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...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected

Tag: dear mark

Dear Mark: What Does High HDL Mean? and Is Exercise Good or Useless for Weight Loss?

Today’s edition of Dear Mark is a relatively brief two-parter, but it’s a good one. First, I answer a question about HDL. Is higher good? Is higher (sometimes) bad? How does a person make sense of all the seemingly conflicting information? Then I explain how two statements about exercise and weight loss can be simultaneously correct and apparently contradictory. Is weight loss effective or useless for weight loss, or what?

Let’s go:

Read More

Dear Mark: Right Leg Balance Issues, Plastic Wrap Flattened Meat, Vaporizing Cannabis

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering several rapid fire questions. I’ll be concise and clear. I’ll be quick. First, what can someone do if they can balance on the left leg but not the right? What might be responsible? Second, am I worried about Martha Stewart pounding on turkey breast laid between two pieces of Saran Wrap? Third, what’s different about vaporizing cannabis? Is it better than smoking it?

Let’s go:

Read More

Dear Mark: Protein Powder Dangers, Fermented Polyphenols, Whole Foods’ Farmed Salmon, and K-Cup Bone Broth

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four reader questions. First, a recent NY Times article makes some scary claims about protein powder—and protein in general. Should you worry? Next, what does a study about probiotics and polyphenol absorption mean for probiotics in general? Third, what do I think about Whole Foods’ new farmed salmon, which purports to be way healthier and more sustainable than other farmed salmons? And finally, I discuss K-cup bone broth.

Let’s go:

Read More

Dear Mark: Vibration Training, Missing Meniscus, and Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, do those whole body vibration training plates provide the kind of instability that I suggest promotes good cartilage function? Second, what can a person with degenerated or missing menisci do about it? What kind of training can work with knees that are missing cartilage? And finally, what’s my opinion of neuromuscular electric stimulation—does it work?

Let’s go:

Read More

Weekend Link Love – Edition 429

Research of the Week

Spiritual experiences trigger the reward centers of our brain.

Just a single season of high school football alters the structure of the brain. High school football players really need to watch out for head collisions.

25% calorie restriction improves quality of life, including many measures of sexual function, in otherwise healthy, non-obese adults, with those losing the most weight seeing the most benefit.

Read More

Dear Mark: Hyperthyroidism; Wim Hof and Placebo

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. The first is a really good one I’m kicking myself for never having considered before: what to do about hyperthyroidism. As the reader notes, everyone’s always talking about hypothyroidism—lack of thyroid function. What about too much thyroid activity? Then, I discuss what Wim Hof means for the placebo effect.

Let’s go:

All the information out there seems to be geared towards hypothyroidism, what about hyperthyroidism? Hard to find anything on treating it with a Primal diet. Lol, maybe I’m just unlucky.

Great question. Hyperthyroidism really does get the short end of the sick, doesn’t it?

What can you do?

Read More

Weekend Link Love – Edition 428

Research of the Week

Compared to Bronze Age Europeans and contemporary Northern Europeans, Southern Europeans tend to be better at converting short chain PUFAs (linoleic acid and ALA) into long chain PUFAs (arachidonic acid, EPA, DHA).

The results of many clinical trials are never published. Why’s that?

Teens are better at math in the mornings (PDF).

Vitamin D protects worms against aging and Alzheimer’s.

Read More

Dear Mark: New Primal Blueprint Edition Comments, and Is Healthy Living a Placebo?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll first be addressing questions from the comment section of the new Primal Blueprint edition announcement, plus one from the placebo post.

The first question comes from barry and concerns the omission of raw food on the new PB food pyramid. Did I make a mistake by not including overt recommendations for eating raw veggies and meat? Are cooked foods responsible for our health problems? After that, I field a brief question about non-running alternatives for the MAF method. And finally, I explore whether healthy living is all just one big placebo.

Let’s go:

Read More

Dear Mark: Transdermal Magnesium and Vitamin D/B12 Products for a Vegetarian

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. The first one concerns transdermal magnesium. Does it work? Can magnesium actually permeate the skin and enter circulation? Probably. And for the last question, I provide a bunch of examples of natural products—foods and behaviors—that can increase vitamin D and B12 levels for an ailing vegetarian.

Let’s go:

Mark, what’s your two cents on transdermal magnesium? I take between 200-600 mg mag glyconate daily. I then add mag chloride via ‘magnesium oil’ to my shoulders and anywhere my muscles are tighter than usual. Anyone else use the mag oil or gel?

I like it.

If you rely solely on the scientific literature, there isn’t a ton of strong evidence. But there is evidence.

In one study (PDF), subjects took daily 12-minute epsom salt (containing magnesium sulfate) baths for a week straight. After a week, magnesium levels had risen significantly in most subjects. Those who’d already had replete magnesium levels saw their urinary excretion increase, suggesting that excess magnesium does get absorbed but not retained. Epsom salt baths also provide bioavailable sulfate, a hugely important but underappreciated mineral in our physiology.

Read More

Dear Mark: Meditation for Neuroplasticity, Astragalus, and Red Light Therapy

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First, did I mess up by not mentioning meditation in the neuroplasticity post? Yes, and you’ll find out more below. Next, what are my thoughts on taking astragalus for fighting off colds and flus? Does it work? And finally, does red light therapy have the potential to reduce chronic pain? Does it do anything else?

Let’s go:

I’m sorry that meditation is not mentioned, but magic mushrooms are. Meditation increases white matter in the brain (which influences efficiency of electrical signals in brain), and lessens shrinkage due to age. Meditation also has a positive influence on the preservation of telomere length and telomerase activity (when these shorten, we experience adverse aging effects). I would much rather do it the natural way (via meditation) than taking a chance with hallucinogens.

Susan Grace

Thanks for your comment, Susan. This is why I love my readers. They call me out.

Everything you say is true. Meditation is a powerful trigger for neuroplasticity.

Mindfulness meditation can undo stress-induced changes to connectivity in the amygdala (the “fear” center).

Experienced meditators show enhanced neural plasticity and even structural changes to the brain (both gray and white matter).

Like seemingly everything else out there, the relationship between meditation history and neuroplasticity follows a U-shaped curve. Beginners show less neuroplasticity activation than more experienced meditators, who show more activation than advanced meditators. How can this be?

Read More

Join Over 300,000 Subscribers!

Signup and get:

Primal Blueprint Fitness plus 7 other eBooks
7-Day Course on Primal Fundamentals
Special Offers and More!