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
June 05, 2013

The “Inevitabilities” of Aging: How Inevitable Are They?

By Mark Sisson
179 Comments

Flip It OverHow many times have you heard some old timer attribute the dysfunction of a body part or physiological attribute to “gettin’ old”? Or how about that time you tweaked your back and everyone was quick to tell you to get used to it because it’s never going to get any better? “It’s all downhill after 30!” The funny thing is that this is somehow supposed to make you feel better about your prospects. Some people, I guess, prefer to have control over their health wrested out of their hands and distributed to the fates. Some people like the idea of letting “nature take its course.” At least that way nothing that goes wrong is your fault, because you never had a chance anyway. You were always destined to get all soft and flabby, lose your hearing, get brittle bones, and be unable to go to the toilet by yourself. Right?

Wrong. Age isn’t “just” a number, and we can’t maintain Dorian Gray-esque vigor all through life, but that doesn’t mean we’re destined to be frail, brittle things relegated to chairs and walkers and homes and doctor’s offices.

Today, let’s take a look at some common “inevitabilities” of aging and why they may not be so inevitable after all.

Loss of Testosterone

Most men see the age-related decline in testosterone as inevitable, and who can blame them? Testosterone levels do generally decline with age. Younger guys generally do pack on muscle faster and easier than older guys. The association is strong, constant, and almost unwavering. But it’s not inevitable. The passage of time, the changing of seasons, the number of candles on your gluten-free birthday cake do not determine your production of testosterone. Rather, what you do, what you eat, how you exercise, how much body fat you carry, and how much stress you deal with all affect your testosterone levels.

A generational drop in testosterone has been observed. Twenty years go, men of all ages had higher testosterone levels than their counterparts today, meaning an average 50 year old guy in 1993 had higher testosterone than an average 50 year old guy in 2013. Something other than aging is lowering testosterone across the board. This shows that T production is subject to other factors, not just aging.

A recent study found that the “age-related” declinations in testosterone were modified by body weight changes and other lifestyle factors. As body weight went up, T went down. As body weight went down, T went up. As a side note, smoking cessation was associated with a lowering of testosterone, but I wouldn’t recommend picking up the habit as a way to curb T decline. Another study found that metabolic syndrome exacerbates testosterone deficiency.

As long as they maintained “excellent or very good health,” men over the age of forty experienced no declines in testosterone in a recent study. Those who did experience declines appeared to do so because of other “disorders that accumulate during aging, including obesity and heart disease.” Age itself had no independent effect.

Cortisol, the stress hormone which opposes testosterone, tends to increase with age. Higher cortisol, lower testosterone. Controlling your stress may not ensure high testosterone, but at least you’ll be taking care of one potential factor.

What about women? Women make and use testosterone, too, but their relationship with the hormone isn’t the same as men’s. As I mentioned earlier, men can stave off age-related testosterone deficiency by staying healthy and avoiding metabolic syndrome. In women, obesity actually increases circulating testosterone levels. This is because women make testosterone in body fat, in addition to the ovaries and adrenal glands. But before you go and gain a bunch of testosterone-boosting body fat, you should realize that women are extremely sensitive to testosterone’s effects. Too little testosterone is bad and associated with a lagging libido, lower lean mass, heart disease, and poor bone density, but too much testosterone is associated with type 2 diabetes, PCOS, and breast cancer (although this breast cancer connection may be explained by the conversion of excess testosterone into estradiol, and other evidence suggests that testosterone may even be protective against breast cancer).

So, as women age, they’re not so much concerned with “increasing testosterone.” They’re trying to keep their production in the sweet spot that maintains libido, bone, and muscle health without venturing into excess. But I strongly suspect that staying healthy, avoiding metabolic syndrome, and controlling stress will help women just as much as men.

Creaky Joints

Back when I was running, eating, and training like a madman, I had fairly bad arthritis. But not in my knee, or my hips, or my ankles. I had arthritis of the fingers, arthritis so severe that I had trouble holding a pen at times. I figured it was just part of getting old (like everyone told me) and tried to make the best of it. Maybe I’d even be one of those guys that can predict the weather based on the pain level in his joints. When I went grain-free, however, the arthritis evaporated. It just stopped. Now, although there’s not a lot of research into diet and arthritis, there is some strong evidence that rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, can be exacerbated by dietary lectins from grains and legumes. The conventional wisdom is that osteoarthritis is purely “wear and tear” arthritis, separate from rheumatoid arthritis, independent of dietary and inflammatory factors, and pretty much inevitable if you live long enough, but (obviously) I disagree.

Other than dietary factors, simple, chronic inactivity is the major causative factor in the development of stiff, creaky joints. There are no studies on the subject that I know of, but we all know it to be true. Just ask yourself: how do you feel after a day of sitting on your butt and being sedentary? Stiff, tight, and altogether immobile. Now, imagine an entire lifetime of that, and you get the oldster who can’t tie his own shoes or get up off the toilet.

Loss of Lean Mass

True, people tend to lose muscle mass as they age, but that’s primarily because they tend to stop exercising – if they ever did in the first place. Some muscle loss just happens, but not all, or even most of it. We can and should maintain lean mass as we age. Grandma isn’t likely to get ripped, but many studies show that seniors can still gain lean mass through resistance training:

Even immediately after hip surgery, the elderly can utilize resistance training to put on lean mass.

In elderly women, resistance training induces hypertrophy and lowers inflammation.

