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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September 06, 2008

Science News Roundup

By Worker Bee

While we here at MDA like to pay close attention to our bodies and use common sense to help determine what is and isn’t healthy, actual scientific evidence forms the backbone of our philosophies. We scour breaking health and nutrition news releases to make sure our ideas are supported by science. It’s important, we think, to present a multifaceted case for the Primal Blueprint as the ideal lifestyle choice, because years and years of being barraged by low-fat diets and rabid calorie-counting espoused by “experts” has inured your average person against the PB.

These studies obviously weren’t conducted with the Primal Blueprint in mind, but each one lends credence to our basic ideas.

High Intensity Exercise

We’ve talked about the benefits of intense exercise before. Hell, lifting heavy weights and short, intense bouts of output are hallmarks of the Primal Blueprint. For the most part, though, our previous discussions only tout the strength building, fat burning, and life extending powers of high-intensity workouts (only?!?). Okay, those benefits are reason enough to institute a regimen of regular exercise into your life, but a new study suggests that high-impact movements can improve bone health and muscle strength in teens.

Remember those PE warm-ups where the whole class would stretch for ten minutes, maybe do some half-hearted jumping jacks? For eight months, scientists did away with those in favor of a jumping regimen: tuck jumps, jumping jacks, side lunges, and skipping. The results were impressive. Boys saw overall bone mass increase (while also losing fat mass, but that’s not surprising), while girls’ bone mass improved most at the hip and spine.

Fruits and Vegetables

The importance of eating fruits and vegetables is one area where PB and popular opinion converge. Everyone knows you’re supposed to eat tons of plant matter, cause, well, eating a big plate of broccoli and spinach just feels right (tasting right, for far too many people, is a different story). But what if that broccoli could actually fight the flu? A new study shows that mice given quercetin, a substance found in broccoli, tea, red wine, red onion, grapes, and blueberries were less likely to contract the flu. Even when stressful exercise was introduced and shown to increase the mice’s susceptibility to the flu, quercetin nullified it. Sound perfect for Primal man on the hunt, no? Eat your vegetables (and drink your wine), kids – Grok did!


We’re in love with sleep, as you know. Who isn’t? There’s nothing better than a well-deserved deep snooze after a stressful day, and science is fast suggesting that it can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Plus, Mom was always pretty adamant that you get plenty of sleep, and she’s never wrong, right?

More evidence is mounting to support her. A new UCLA study found that even a single night of lackluster slumber can cause tissue inflammation. In and of itself, the inflammation isn’t something to worry about too much. But there is a suspected link between chronic inflammation and a wide range of common disorders, and this new data has “[closed] a gap” in scientists’ understanding of how sleep loss might affect this relationship.

Nothing conclusive yet, but it’s compelling. While we do wait for more studies, it’s probably a good idea to just sleep on it.

Rick Harris, your neighborhood librarian, thejbird Flickr Photos (CC)

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8 Comments on "Science News Roundup"


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9 years 17 days ago

Very cool, its one thing to just tout a way of living but its always important to show the science behind the talk. Keep it up

9 years 17 days ago

I am making the transition to a more primal way of working out. What I have noticed is heavy, low rep training is not enough. You have to add short burst like intervals – just like MDA advocates. My intervals the other day were kettlebell snatches. Specifically, the 15:15 Max Vo2 workout designed by Kenneth Jay at Dragon Door. I am buying into the interval thing more and more for a health prospective.

Thank you for all the information and especially the scientific findings that underpin the philosophy.

Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later

Good stuff Mark – would love to see more posts like this.

Keith Norris
9 years 17 days ago

These three, collectively, are what I’ve always considered as comprising the three-legged stool of the Paleo lifestyle. If one area is amiss, the other two areas — and life in general — will suffer as well. Life is a beautiful thing, though, when one manages to get all three areas in sync.


Chris - Zen to Fitness
9 years 17 days ago

Love this new style of post Mark keep em rolling. Some great information!!

9 years 17 days ago

I second Chris’ emotion…and as Ive said to you privately I LOVE how you make what could be snoozeworthy (yeah I said it) COMPELLING.


Tom Parker
9 years 16 days ago

Interesting stuff Mark. I’m pretty good at topping up on vegetables and getting intense exercise but sleep I never manage to get my full 8 hours every night.

Apurva Mehta
9 years 16 days ago

Tom’s comment above sparked a question: what is an adequate amount of sleep? The article referenced above does not specify what a ‘lackluster’ night of sleep actually constitutes.

I have been sleeping around 7 hours a day on weekdays for the last few months, and slightly more on weekends. I don’t really ever feel sleepy (ok, maybe sometimes during a long afternoon meeting), but I am wondering whether I would be better off with more sleep? What are the symptoms of sleep deprivation, if any?

Your thoughts would be most appreciated Mark.