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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Tag: men’s health

Dear Mark: Infrared Sauna Roundup

After last week’s post on infrared saunas, people asked some good questions. For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a few of them. First up, can infrared saunas harm male fertility? After all, they do penetrate the skin and raise body temperature, which is a no-no for sperm. Next, infrared saunas induce lots of sweating, and sweat contains bioaccumulated toxins like BPA and heavy metals. Can infrared saunas help us shed these toxins? Finally, are infrared-emitting blankets and other “topical” infrared products effective alternatives to infrared saunas?

Let’s go:

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8 Essential Tips for Primal Men

Men I know. I am one, after all. Have been for many years. For the most part, I enjoy it. It’s worked out really well for me. I don’t find it particularly difficult to be a man. Once I dialed in the basics of this Primal stuff, my health improved and my fitness became more well-rounded and applicable to the things I enjoyed doing. I haven’t struggled much. But many people do. And while the majority of Primal advice is geared toward humans in general, I’ll just get this out of the way early: These “men’s tips” all apply to many women, too. And many of the “women’s tips” from last week’s post also apply to men. But ignoring the gender-specificity of general trends serves no one. Everyone has the capacity for competitiveness; men tend to have more. Both genders can benefit from fasting, but women are more likely to have negative responses. Men and women both need sleep; lack of it hits women harder. That’s all. As always, if you recognize yourself in these tips, go for it!

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Dear Mark: Do I Need to Eat More, Testosterone Levels, HRV and Carbs

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three reader questions. First, if things are going well on a relatively low-calorie intake, should you just keep on keepin’ on or should you increase food intake to “get ahead” of your needs? Next, what’s the deal with a study showing a high-carb diet is better for testosterone levels than a high-protein one? What does this mean for your Primal way of eating? And finally, can an improvement in heart rate variability after a carb refeed indicate a greater need for carbs?

Let’s go:

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Should You Reduce Your Iron Intake?

Iron has an unequivocally positive reputation among the general public. After all, pregnant women use it to construct tiny humans, tiny humans use it to become slightly larger, more functional humans, and our cells require it to grow. And in many developing countries, iron deficiency is a real issue. Too little iron can have disastrous effects on cognition, growth, and overall physical robustness. Even adult women who aren’t building tiny humans inside their wombs may run low on iron due to menstrual cycle blood loss. Ask the average person and you’ll hear “the more iron, the better.” Consequently, many countries mandate iron fortification of wheat flour; in the US, we fortify pretty much everything with the stuff because it’s just so, so good for us. Is it true, though?

Not necessarily.

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Dear Mark: Sun Exposure and Eyesight; Vasectomies

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a quick two-parter. First, I discuss the pros and cons of ocular sunlight exposure in children (and adults). Should kids leave the house with a pair of wraparound goggles every single time, or are their prepubescent eyes safe without them? If too much sun exposure is bad, is none the best? Then, we cover the pros and cons of getting a vasectomy. Are there real health risks, like increased chances of cancer and/or heart disease? Will you lose functionality down there and experience a drop in testosterone?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Young Guy, Low Testosterone; RS for Babies; and Sprints vs Tempo Runs

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I answer three questions. First up is a young guy with low testosterone. He eats the right foods, does the right exercises, and has lived the right number of years, but he’s saddled with the testosterone of a much older man and wants to know why. Next, I discuss whether resistant starch is suitable or important for infants. The parents are benefiting from it, but does that mean an infant needs it, too? And finally, I explore the value of tempo runs – tough but doable runs maintained at the anaerobic threshold pace – for fat loss. How do they compare to my favorite fat burning exercise – sprints?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Milk Thistle and Estrogen, Low Libido, and Pollution Mitigation

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First, I cover the potentially estrogenic effects of milk thistle extract and discuss whether or not it’s a problem for your endocrine health that outweighs the benefits to liver health. Next, I discuss the reasons why someone might have a low libido eating a paleo style diet, and give a few potential solutions to explore. And finally, Carrie helps a reader figure out some ways to mitigate or avoid the damage wrought by air pollution. It’s everywhere these days, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit there and accept our fate.

Let’s go:

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Boxers or Briefs?

Believe it or not, it’s a question I get fairly often: “Grok didn’t wear tighty-whities. Should I?”

From time to time, I like to have some fun and expand the scope of this blog beyond the regular topics. Health and wellness, after all, come down to far more than just diet and exercise (and sleep and sun and stress, for that matter). So I’ve written about everything from the benefits of squat toiletsgoing poo-less, and stand-up workstations to the dangers of excessive sitting, nighttime light exposure, and passive living. Today, I’m going to branch out again. Today, I’ll attempt to answer what sages, wise men, gurus, and guys sitting around in gym locker rooms could not: boxers or briefs (or nothing at all)? So fill your cup and let’s dig in.

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Gender Differences in Fat Metabolism

A few months ago, I addressed the role gender plays in how we respond to intermittent fasting. That post sparked a great discussion, and I’ve since received a fair number of emails from readers eager to learn other ways in which gender plays a role in our health and nutrition. One email in particular set me off on a round of research. So, a hat tip to you, Winifred, for giving me something to think, learn, and write about. I hope everyone finds it to be helpful.

As you may know, women and men store and metabolize fat differently from each other, and a 2008 paper (PDF) reviewed the evolutionary reasons for these differences. Here’s a summary of their findings and few other noteworthy factoids:

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Are Cell Phones Bad for Male Fertility?

Ideally, the introduction of a novel stimulus to our environment would be preceded by rigorous safety studies conducted by independent researchers. Applied to industrial seed oils, wheat, running shoes, and office chairs, this protocol could have saved us a lot of pain and suffering. If you wait until way after the fact to wonder whether they might be bad for us – as we tend to do – these admittedly inexpensive/addictive/profit-reaping stimuli become entrenched. They become part of the culture. Wheat and soybeans? Much of the world depends on both or either, for food, livestock feed, and cooking oil. Most runners, walkers, and orthopedists think barefooting is suicidal, and you’ll pull something trying to pry chairs away from our tight, stiff hips.

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