Stroke survivors (aged 50-76) were able to enjoy significant hypertrophy with strength training.

Even in subjects older than 80, strength training seems to counter the effects of sarcopenia, or muscle wasting.

Heartening, eh? Just be wary of trying to do too much; one study of older subjects showed that strength training alone was more effective at inducing hypertrophy than a combination of strength and endurance training.

Another cause of muscle wasting in the elderly is low testosterone, which we’ve already covered above. Take steps to mitigate that and resistance training will be even more effective.

Brittle Bones

It’s a terrible thing, to slip and fall in the shower, or while walking through the neighborhood, and end up with a broken hip or wrist for your trouble. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. It shouldn’t be that way, just because you gained a few years.

Nutritional factors certainly play a role:

Vitamin D, which we can get from sun, food, or supplements, is crucial for maintaining bone mineral density. Without it, we’re unable to utilize calcium.

Vitamin K2 is also important and has been shown to improve bone mineral density in older folks with osteoporosis. Without it, we’re unable to put calcium where it belongs (in bones).

Calcium intake, particularly from food (and dairy if you tolerate it), helps determine bone health. We sometimes forget about the raw building blocks in favor of the co-factors (perhaps because conventional wisdom has done the opposite), but we shouldn’t. It matters, too.

Though they get less attention than the previous three, other nutrients, like potassium and magnesium (to name a couple) are also required for good, strong bones.

But nutrition is useless without activity – physical stimulation of the musculoskeletal system. In order for exercise to improve bone mineral density, it must satisfy several requirements. It should be dynamic, not static. It needs to challenge you. You need to progress in weight, intensity, and duration. It should be “relatively brief but intermittent.” No long drawn out sessions that do nothing but overwork and overtrain you. Keep it short and intense. Also, the exercise should place an unusual loading pattern on the bones. That could be different movements, or increased resistance, as long as you’re introducing something “new” to the body. Finally, for exercise to improve bone mineral density it must be supported by sufficient nutrition, especially calcium and vitamin D.

Hearing Loss

Everyone’s got a grandpa whose favorite word is “Huh?” and everyone “knows” that your hearing goes the older you get. But why? Is it a feature inherent to aging? While there’s indeed something called presbycusis, which describes the cumulative effect of aging on hearing, it’s difficult to disentangle true presbycusis from all the other factors that can also affect our hearing. First, of course, is our exposure to noise, either repeated (working in a metal shop) or traumatic (witnessing a massive explosion). The more noise we hear, and the louder it is, the faster our hearing goes, all else being equal. Consider the classic study of the Mabaan people of the Sudan. The Mabaan were completely isolated from industrialization, and without firearms, cars, factories, or any other manmade sources of loud noises, the hearing of their elderly was just as sharp as the hearing of Westernized young adults. It hadn’t degraded at all over the years, showing that noise exposure, rather than aging, is the main arbiter of hearing ability.

At the heart of noise-induced hearing loss appears to be oxidative stress. Upon a loud enough noise, the overstimulated hair cells within the ear generate reactive oxygen species, which damage the cells and eventually impair hearing. Studies have shown that boosting endogenous antioxidant (glutathione) status following noise exposure can reduce hearing loss. Preliminary evidence suggests that dietary precursors to glutathione (NAC) can also reduce hearing loss. It’s likely that eating a diet rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, and other antioxidant compounds could have similar preventive effects. This might be our best bet, short of escaping civilization and avoiding all loud noises.

As people age, their lifestyles suffer. They work more and longer hours. They sleep less. They accumulate more stress, and do more stress-eating. They stop moving as much, particularly if their new adult jobs force them to sit for eight hours a day. They live more poorly, and, in turn, suffer many of the health maladies we regard as “part of getting old.” I’m not suggesting that aging has zero effect on our physiological health. If nothing else, it makes us more vulnerable to our poor lifestyles and gives us more time to accumulate further damage (loud noises, stress-causing responsibilities, etc). I’m just saying that we give it a lot more power that it deserves. By doing that, we cede control over our own health to some abstract function of space-time. If aging is gonna get ya, it’s gonna get ya. Let’s do our best to hold it off at the pass, shall we?

TAGS:  Aging, hormones

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

179 Comments on "The “Inevitabilities” of Aging: How Inevitable Are They?"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Onge
Onge
3 years 3 months ago

Good news all round then 🙂

Kara
Kara
3 years 3 months ago

Primal living hasn’t erased my wrinkles, eliminated my grey hair or enabled me to read fine print without cheater glasses BUT my energy levels, cognition and zest for life have dramatically improved.
Primal living is the fountain of youth
Looking 61 but feeling 40 again,
Kara

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 3 months ago

About that gray hair–eat more beef liver to get more catalase into your system. Catalase is what prevents gray hair. Miss Clairol be damned!

I wish I’d known this back when I was in my 30’s, when the gray hair was just getting started.

Carla
Carla
3 years 3 months ago

If it takes consuming liver to prevent gray hair, then I will just be gray.

Danielle Thalman
Danielle Thalman
3 years 3 months ago

Hahahaha yes me too

Barnaby Nichols
3 years 3 months ago

Try some rose veal liver. It is extremely tender and does not have that overly intense metallic tang of beef or lamb liver. If you soak the livers in milk overnight and then rinse them, this will draw even more of that intensity out. Then pan fry like a soft, ultra-nutritious steak. If that’s still too much, bang it in a stew with some other cuts to ‘dilute’ it a bit. Learn to love liver and live longer!

