubes, Mr. “hormonal response rulez everything, bro,” acknowledges this – so why do so many people keep believing in the “witchcraft and wizardry school of thought” concerning all things body mass flux?

    Karl wrote on March 24th, 2014
  4. If fasting is easy for you, check out the Warrior Diet. I could not be happier with it. For me, it feels more natural compared to a 16 hour intermittent fast.

    Jamie wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • Doesn’t too much fasting lead to adrenal burnout? Just askin’. It happened to the Paleo Rodeo host.

      Wenchypoo wrote on March 24th, 2014
      • Too much fasting certainly doesn’t suit many females, particularly in peri/menopause phases because the additional cortisol load interferes with the oestrogen levels.

        I’ve just been experimenting the last few weeks (am nearly 47 and beginning to notice a hormone shift and cycle changes). Less fasting and inclusion of phytoestrogens via foods (flax oil) seems to have made a positive difference.

        I’m hoping this is an area Carrie will cover in her new book Primal Woman as quite a bit of the Primal/Paelo ‘lore’ needs to be differentiated between males and females and between younger and older Groks :-)

        Kelda wrote on March 24th, 2014
        • Me too Kelda! I am 43 and came to the same conclusion after a 6 months trial of not eating breakfast. My weight did not change and my body composition dramatically worsen. I just wanted to get more toned, and just loose 2 or 3 lbs max and I ended up looking 4 month pregnant! I have never been hungry in the morning so I thought this would work for me but obviously my body did not like it and might have triggered a stress response that ended up in abdominal fat storage. I also started having a somewhat elevated blood pressure.

          I started eating a very small breakfast, just one egg and some green veggies, and taking vit C and omega 3 daily and it has help tremendously, both my stomach and BP.

          Natalie wrote on March 24th, 2014
  5. Crossfit 5-6 times a week on 30g of carbs or less? I wouldn’t recommend it.

    Mike wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • Jeez, I was thinkin’ the same thing. Can’t figure out what gets into people that want to spend their whole lifes working out and having high cortisol levels.

      Nocona wrote on March 24th, 2014
  6. I think Mark hit the nail on the head with Gus. Just my opinion but I think Gus is overtraining. He should revisit Primal Blueprint 101 and get the basics nailed down. He will likely have greater success that way.

    Joe wrote on March 24th, 2014
  7. I’m currently training to become a Nutritional Therapist and we have talked a lot about aloe and using it to soothe the digestive tract. The leaf of the plant can be skinned and the gel/meat can be used internally for soothing & healing ulcers and other irritations – it’s the skin of the plant that is a laxative and needs to be used sparingly. If you are buying aloe juice/gel to consume, please carefully read the label to make sure you are not getting whole leaf aloe, unless you need a laxative. As far as using it for leaky gut, aloe has not come up in class as something to use and it would not be a part of the protocol I would recommend to a client.

    Carol wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • I had a horse with symptoms of colic off and on for a year. Lots of vet calls and even 1 trip to hospital. I did a little research on my own, and to make a long story short, I started giving her a 1/2 cup of aloe juice 2x a day all symptoms were gone with in the first week.

      Debi wrote on March 24th, 2014
      • Humans are one of the very few creatures that use zonulin as a signal to open the tight junctions in the gut, causing leaky gut.

        Horses aren’t humans, they’re closer to cows as they’re herbivores. Aloe working for them doesn’t mean will work for us.

        raydawg wrote on March 25th, 2014
    • My doc gave me antibiotics that I ended up being very allergic to and ended up having to also take prednisone to stop the body’s immune reaction. A year or so later I was still feeling the effects, my previously clear skin was a mess and the dermatologist was having no luck. At age 34, I’ve never ever been a drinker (couldn’t stand the taste) and had started drinking about 4-5 oz of vodka at least 4-5 times a week on a regular basis for at least 6 months, and my anxiety was off the charts. Bottom line I was a mess and felt like I was losing myself.

      I heard one of those miracle aloe stories and decided to try it hoping it would help my skin. I drank about 4 oz aloe vera gel (food grade) in the morning and night and within the first week or so any craving I had for alcohol completely stopped. Within about 8 weeks my skin began to clear and I noticed I didn’t have the anxiety I used to, for that year I always felt like I had butterflies in my stomach and nervous for no reason. The only change I made was the aloe, I stopped taking it after about 4 weeks and I started feeling that stressful twinge in my stomach again. I began the aloe again and it stopped.

