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Dear Mark: CoQ10, Gelatin, Fruit, and Eggs and LDL

Posted By Mark Sisson On October 31, 2011 @ 8:44 am In Dear Mark,Supplements | 64 Comments

Happy Halloween, folks. On its face, Halloween seems pretty un-Primal, what with all the reverence for cheap candy that surrounds it, but getting dressed up is undeniably fun. I guess that’s a subset of “play [7],” yeah? I’ve heard about the post-AHS [8] shenanigans. You guys aren’t ascetics [9]. Anyway, today I cover CoQ10 dosages and forms, whether gelatin is worth eating, how much fruit is too much (hint: it’s about context), and whether a young guy with mildly elevated LDL should stop eating eggs.

Let’s go.

My question is regarding coQ10. I am going to turn 40… am in good health… exercise regularly and have been primal for about 2 years.

Here are my two questions…

How much coQ10 do I require?

What is the deal with all the coQ10 supplements using seed and or soybean oil as the vehicle? I cannot find one using say olive oil. Any advice on this? Or does it not matter?

Your thoughts?


Hell, Joe.

If you were on a statin [10], I’d say take up to 200 mg per day. Since you’re healthy, you exercise, and you’ve been Primal for awhile and you feel like supplementing might give you an edge, I’d shoot for between 30 and 100 mg per day. Use the ubiquinol form of CoQ10, as research indicates that our ability to convert the ubiquinone form into the active ubiquinol diminishes as we age [11], with forty years being about when it starts to drop off. The caveat with that is that you’re reading this blog and following this lifestyle and thus are most likely not an average (soon to be) forty year old guy, but still. It can’t hurt and it’s good insurance for your mitochondria [12]. Ubiquinone’s cheaper by a bit, but ubiquinol is getting priced more reasonably.

I wouldn’t worry about the oil used. You’re taking such miniscule amounts that a bit of soybean oil as the vehicle won’t have a measurable effect.

Hi Mark,

My question is whether or not animal derived gelatin is a good source of bioavailable protein? I’ve read a fair bit of contradictory information about it and I’m curious. Thanks!


Well, it depends on what you mean by “bioavailable.” If you’re asking whether gelatin converts to amino acids that promote muscular hypertrophy and recovery from exercise, no, not really. But if you’re asking if gelatin is well-absorbed or if its constituent parts perform important physiological functions, the answer is yes to both.

Of course, you can’t survive on gelatin as your sole source of protein. It provides very few essential amino acids (amino acids that your body can’t synthesize on its own) and it’s mostly glycine and proline. But there’s nothing wrong with gelatin. Quite the contrary, actually. Some possibly interesting effects of eating gelatin:

  • Gelatin was found to reduce joint pain in athletes [13]. Eyebrows might rise at the fact that Nabisco, which makes gelatin desserts, funded the study, but lifters have been swearing by daily gelatin supplementation for joint health for decades.
  • Improvement of sleep quality when taken before bed [14]. A “bolus ingestion of glycine” produced “subjective and objective” measurements of sleep quality in people. I’ve been having a cup of bone broth [15] (high in gelatin, which is high in glycine) before bed lately, and I can corroborate the study’s findings.
  • If you ask someone like Chris Masterjohn, regularly consuming a source of glycine (as found in gelatin derived from animal skin, bones, and hooves) is crucial for someone who also eats a lot of muscle meat [16] (which most Primal eaters do). He’s a sharp dude, so heed his words.

I’d say it’s worth incorporating, preferably in the form of bone broth or as purified granular gelatin (if you’re not making broth). Added bonus of the purified gelatin: you can play around with fun gelatinized Primal desserts and other dishes.

Dear Mark,

Please help! I’ve been Paleo for about a year now, with the odd bit of hummus here and there. My only real bad non-Paleo habit was eating copious amounts of fruit, honey and medjool dates. This has resulted in a bit of weight gain, so I’ve finally kicked the honey and dates to the curb.