JRM
JRM
3 years 3 months ago

Liverwurst FTW!

Diane
Diane
3 years 3 months ago

How about other liver, like chicken liver? Does that work as well as beef liver?

Garde
Garde
3 years 3 months ago

Chicken liver make you into a blonde while lamb’s liver makes you a brunette.

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
3 years 3 months ago

Garde, Wow! who knew? Now if I could just figure out which liver to counteract having my Dad’s poker-straight hair (his was thick, lots of body) with my Mom’s very, very fine hair (hers was naturally wavy; alas, mine is poker-straight and way, way fine!)

Yes, I get there are lots of nutritional things that can impact our looks. Seems to me the reason to eat liver is internal rather than external.

I could be wrong; I’ve been wrong before

Sharon
Sharon
3 years 3 months ago
Liver is a bit of an aquired taste, but as with many foods i think the trick is in how you prepare it. I enjoy liver when i cut it up in small pieces and sorta marinate it for a bit. Olive oil, salt and pepper, turmeric, ginger and curry powder and some fresh sage. Leave it for a bit then bake the lot in a pan. Not too long so it doesn’t get chewy but long enough as to make the weird pink texture go away. It’s easier to cook cut up in small pieces i find. I bought… Read more »
Sophia
3 years 3 months ago

I’ve had horrible eye sight since age of 10. it’s been a slow decline year after year.

However, this year, after 2 years of eating primally, is the first time in my life that my eyesight improved. i would have been thrilled if it just plateaued and not get a stronger prescription but to have my prescription improve, even incrementally, was beyond my imagination.

Proof here: http://getfitinchbyinch.com/nutrition-and-the-impact-on-eyesight/

Ez
Ez
3 years 3 months ago

That is awesome. One more reason to really try and clean up food choices.

Raynote
Raynote
3 years 3 months ago

Same with me! I’m 62, and getting younger…

Alison Golden
3 years 3 months ago

You don’t talk about fertility here. Having a vast and varied experience, it is my opinion that when many doctors talking about aging ovaries, what they really mean (and often don’t recognize) is that those ovaries are being affected more by poor health more than aging. It is clear from earlier generations that women are able to reproduce at much later ages than we commonly accept in the 21st century.

Alison Golden
3 years 3 months ago

“more by poor health than aging*

Amy
Amy
3 years 3 months ago

I was able to conceive much faster at 39 on a Primal diet than at 25 on SAD/vegetarian. (1 cycle verus 5 or 6) I joked with my husband that after this baby was born, I should probably consider birth control if I was merely walking past a men’s locker room.

tay
tay
3 years 3 months ago

Wow, I am so happy to hear about your success. I can only help that I have the same, I have been a veggie since age 13 and I am now 39 as well. I really want to be super healthy before I try to conceive this is just the encouragement I need to take the step to primal!

Anne
Anne
3 years 3 months ago

I’m 40 and pregnant (we weren’t even trying – actually trying NOT to by tracking ovulation) and I think it’s because my husband and I are both eating primal. It’s like we’re aging in reverse! I often get confused as my 14 year old’s sister lately. I’m sure once I start showing that might change though. 🙂

Fiona
Fiona
3 years 3 months ago

Hmm scary! When I was in my 20s and eating SAD I was able to conceive right away (three times)… now I’m eating primal at 40 I’ll have to be super careful!!

Sophia
3 years 3 months ago

This is very interesting…do you have links re past generations being able to conceive at much later ages than we are now? Thanks!

zack
zack
3 years 3 months ago

to the brittle bones: This story (while it was about recovery from an injury) sheds a lot of light on why lifting heavy things is important

http://startingstrength.com/articles/brian_jones_story.pdf

Groktimus Primal
3 years 3 months ago

I knew listening to loud overbearing Conventional Wisdom could make you go deaf (and dumb)!

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 3 months ago

…and dead.

Hilda
Hilda
3 years 3 months ago

Need a “Like” button here!

JulieD
JulieD
3 years 3 months ago

ditto

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
3 years 3 months ago

exactly.

Heather
Heather
3 years 3 months ago

My mom was talking about one of my Dad’s friends. He’s around 70-ish and is healthy (by conventional standards). My mom said “he was blessed with good health”. ???!!! I laughed and said “so the rest of us are screwed then? Did you hear what you just said? We have to be BLESSED with good health now!!??” It used to be all downhill after 50. Then it was 40, now 30. I must be going in reverse, then. 🙂

basil cronus
basil cronus
3 years 3 months ago

Great article Mark. I too, prior to cleaning up my diet, attributed my problems to aging. Thanks for clearing up some other age related misconceptions I had.

Shary
Shary
3 years 3 months ago

I get so irritated with people who claim that every health issue they have is a result of getting older. Meanwhile, these same people eat a junkfood diet full of sweets and grain products, get little exercise, and often carry a spare tire around their waist. It doesn’t do any good to point out the error of their thinking because they’re convinced that’s “just the way it is.” Sometimes you can’t even lead the horse to water, much less make him drink.

Patrick Z
3 years 3 months ago

Does caffeine produce Cortisol?

Roger
Roger
3 years 3 months ago
Angie
Angie
3 years 3 months ago

Caffeine apparently slows metabolism of cortisol. Cortisol is highest in the I-Hate-Mornings, and declines throughout the day, but declines more slowly if you caffeinate.