      There are recent medical journals with studies on how the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut seems to affect the nervous system and directly alter the anxiety level of an organism. If aloe is a source to increase beneficial bacteria or has a positive influence on that system that may explain why some have found it helpful for leaky gut. I think more research needs to be done and those who feel they are in a desperate situation, in my opinion, should just try it for two weeks and see if they experience a change for the better. It’s definitely something that should not be discounted without having tried it. It must be inner filet juice or gel though not whole leaf which is a laxative, ask for it at your health food store and keep it refrigerated.

      bri wrote on August 16th, 2014
  8. Down in Mexico, they pick a stalk of aloe right off the plant and eat it as a snack. My neighbor in Texas took a piece off my plant and started chewing. I told her I didn’t know you could EAT these!

    Wenchypoo wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • Caution should be used with using aloe vera internally. The first and only time I (unknowingly) tried this, I got a fairly severe case of the trots. The article does mention the laxative effect.

      Shary wrote on March 24th, 2014
  9. Ive been Paleo/primal for a year and a half now and have been able to lose 100 pounds, but I’ve been plateaued for about 3 months now. I have about 30 more pounds to lose to get to a healthy weight. I’ve really been thinking about adopting your compressed eating window or some sort of intermittent fasting. Would you recommend the compressed window first?

    Stephen wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • Stephen,

      I’m no expert, but I’ve been on the compressed window cycle for more than a year now, with 1 or 2 full-day (24 hour) fasts every week.

      I can say that for me, the restricted window brings about an overall decrease in calories I consume on average in a day, and helps me lean out. Even with just 1 sprint session a week & no other exercise in that week, the fat levels stay low, and you know you LGN.

      I’d humbly suggest you try the compressed window for a couple of days to see if you can continue it for longer? If you are comfy, carry on for a week & re-evaluate. If those 2 days were really not great, well then there’s other things to try/test out! (more walks, sprints, etc)

      All the best! Grok On!

      Vishnu Suresh wrote on March 28th, 2014
  10. just guessing: maybe aloe vera helps people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
    (SIBO), clearing out the exess bacteria? i think i recall it having antibacterial properties. if so, then again it should probably be used only as a short term “medicine” type of therapy.

    by the way, this is a great site, thanx a lot, also to all the commenters.

    ben wrote on March 24th, 2014
  11. What i was trying to get at:

    “SIBO also causes an increased permeability of the small intestine.”

    - wicked pippi (wikipedia)

    ben wrote on March 24th, 2014
  12. Glyphosate was never meant to be used on food crops. For ages it was just brush killer, and supposedly the dead plants and the glysophate would be attacked by soil bacteria and that would be an end of it. Not any more.

    A Danish hog-farmer found a few years ago that his sows had a lot of deformed or stillborn piglets — until he paid extra for no-GMO soy feed. Glyphosate seems to have been at fault.

    Mark. wrote on March 24th, 2014
  13. Mark, I was actually dumbfounded when I read the celiac microbiota info above. A few months ago I had my gut bugs analyzed and found that I have no growth of Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria. No growth of bad bugs, either though. My functional medicine doc didn’t put that together with my gluten intolerance– off gluten for 2 solid years except accidental exposure. A bone doc diagnosed me with celiac after seeing my history and reduced bone mineral densities, just a couple of weeks ago. No one has recommended antibody testing or intestinal biopsy, since I’ve been as gluten free as possible for so long.

    My question, though, is this: is there any known way to balance the microbiome permanently, since probiotic supplements “wash out” if not continued basically daily? that is, in addition to eating onions and other prebiotics, and learning to culture vegetables, and of course living without gluten and the other things I don’t tolerate, like dairy and anything else I can figure out. Does the AIP balance it? Is a fecal transplant the only way, or is that a futile effort because a celiac’s gut won’t support a healthy microbiome?

    thanks for all your research!

    Nancy Mize wrote on March 24th, 2014
    • Hi Nancy – another MDA fan here who has also had to look beyond the basics for restoring gut health. I believe a course of very high quality bovine colostrum along with very high quality probiotics has a more permanent effect, so the probiotics can take up residence and aren’t just getting washed through the GI tract.

      Sarah wrote on March 24th, 2014
      • that sounds interesting, though probably not obtainable where I live! so I don’t need to decide whether to pursue it. Thanks, Sarah.

        Nancy Mize wrote on March 25th, 2014
        • Oh, it’s just a supplement, anyone would have to just order online.