But I can’t seem to give up fruit! I probably eat about 5 – 8 servings a day. They’re all pretty low carb (berries, papaya, the odd apple).

My question is – is this really unhealthy? Do I need to give up fruits as well? Any tips for those of us who are copious fruit eaters?

Thanks in advance. No-one else seems to take my issue seriously.


Fruit is not a problem, unless you’re actively gaining weight or failing to lose the weight that you want to lose. It’s also not required for great health. I call it optional, basically.

Are you still dealing with the weight gain? That wasn’t clear from the question. If giving up the honey and dates hasn’t been enough to lose the weight, I’d definitely make the move to 1-2 servings of fruit a day. Your choices are pretty good – berries, particularly, are high in nutrition and polyphenols and relatively low in sugar – but the quantity is a little much for someone trying to lose weight.

That said, if you are successfully losing weight with that level of fruit intake, I wouldn’t worry about it at all. If fruit has become your “candy,” however, watch out. It’s all in how the fruit is affecting you [17]. If it’s promoting incessant gorging [18] and packing on the pounds or preventing pounds that should be leaving from leaving, it could be a problem. If you’re still losing weight or keeping weight off, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

Hey Mark,

Just got my cholesterol checked. I’m 21 and my LDL’s at 131. Should I be worried/cut back on the 4 whole eggs daily?



If it were me, I wouldn’t worry. What’s your HDL? Trigylcerides? You need all that information, and you need to repeat the tests multiple times to make sense of your situation. A one-time snapshot of a single number doesn’t tell us much.

Recent studies vindicate eggs on the blood lipid front. Most show that eggs have little to no effect on cholesterol, while others show that in some people, egg consumption raises both HDL and LDL (but mostly HDL and switches the LDL to the fluffy and buoyant variety [19]). Just really try to aim for pastured eggs [20] if you can, because eating commercial eggs that come from chickens fed high omega-6 grains, like soy and corn, actually can increase the oxidation of one’s LDL [21] (this is unequivocally bad for heart health, whereas a one-time number like “131” doesn’t tell us much). Check local farmer’s markets, search on Craigslist, raise your own. Just get some pastured eggs. This is one of those areas in which the source of the food truly does matter and the one or two dollar price difference should not deter you.

Okay, enjoy the day/night. Just lay off that candy. And if you get trick-or-treaters, be smart about what you dole out. Realize that no one but that one kid going as a gnoll [22] or the little girl going as Art De Vany [23] will appreciate the shade grown, free trade, grass-fed 89% cacao dark chocolate squares – so save your money and give the kids what they want. You may love eggs, but not plastered across the exterior of your house. Besides, studies show that egged houses have tons of oxidized cholesterol. Bad all around.

Take care, and thanks for reading!

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[8] AHS: http://ancestryfoundation.org/

[9] ascetics: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/ascetic-diet/

[10] you were on a statin: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/statins-and-sprints-news-alert/

[11] diminishes as we age: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01209.x/abstract;jsessionid=37447CE170C332C1147E1B2C8FEBB836.d03t02

[12] mitochondria: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/managing-your-mitochondria/

[13] Gelatin was found to reduce joint pain in athletes: http://www.bsu.edu/news/article/0,1370,-1019-632,00.html

[14] Improvement of sleep quality when taken before bed: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00262.x/abstract

[15] bone broth: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/cooking-with-bones/

[16] crucial for someone who also eats a lot of muscle meat: http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/03/anyone-doing-paleo-without-liver-bones.html

[17] how the fruit is affecting you: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-self-experimentation-matters/

[18] gorging: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dear-mark-egg-shell-calcium-fully-hydrogenated-oils-hg-walking-gorging-and-frozen-produce/

[19] but mostly HDL and switches the LDL to the fluffy and buoyant variety: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21776466

[20] eggs: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/egg-purchasing-guide/

[21] actually can increase the oxidation of one’s LDL: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/human-interference-factor/

[22] gnoll: http://www.gnolls.org/

[23] Art De Vany: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-new-evolution-diet/

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