David Pryor
David Pryor
3 years 3 months ago

There is a great (imo) book I read several years ago, before I found Mark’s book, titled “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley. Many of the ideas expressed there line up very well with Mark’s Primal recommendations: lift weights, and develop a strong social network, for examples.

The authors also discuss some pretty interested things about our physiology on a cellular level which tie in very well with the science behind Primal living.

Worth a read.

Andrea
Andrea
3 years 3 months ago

Younger Next year is very much aligned with Mark’s thoughts on aging.

Rodney
Rodney
3 years 3 months ago

David, thanks for the book idea!

Three years ago when I turned 45 I finally got tired of attributing any health complaint to “aging.” I made a point of deciding that I would feel younger at age 50 than I did on that 45th birthday. My focus changes at times to keep my interest up, but I find ways to improve mobility, diet, and general well being, and chip away without worrying about perfection.

I still have nearly two years to go, but I suspect I will simply continue this indefinitely since it seems to be working well for me.

trailrunner
trailrunner
3 years 3 months ago

My Mom who is 72 told me she is starting to pee on herself because she is getting older. I told her to do Kegel exercises and there will be no need to wear diapers. She just shrugged it off. I think she’ll be perfectly happy in diapers. Makes me sad.

jenny
jenny
2 years 3 months ago

Cool idea, Rodney! I too, am 45 and am going to adopt your idea! Love it.

trackback

[…] The “Inevitabilities” of Aging: How Inevitable Are They? | Mark's Daily Apple Damn sad for lao unker like me __________________ 1st time iHerb users – get 10% off using my code – YAQ580 […]

Andrea
Andrea
3 years 3 months ago

All I have to do is look at my mid-late 60s parents since they decided to hit it up Paleo style last year to know that age BS. They were just out to help us move this weekend and they left me exhausted – and I’m the one who hasn’t been eating well and moving enough lately. But a couple of years ago, they were in the same boat, and definitely feeling “old.”

Alexander
3 years 3 months ago

Wow what a fantastic article. I had no idea about the tribe in Sudan… very cool to read about.

Super Mike
Super Mike
3 years 3 months ago

I just turned 60. Feel like 30. Act like I’m 13.
Thanks to being primal/paleo for 7 years.

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 3 months ago

+1. 57, feel like 28, but I do act older than 13 (maybe 25). Thanks Mark for all you do. Paleo is like Ponce De Leon finding the real waters of youth…

Deanna
Deanna
3 years 3 months ago
I have a creaky right knee at 30, which just didn’t seem right to me, and my acupuncturist recommended eliminating nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers) for a while and see if that made it any better. She was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her mid-20s and thought the whole nightshade thing was hogwash until she tried it herself. She said she never even noticed that she was better until one day, not even thinking, she had potato salad and some tomatoes, and woke up the next morning with her arthritis acting up. So maybe if cutting out grains and legumes… Read more »
Akimajuktuq
Akimajuktuq
3 years 3 months ago

A primal lifestyle resolved all of my health problems last year, except, like you, my right knee remained painful. By accident, I eliminated nightshades for two weeks (I keep a food diary so was able to go back and see what I did differently) and the pain was GONE. I did add nightshades back (mostly tomatoes and peppers) but in very small amounts and not every day, and 6 months later I am still pain free. I am doing full squats, lots of them, for the first time in my life. I’m 40 and getting younger by the month!

Kristin
Kristin
3 years 3 months ago

Ugh – don’t tell me that! I convinced my Mexican husband to start eating Paleo last year, and he has been wonderful about giving up grains – even the corn and rice that were a mainstay of his diet. I don’t think he could bear to give up peppers – but his issues with pain are more fibromyalgia/muscle related stuff. Joints seem to be okay. If and when he ever mentions joint pain, I’ll mention the nightshades. 😉
(Not the first time I’ve heard that, though. And we are off potatoes…!)

Shary
Shary
3 years 3 months ago
According to Dr. Barry Sears in his book, “The Anti-Inflammation Zone”, a very good remedy for musculoskeletal pain is high-dose fish oil. In fact, Sears, a medical research scientist, claims that high-dose fish oil is incredibly beneficial for a number of ailments. The dosage for “screaming pain” (as he refers to it) is 7.5 grams of EPA/DHA (about one tablespoon) per day. Apparently it takes about a month to see relief. I am currently trying this for chronic inflammation that developed in a knee I injured last fall. I’ve only been doing the high dose fish oil for about 2… Read more »
Shary
Shary
3 years 3 months ago

One caveat regarding fish oil: It is a natural blood thinner and probably shouldn’t be taken in large amounts if one has a bleeding problem or is taking pharmaceuticals to thin the blood. Also, once pain relief is achieved and sustained for a 2-week period, the fish oil dosage can gradually be reduced.

Kristin
Kristin
3 years 3 months ago

We do do fish oil, and he’s been eating more fish….. One thing that seems to be really helping is magnesium oil. I had him taking oral supplements a while back, with seemingly no effect, before I realized “Well duh – it doesn’t matter how much he takes if his gut is messed up – he won’t absorb it anyway!”. So we switched to oil. (That’s topical, of course). Much better. If you’re not using it for your own pain, we highly recommend it! 🙂

Dr Jason
3 years 3 months ago

It is a blood thinner, but daily tolerated doses add up quick. In studies comparing Fish Oil to ibuprofen for long term back pain, FISH OIL WINS.
As a Chiropractor, I request all my patients get on fish oil. Of course, only a few actually listen too me. 🙁

Diane
Diane
3 years 3 months ago

Is “fish oil” the same as cod liver oil? I know that cod is a fish, but are the 2 oils similar/same in properties? Or does the CLO have different properties than a more genericly-named fish oil?