          Sarah wrote on March 25th, 2014
    • It’s important to keep in mind that we’re in the very early stages of understanding the monumental diversity of gut microbiota, and that most of the claims being made for both knowledge of it, and potential therapies, far overreach the limited data we have. For example:

      * No one knows which bacteria from fermented foods will colonize the gut of an adult, to what extent, and for how long.

      * No one knows exactly which strains or combinations are beneficial or harmful to people in general, let alone with widely differing diets and genetic backgrounds. (For instance, Michael Pollan is very proud of his Prevotella population because his grain-based diet gives him a lot of it – but Prevotella is a strong risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis.)

      Yes, it’s fun to jump into a new and relatively unexplored field, because you can generate almost any hypotheses you want when you have very little data to contradict any of them. (Especially if you’re willing to, um, stretch your interpretations.)

      But before you start being sad because you don’t have as many bacteria in your butt as someone else does, ask yourself: am I experiencing actual problems? Are there health issues I need to address, and which there is actual evidence that bacteria I am deficient in can solve? Or am I just being scared by people who tell me I need to “balance my microbiome” when no one can actually define what a “balanced microbiome” is or is not?

      JS

      J. Stanton wrote on March 25th, 2014
      • JS, It’s very different from “being sad because I don’t have as many bacteria in [my] butt” when my health and vitality are compromised. It might be grasping at straws though. I’d rather have learned about the possible causes of and remedies for my ill health, than wait till the FDA gets paid enough under the table to endorse a treatment. I’m a researcher at heart and want to know what there is out there, as soon as it’s out there, so I can learn what might and might not be beneficial.

        Nancy Mize wrote on March 25th, 2014
        • You would need to describe a great deal more about your situation, and the pathologies you hope to address, before anyone can possibly define what a “balanced microbiome” might mean for you, let alone how to achieve it.

          Yes, plenty of people will be willing to offer you advice! However, given the nascent state of the science, the advice will range from “highly speculative” to “woo”…especially without knowing what you hope to accomplish.

          I know this comment section isn’t necessarily the best place to discuss such things in detail: feel free to contact me through my site or post on my forums, as I do my best to respond.

          JS

          J. Stanton wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Thanks JS, for the sincerity of your reply. I’ll hop over and see what your site and forum are all about.

          Nancy wrote on March 26th, 2014
  14. One of the “inert” ingredients in the commercial formulation of Roundup (POEA) is a cellular toxin by itself.

    And while glyphosate itself appears not to be a mitochondrial toxin in the same way that, say, chlorpyrifos is, the commercial formulation of Roundup is a potent disruptor of mitochondrial function – most likely due to POEA, or some combination of its other “inert” (and unregulated) ingredients.

    One often-overlooked positive consequence of a grain-free diet is the withdrawal of a strong measure of support for the toxic and environmentally destructive practices of industrial agriculture.

    JS

    J. Stanton wrote on March 24th, 2014
  15. Its great that Mark told him to drop the training to 3 days a week, but i am horrified by the fact that he didnt say anything about how low in calories AND carbs this guy is. I dont care if youre trying to lose weight, 180 pounds as a male and youre eating less than 2000 calories and 30 grams of carbs? especially training 3 times a week crossfit and being physically active….jeez…are you trying to wreck your metabolism even more? illogical what people do to lose a bit of fat.

    Jason Blanchard wrote on March 24th, 2014
  16. Just saying….I tried aloe vera….for maybe 2 days….by the 3rd day I couldn’t even open the bottle without gagging. It tasted that bad. For me, the best thing for leaky gut was time and eating primal. Unfortunately I can’t tell you how long it actually took before I felt better. Best wishes in finding relief for this Gregg.

    Judy wrote on March 24th, 2014
  17. Should just add that it seems strange that it’s not mentioned on this site so I’m half expecting it to be a scam

    Paul wrote on March 24th, 2014
  18. Aloe is “an intestinal irritant” that seems to cause tumors? Coffee is an intestinal irritant, big time. It’s why coffee makes things move pronto in the gut. Is coffee a bowel tumor risk, then?

    Becky wrote on March 24th, 2014
  19. I think you’re confusing aloe vera juice, the clear pulp (prebiotic, probably some immune activity, and non-toxic) with the dried inner part of a green aloe leaf, which is an irritant laxative.
    They are really two different medicines. The laxative is high in quinones and the juice has none.

