We’re back with another slew of new scientific studies that seem to reinforce our commitment to the Primal Blueprint. Of course, we admittedly don’t need much convincing, but it’s always important for newcomers to see some of the tangible benefits of the lifestyle supported by cutting-edge scientific research. This week, we’re examining the effects of behavior and nutrition on brain health and memory.
Okay, you all know how the Primal life promotes healthy weight loss, lean mass retention, increased energy, better sleep – those are the basic benefits that attract most newcomers, after all – but brain health? Sounds a little weird, yeah?
We’re showing a little skin today at MDA. No, it’s not another photo of Mark’s abs, although the last picture did elicit a rousing response. We’re talking glow, color, clarity, tone. Sound like a beauty ad? Well, it certainly could be except for the fact that there’s nothing to “buy” except a healthy primal lifestyle.
Mark advocates the Primal Blueprint for many dimensions of wellness: healthy aging, disease prevention and therapy, physical fitness, sexual health, and mental well-being. But what if it helped you look good too? No need to suddenly feel guilty or vain. (We don’t.) We know you’re in it for the health, and so are we. Consider it the icing on the cake. It’s doubtful any of us are out to be the next cover model on Vogue or GQ (although you never know – anyone?). Nonetheless, who doesn’t want to enjoy a little extra, natural boost?
As you probably already know, we here at MDA are all about making informed decisions that produce the best results with a minimal amount of effort. For example, what’s the point in running yourself to death when you can achieve better results with a short and intense workout session? In this sense we are all for shortcuts. We love ‘em. Why take the long, circuitous path from A to B when you can get there by walking (or sprinting!) a straight line? But we normally discount the effectiveness of pharmaceutical shortcuts. Why? Shortcuts that involve pills usually never work – especially in achieving long term health or fitness goals. Pharma attempts at wellness almost always have a tough time seeing the forest for the trees. Gene expression is much more nuanced enterprise than a pill can account for. In other words, when it comes to popping a pill it is difficult to know what is going on behind the curtain. So when we read about a new pill being developed that chemically mimics the effects of exercise in lab mice, you can imagine how skeptical we were.
What do you think about the claim that being heavier doesn’t necessarily mean you’re less healthy than someone who’s thin?
Thanks to reader Corey for his question and for sending the New York Times article that highlights recent research.
The article references a study published in this month’s Archives of Internal Medicine.
In the last few months we’ve been highlighting new research that illustrates the power of individuals to influence their genetic expression through basic lifestyle choices, whether through diet, exercise, or avoidance of pollution. The message, as always, is that we aren’t passive victims to aging or any propensities in our genetic heritage. How we live determines when and to what extent certain genes will be activated or turned off, genes that control our immune function and inflammatory response, genes that influence our aging process as well as our chances of developing or avoiding disease.
This groundbreaking area of research now includes evidence that invoking the body’s natural relaxation response can substantially direct the expression of genes related to physiological stress response. It’s a premise that’s been at the heart of many traditional medicine philosophies for thousands of years, now illuminated by collaborative research at the Genomics Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. As Herbert Benson, M.D. and one of the primary co-authors of the study explains, “For hundreds of years Western medicine has looked at mind and body as totally separate entities, to the point where saying something ‘is all in your head’ implied that it was imaginary. Now we’ve found how changing the activity of the mind can alter the way basic genetic instructions are implemented.”
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