Heather
Heather
3 years 3 months ago
I was diagnosed with FM a few years ago. It got me started on my health journey (6 months before I found Primal Blueprint). My diet got way off track and I had a nasty flare up (they coincide with a Reactive Hypoglycemia flare up. Connected? I have no idea). I started taking amino acid supplements. 5-HTP, GABA, The 5-HTP (I found the info in a book called The Mood Cure; also in Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic – these supps are great for killing sugar cravings) is an alternative medicine that is used to treat FM (NOW Supplements are really… Read more »
Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 3 months ago

That’s why they call it the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)–it eliminates nightshades, eggs, and other pro-inflammatory foods.

Joan
Joan
3 years 3 months ago

Fish oil, and most other natural remedies for inflammation, work by the same mechanism as NSAIDs. So another caveat is don’t take fish oil or tart cherry juice, with NSAIDs. I researched this a few years back when I had frozen shoulder and concluded that there was not any advantage of fish oil over an NSAID in terms of long-term bad effects such as stomach bleeding, kidney disease, etc. There was not any evidence that fish oil helped with heart disease long-term, even though it does improve blood lipid profiles.

Ellie Winslow
3 years 3 months ago

Nice to see more info about aging–many of us paying attention to the blueprint are older even than Mark! I like to showcase the exploits of the very old in my blog now and then. I think they show us the potential for all humans rather than just something exceptional.

I’m banking on that, too, as I started my own homestead/farm from scratch at age 68 this year! Thanks for this one, Mark!

Diane
Diane
3 years 3 months ago

“Like” “Big thumbs up! “

Rhonda the Red
Rhonda the Red
3 years 3 months ago
I sure needed to hear this one today! The last few weeks have been hell on wheels b/c my monthly cycle was two weeks late. At my age (just nearly 47) all I can think of is approaching menopause since the other option is a surgical impossibility! I am so much better off since I began trying to live primally. I don’t hurt like I used to, my skin is better, my energy levels are so much higher and my sleep is better. But this past two weeks all that went away due to the hormone rollercoaster. Carrie’s new book… Read more »
Tatler
Tatler
3 years 3 months ago
I really feel for you – that was me 5 years ago at 42 years old. Every month I would go through the feeling “am I pregnant? or menopausal?”. Turns out I was menopausal. Not good to go through menopause at 42 – it made me feel like a dried up old prune.. You have to be aware that the hormonal feeling may in the end make you feel like you are going crazy, and then add the absolute zero libido, hot flushes etc and you are feeling like a big, fat nothing… i would really encourage every 40 something… Read more »
Sally
3 years 3 months ago
It was through ill health (ME/CFS) that I found Primal and this site. I have been grain free since December and definitely find some symptoms lessened. However I am still VERY restricted in how much I can physically do on a day to day basis. I have lost a load of muscle mass (and my weight has also dropped although I am within the healthy BMI range) and I feel I am now what can be called “skinny fat”. However I was advised that giving my muscles some “resistance” training would help halt the muscle decline and since making more… Read more »
Anders
Anders
3 years 3 months ago

I would love to see more a definitive piece on maintaining/healing joints (ie ankle and knee care) on this site. I play a LOT of squash (highly encouraged -about the best workout you can imagine) and have noticed it taking a toll on my ankles and knees.

Foggy dude
3 years 3 months ago

Apart from the primal diet and supplements, I recommend checking out Pete Egoscue’s book ‘Pain Free’ and Kelly Starett’s book ‘Becoming a Supple Leopard’. I believe he also has a bunch of free videos online at mobilityWOD.com

Akimajuktuq
Akimajuktuq
3 years 3 months ago
Nightshades were the issue for me. I unwittingly eliminated them last November (was Primal-grain free since August) and my pain went away. I have reintroduced them but only in small amounts and not every day. No joint pain still. (This coming from someone diagnosed as a child with a “cartilage disease”. Throughout my life there were times I could barely walk, and I almost underwent surgery-thank god I didn’t- and endured other treatments and meds. And all forms of arthritis “run in the family”. BS.) I have been trying to help other family members but they just can’t wrap their… Read more »
Sharon
Sharon
3 years 3 months ago

Stinging nettle is wonderful for bone health. I started drinking nettle infusion for energy but noticed after a couple of weeks that my knee pain had disappeared completely. It’s bursting with minerals for good bone health.

Foggy dude
3 years 3 months ago

I once showed a picture of Mark to my dad. His response, “The guy’s probably on steroids.”

There’s just no winning this one. 😀

Kristin
Kristin
3 years 3 months ago

I know it’s been said before, but what a shame – when we see someone who is literally the picture of health, we cynically attribute it to steroids. Or in the case of women – “surely she’s had work done”………!

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 3 months ago

Yeah, she’s had work done…in the Crossfit box, the HIIT floor, the indoor jungle gym, and in the kitchen.

Amy
Amy
3 years 3 months ago

If women have work done, it seems like it’s focused on the face and the chest first.