    George Henderson wrote on March 24th, 2014
  20. These new discussions about glyphosate and RoundUp make feel like the debate about GMOs tends to overlook why the crops were genetically modified. I thought that foods were GMd to improve their yield, pest resistance, ease of processing, bioluminescence and what have you. But, I am coming to understand that foods are genetically modified so that we can dump a lot of herbicide on them. Herbicide that we are now using as crop desiccant, i.e. bathing harvested crops in the stuff.

    This perspective makes it clear that while genetic modification may not itself make food more harmful, eating genetically modified foods is a poor idea.

    Ion Freeman wrote on March 24th, 2014
  21. I’m 38, 6’2, 240lbs, pretty muscular ( even a hint of six pack ) and have recently dramatically changed the way I work out…instead of 5-6 times a week 1,5 hrs workouts with endless cardio I do 3-4 60 minute workouts that almost always include 20-25 min of low impact sprints 1min sprint, 1 min rest ( I’m to heavy to run and I hate running anyway ).
    I find that the sprinting really primes me for some heavy lifting. Should I be limiting the sprints to 1-2 a week? I really like them and I love getting up a proper sweat before giving the lifting a go.
    The lifting is usually super or tri-sets with heavy stuff but raises my heart rate so I guess it is still interval training. So my question is if this is too much? In theory I am raising my heart rate and resting ( so basically high intensity interval training?) for about 60 minutes because of the way i train.

    I enjoy it and sleep well, eat when i want to ( primal ) fast a few times a week and my joints have stopped hurting so I’m figuring I must be doing something right?

    I used to be so anal about my workouts, writing everything down, carefully planning each workout by body parts etc. Always hurting somewhere, joints stiff, knees messed up and now…I now feel completely shattered after my workouts, but in a nice way…but no more pain and I do whatever i feel like in whichever order i like until i feel i can’t lift in good for anymore. haven’t written down a thing in a year…just lift some and put on more weight if i feel i can go heavier. i just make sure i go through upper and lower body ( focusing a lot on my legs and big compound moves )..loving training this way so hopefully it’s right for me

    Jacob wrote on March 25th, 2014
    • I think you’re heading in the right direction and obviously it depends what your goals are, but I would say you’re still over-training from a duration point of view.

      Before going Primal my workouts were: -

      Martial Arts 2.5 hr 1/week (Varying Intensity)
      Weights 1.5 hours 4/week (High Intensity)
      Swim 45min 2/Week (High Intensity)
      Step Aerobics 1hr 1/week (High Intensity)

      Now I’ve cut it down drastically: -
      Martial Arts 1.5 hr 2/week (Varying Intensity)
      Weights/Primal Movements 15-20 mins 2-3/week (High Intensity)
      Swim 15 – 20min 2/Week (Low Intensity)
      Run 30min 1/Week (Low Intensity)
      Sprint 10-15min every week – 10 days (Swim/Run/Bagwork)

      I’m 46 so a bit older than you (considerably shorter & lighter too!) – Under my old regime, I was suffering from constant fatigue and worsening arthritis from an old injury in my knee. I’m still wrecked after my high intensity workouts but now I recover quickly & ache less the next day.
      I still weigh around the same but my BF is a lot less, although I seem to have lost some muscle “bulk”, the mass is the same, just denser. My speed has come back and I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I also find that the shorter workouts are easier to fit in & I like to mix them around to suit how I feel.

      I would suggest cutting the sprints from your weights sessions & adding some lower impact stuff either as a warm-up or separate sessions. This would cut your workout time & cardio impact.

      Give it a try – See what results you get – I know I’m much fitter & happier for it, and my students are catching me a lot less too!

      WelshGrok wrote on March 25th, 2014
      • Thanks for that. When you do weights, do you do any of the other stuff on the same day? from the breakdown it looks like you do some sort of training every day?
        I’ll try to figure out how to cut down but still satisfy my hunger for physical activity. I have seen good results already and become stronger and increased muscle mass ( and I’ve been lifting weights since I was 24 and been quite fit since at least 27 )…best thing is the intensity. i love pushing myself to failure but for very short periods of time..instead of tiring endless lifting/cardio… Now I am soaking wet with sweat just from lifting because of the intensity. but I’d like to decrease body fat % so maybe doing less is more ( it’s just finding the balance so it’s not too little and not too much )

        Jacob wrote on March 25th, 2014
        • Yeah – I try to do something every day and my work hours stop me doing much during the day. Sometimes I’ll double up and do low intensity in the morning before work and high intensity in the evening, or vice versa, but some days I’ll just take a day off.

          I know what you mean about the exercise-hunger (and guilt for lack of sometimes too); pre-primal I was a bath-of-sweat addict too. I was getting to the point where I was living to get fitter, instead of getting fitter to live. I originally set up my programme to support my martial arts, but the focus went the other way and my Kung Fu was suffering as a result.

          I think the thing to focus on, is how you want the fitness to fit into your life and not the other way around – enjoy the calm & “stillness” between exercising, doing other things; look forward to, rather than live for, your training.

          I think the reduction in cortisol from backing off helps with the fat loss too and I appreciate now the load my taurine & energy powder boosted workouts puts on one’s heart as you get older.

          Every now & then I like to do one of my old workouts, an hour long body-pump or step class at the gym, or a longer run or swim just for the buzz, but now it seems crazy to think I used to kill myself like that all the time.

          Now..If I can just resist those chocolate digestives (cookies) & get to bed earlier…

          WelshGrok wrote on March 26th, 2014
  22. I was caught off guard with the tip about aloe increasing “leaky gut” and being an avenue for drug transport. Sometimes, I’m inclined to think that “healthy” or “miracle” foods can only improve my health, but then I suppose soy was one of those miracle foods at one point, too

    Camille wrote on March 25th, 2014
  23. thanks for your nice article !!

    Laurens Jacob wrote on March 25th, 2014
  24. One meal a day may not be the best thing for women. I tried it once and gained weight. Fat weight. Felt cold a lot, one sign of a slowing metabolism. Men might do better on it but just be warned.

    Indiscreet wrote on March 25th, 2014
    • INMO, It seems to be a danger if you have thyroid/adrenal fatigue issues. Women definitely are diagnosed with these issues more frequently than men (not saying Men aren’t), especially due to our ongoing hormonal fluctuations and the stress from reproductive-related issues. I do occasionally fast for 12 hours naturally when I am not ready for more food in my belly (usually after a large lunch or dinner) but I try very hard not to fast in the morning too frequently, as I am trying to bust through the last of my Chronic fatigue and keep my AM Cortisol level high and my evening level low for sleep issues and general health.

      Nandi wrote on March 25th, 2014
  25. Here is some info from a Eastern Asian medical perspective:
    In traditional Chinese medicine the use of aloe goes beyond hydration. In TCM aloe or Lú Huì is dried and has a dark glossy look like glass, it has a bitter flavour and cold nature. It works on the Large Intestine, Liver and Stomach organ systems and has the action of draining fire and guiding out accumulation in the body. Fire in the body refers to signs of heat such as red eyes, irritability, dizziness or headaches all of which can be related to the Liver organ system. Accumulation in the body in this case refers to constipation or epigastric discomfort. Due to it’s purgative nature Lú Huì also has the ability to kill parasites such as roundworm and ringworm.

    Aloe gel is great for nourishing Kidney yin, which is cooling, moistening and stabilizing. If kidney yin is deficient there will be symptoms similar to those listed above. Often as one ages Kidney yin becomes depleted especially in the case of menopause. Therefore the pulp of the aloe plant is a great way to nourish kidney yin as well as gain immune enhancing benefits. Due to the cooling nature of aloe it is not recommended for those that have loose stools or feel cold.

    Clinical research has shown aloe to have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties as well as the ability to inhibit the growth of neoplastic tumours, reduce inflammation and associated pain. It is not recommended to use Lú Huì during pregnancy or menstruation.

    Nandi wrote on March 25th, 2014
    • That’s right. It is the pulp, or the inner gel is where the benefits are in Aloe. I take 60 mls daily and have found that I have fewer flare ups of my auto immune disease (which is HS). It has helped make find out what my triggers are a lot easier and the pain less. Also as I can also apply aloe topically the lesions don’t last long at all.

      Denise wrote on June 6th, 2014
  26. Its great that Mark told him to drop the training to 3 days a week, but i am horrified by the fact that he didnt say anything about how low in calories AND carbs this guy is. I dont care if youre trying to lose weight, 180 pounds as a male and youre eating less than 2000 calories and 30 grams of carbs? especially training 3 times a week crossfit and being physically active….jeez…are you trying to wreck your metabolism even more? illogical what people do to lose a bit of fat.

    Amanda wrote on April 14th, 2014

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