Women who have worked and taken care of themselves look beautiful — and if there’s no work done, somewhat small chested, usually. 🙂

Ara
Ara
3 years 3 months ago

I agree. I sent ‘Caveman Dave’s” success story to my brother-in-law to help encourage him and he thought it was all fake. Couldn’t/wouldn’t believe the results. Oh well…

Jon
Jon
3 years 3 months ago
I have noticed much thicker facial hair since I went paleo 10 months ago. I was never able to sport sideburns, and the last haircut I had, I walked out with some Martin Van Buerens-the barber just did it and I didn’t even notice until I got home. I am 46, so I don’t think its a late bloomer kind of thing. Beard is much thicker too with no noticeable increase in nose or ear hair-ha. Alas, if only I saw some improvement up top, I could be sporting a head of lettuce like Mark. Bring on the Corvette and… Read more »
Miryem
Miryem
3 years 3 months ago

Hahaha “Martin Van Burens” that’s awesome. Someone’s gotta bring back lambchops, they’re sexy.

Tielle
Tielle
3 years 3 months ago

Strontium is the latest “darling” of the supplement world for bone building qualities. I have looked it up and there is a mixed bag of information. What does Grok think about Strontium?

Diane
Diane
3 years 3 months ago
I hang out with a lot of old men in their 60s and 70s. I never talk to them because they can’t hear anything I say. It’s very annoying. Just get a proper hearing aid already, ya know? They make them so invisible nowadays nobody notices. But even more annoying is I hang out with a lot of physically active old men. We go on trail maintenance trips. They carry in heavy tools and cut brush with loppers and hand saws and saw trees with cross-cut saws. But they all complain about the brain fog and the arthritis and the… Read more »
terrence chaplin
terrence chaplin
3 years 3 months ago

re; the older men who cannot hear well. i would love a hearing aid. you sound so pompous! insurance does not cover them! they are costly. I have hearing loss and tinnitus and really would love one, but your attitude sucks! why not teach some of them somethings rather than just trash them for not knowing anything!

James
3 years 3 months ago

Honestly, after nearly 2 years on a GF/Primal/Paleo diet, I feel and look better than I did when I was in my 20s. And I’m approaching 40. I’ve adjusted my lifestyle to be one of steady, consistent movement. I found a job (that I love) where I can work from home, enjoy the freedom to take breaks (going outside or knocking out a quick workout), and use a standing desk. The effort you put into improving your life corresponds to how much you will enjoy your life.

Primalsaber
Primalsaber
3 years 3 months ago

Thank you for this. My parents have that helpless “it’s just gonna happen” mentality, and it’s so far from the truth.

K.Gopal Rao
K.Gopal Rao
3 years 3 months ago
Reg hearing loss (presbycuosis), my predicament (90% in the left, some 60% in the rt at age 74) is certainly attributable in part to xs noise in earlier yrs. As a rly. mech engineer in the glory days of steam, it used to be the macho thing to stand by without flinching while a 5 ton hammer went banging away on a chunk of steel, and the less said about boiler repair shops the better. However, neural health has a lot to do with it. Some 8-10 yrs ago, on a train journey, a sudden jolt did something inside my… Read more »
Nicholle
Nicholle
3 years 3 months ago
I’m in my early 50s and was told a few years ago by my doctor that the osteoarthritis in my fingers (from flute playing) and knee (from running) was age related and there was nothing I could do about it. When I went gluten free, all the pain disappeared, along with my stiff ankles and other painful creaky bits. I’m still trying to convince my doctor that I don’t need calcium supplements to stave off osteoporosis–I lift weights (in the form of kettlebells) regularly and even compete in girevoy sport from time to time (I beat women who are 20… Read more »
George
George
3 years 3 months ago

Depending on your budget and diet restrictions / philosophy some d-Ribose and / or BCAA’s pre and a whey protein drink post workout may help, works pretty well for me (60 year old guy).

Nicholle
Nicholle
3 years 3 months ago

Thanks!

Pure Hapa
Pure Hapa
3 years 3 months ago

I spend time in Florida each year visiting aging relatives. It’s a nice eye-opener each time because in these elder-communities you see plenty of healthy, active seniors. Biking, swimming, going to the gym, dancing, partying, golfing into their 90s. Having fun and enjoying life. It’s wonderful and encouraging. (Plus the Florida warmth and humidity in winter feel so good.)

Of course, being Primal over two years now, at 53 I feel youthful, vigorous, pain-free – I feel like a poster child for Mark’s article today. And, with hair color and makeup I think I look pretty good too – even naked!

trackback

[…] How many times have you heard some old timer attribute the dysfunction of a body part or physiological attribute to “gettin’ old”? Or how about that time you tweaked your back and everyone was quick to tell you to get used to it because it’s never going to get any better? “It’s all downhill after […]… Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Marianne
Marianne
3 years 3 months ago

Another primal “oldster” here. At age 63 I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been in my whole life. Yes, there’s the grey hair and the wrinkles and recovery time is probably longer than a 20-yr.-old’s, but I am bursting with vitality and free of many pre-primal aches and pains. Oh, and avoided statins and stopped blood pressure meds. I’m going with the “live long, drop dead” plan, and just wish conventional geriatric care could see the wisdom of this approach.

Joseph
Joseph
3 years 3 months ago

How about Tinnitus?? Can we turn that one around? I’ve read some who believe an anti-inflammatory diet (whatever that is for you) can make the ear-ringing subside.

Years back when I tried being a Raw Vegan (which I can’t fathom now!) my ear ringing totally went away – for years. Recently, it’s come back again with a vengeance, and I’m wondering what I can do to turn it around.

Any thoughts?

Amy
Amy
3 years 3 months ago

Do you eat dairy? It seems to me that the elimination of dairy products is why people can improve on vegan after coming straight from SAD.

Catharine s
Catharine s
3 years 3 months ago

My tinnitus seams much better since going primal. Had a lot of damage from flying airplanes with no ear protection and punk rock way back when.

terrence chaplin
terrence chaplin
3 years 3 months ago

i have had tinnitus for decades,from noise. recently my ENT gave me a samples of Lipoflavonids. they really do work. my tinnitus is much improved. give it a try.

terrence chaplin
terrence chaplin
3 years 3 months ago

just posted this: lipoflavoniods do work to lessen tinnitus. my ENT gave me a sample. can get it any drug store with the vitamins!

Linda A. Lavid
3 years 3 months ago

Another terrific post. Love how this site has awesome info for people of all ages with all kinds of health concerns.

kate@katemarrin
3 years 3 months ago

Reading articles like this just pumps me up even more. Back on the primal wagon after a month or two of gluten free grains, and feeling way better after two days!

Dan
Dan
3 years 3 months ago

Great to see this article. When somebody says the “we’re getting old thing” I just say “not me”. I’m 59 and have lifted weights since 14, have added yoga for the last 12 years as well 1-2x per week and walk 1-1/2 hours a day with my dogs. The yoga classes are quite challenging as you have to do body weight bearing poses and hold them. My body fat could be lower and I’m working to get back to being more lean. That’s the challenge, keeping the man boobs away!

Judy G
Judy G
3 years 3 months ago
Thank you thank you thank you! Where were you all my life? In my 20s I had no energy. In my 30s I napped sitting up just I used to find my Grandma doing. In my 40s everything hurt my stomach but it was ok…i know where I was headed as my Grandma tolerate very little. Lets not talk about joint pain after all it happens as you get older. I’m in my 50s, nap free, grain free, just free. Now I’m just mom on that crazy diet converting my husband and adult kids one meal at a time.
Nocona
Nocona
3 years 3 months ago

Great stuff Judy! It really does border on the miraculous. One meal at a time should do the trick.

Erin
Erin
3 years 3 months ago

It seems like whenever I get together with my family or future in-laws, all they talk about is how much a pain in the butt getting old is. Occasionally, even my patients will tell me “don’t ever get old.” Mark, I would love to hear your input on dementia. My 87 year old grandmother was recently diagnosed just a few months ago and is rapidly deteriorating. Some days the only thing she knows is her name. It’s interesting because she never gave into the conventional wisdom and, additionally, took daily walks all the way through her 70’s.

db
db
3 years 3 months ago

Two words for dementia

Coconut Oil

Renee
Renee
3 years 3 months ago

Hi! You said 2 words for dementia is coconut oil. Can you please explain this IN DETAIL more as I work with older people & some with dementia & I would love to make life easier for them. I am looking forward to hearing from you & your specifics as to why it works. I love coconut oil by the way. You don’t have to convince me, it’s the facts I need. Thanks! Renee

Jann Strasbaugh
Jann Strasbaugh
3 years 3 months ago
My son introduced me to the Primal Blueprint over 2 years ago when I was searching for a weight loss plan I could live with for the rest of my life. He told me as long as you follow the plan 80% of the time you will lose weight. That sounded good because it allowed me not feel like a failure if I ate something wrong like most other program/plans out there. After 2 yrs of eating Primal I have lost 105lbs and am in the best shape of my life. I even joined a gym and workout on regular… Read more »
mel
mel
3 years 3 months ago
Yay! i love this. I am turning a young 40 this year and while my mind sometimes gets freaked out about it (mainly because i haven’t had kids yet) i look and feel better than i did in my 20s. i LOVE physical activities, i run, SUP, surf, WOD etc for pure enjoyment of it. I get carded at least 4-5 times a year (HOORAH!) and so far only 3 gray hairs have popped up. I feel like i’m maybe 27…but with infinetely more wisdom. Best part is this is just me getting started. The “ageing” response is pure laziness.… Read more »
Dr Jason
3 years 3 months ago

I am 34 and was found to be LOW TESTOSTERONE. I learned first hand what that feels like and how dramatic the mental and physical effects are. I know inject every morning. I am convinced supplementation is not dangerous. My blood sugars are better (very important for longevity), my personality is perky, and I’m losing fat. Primal actually worked so well I improved levels on my own, but after adding in intense activity like Crossfit, I kept suffering low levels eventually. It is very hard to find doctors that will help this the right way.

Ryan
Ryan
3 years 3 months ago
How did you go about finding a doctor to help you with this? I had mine tested, and it was in the very low 300’s. They still consider this, the normal range, but it’s the bare minimum (even for someone who is 65), and I’m only 30! Planning on seeing an endocrinologist, but am expecting push back because I am a man, and this low level is considered in normal range (even though if it tested 10 lower it would be considered out of range). Expecting to be treating like I’m trying to get steroids, or lying to get pain… Read more »
Rod Hilton
Rod Hilton
3 years 3 months ago

Am 48 – Fit, Active, Happy, Healthy! Still immature ( so I’m told – but who are they!~LOL), I am the fun Dad of my daughters and their friends.
Thanks to Mark and the Daily Apple.

Dave
Dave
3 years 3 months ago

awesome! I get the same thing ( re being immature) but my girls love the fact that I skateboard, ride bikes, and just have a bunch of fun. The so called “mature” people can stuff it!

Green Deane
3 years 3 months ago
Noise is a prime contributor to deafness in the U.S. and is totally preventable. The worst offenders are loud music, lawn mowers, and motorcycles. For over 40 years I have always carried several pairs of ear plugs with me. Also over the years nearly all uses of music have gotten much louder. I have a running freud at my gym because of the ever increasing volume of muzak. It’s obnoxious even with ear plugs. Jet flights are louder and if I am riding my motorcycle more than a few minutes around town in go the plugs. At 63 I can… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
3 years 3 months ago

A running Freud at your gym? Did he go primal and is still alive?

Foggy dude
3 years 3 months ago
Lmao… You beat me to it.. About the loud music, it’s a serious issue. I used to be a musician and my band members used to rip on me for always wearing earplugs. Now I find myself listening to music on HALF the levels my friends do. I claim they’re all half deaf. I mean, if a mountain lion were to stalk up on them, they wouldn’t even know until it sank its teeth in their jugular. On a side note, since going semi-paleo, I have found my night vision has gone through the roof. Anyone else experience anything like… Read more »
trackback
Kim
Kim
3 years 3 months ago

Love the post.

Dana W
Dana W
3 years 3 months ago
Thanks, Mark! That’s a message I try to give to my patients every day! Mechanical stressors that lead to joint and soft tissue dysfunction tend to be cumulative, as well. If you stop moving long enough, or have enough trauma without proper treatment/rehab, you will wind up feeling, looking and moving like an oldster. Much of that can be undone mechanically, just as it can be with diet and life style. I’m always reiterating to patients: “What is COMMON should not be considered NORMAL.” We all have to raise the bar on aging. I appreciate Mark’s words of wisdom and… Read more »
BillP
BillP
3 years 3 months ago
“…to improve bone mineral density, … You need to progress in weight, intensity, and duration. This is confusingly stated; it seems to imply that one needs to always ratchet up the work, or all the gains will be lost, which isn’t true. As long as one is regularly doing more than before, there will be an increase in bone density (especially if there are no nutritional deficits). If one is very sedentary, just adding a mile+ per day should add significant density over time. Sure, one may plateau after a while, but there should not be a loss as long… Read more »
Rich
Rich
3 years 3 months ago
This article brought a different idea to my mind. It is a shame that young people are not taught how to get the most “mileage” out of their bodies. We should teach them how to conduct themselves so that they can grow old and not be an invalid. I am taking care of my dying father now. He’s home bound because he’s tied to an oxygen machine. He had diabetes. He has COPD and heart failure. Why? I blame the his sedentary lifestyle, smoking two packs of Kent per day for 30 years, and eating a bound of chocolate every… Read more »
Juli
Juli
3 years 3 months ago

I would just like to extend my compassion to you. I posted below about my dad who has made great choices but I watched my mom die very directly from some very bad choices. Choice might not be the word everyone uses but she was a heavy user of alcohol and cigs. Her doc told me at the end it was a race which got her first. It’s hard to watch, there is not much to say, and your wish of a better path for others is really wonderful perspective.

Dave
Dave
3 years 3 months ago

Was 70 lbs overweight and my knees always hurt. Went Paleo and have taken off 37 of those pounds off. Knees feel great, and I started skateboarding (longboard) again 45. I feel better than I did when I was 25!

Dr. Mark
3 years 3 months ago

I have patients in their 80s that would whack you with something heavy if you spoke to them about old age. The only way to slow them down would be to chain them to something. On the other hand, I have 50 year old’s who constantly talk about being “old” and have resigned themselves to a slow but inevitable decline as they sit in their easy chairs and wither away. While good nutrition is paramount to us all, activity levels seem to be what separates them.

Victor
Victor
3 years 3 months ago

What about eyesight? I’ve heard that estrogen-pumped products have caused several problems, including changing the shape of the eye that screw it up. Chickens aren’t allowed to be injected with hormones now, and I don’t drink milk anymore, but I don’t think it’s reversible.

Dancedancekj
Dancedancekj
3 years 3 months ago

I found that going primal improved my eyesight a bit. Not remarkably so, but it definitely had a marked improvement. I just happened to realize that I could see my phone from three feet away, as opposed to the six inches I had to previous hold it at. I am hoping staying primal might continue to reverse the damage that was done previously…

Harry Mossman
3 years 3 months ago
I’m 70. I’ve been doing ~80% Primal for 5 years. Testosterone: I don’t have blood work but from what I can tell, it is high and has increased. Creaky Joints: I have them but they are getting better. Loss of Lean Mass: Around the time I learned about Primal, my dentist had to pull a tooth because my body had cannibalized calcium from it. And at every visit to his office, fillings had to be replaced because they were loose. That has stopped. I am convinced that my teeth are being remineralized. I am pretty sure my lean mass has… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
3 years 3 months ago

Great job Harry! I too am convinced that my teeth have remineralized. They turned whiter and whiter and are stronger. Used to get fillings every year and now I have not had to get any for over 3 years.

wpDiscuz