Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
5 Jun

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

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?

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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 still hear a pin drop and I intend on keeping it that way.

    Green Deane wrote on June 5th, 2013
    • A running Freud at your gym? Did he go primal and is still alive?

      Nocona wrote on June 5th, 2013
      • 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 it?

        Foggy dude wrote on June 6th, 2013
  2. Love the post.

    Kim wrote on June 5th, 2013
  3. 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 will use this eloquent article with my patients to that end.

    Dana W wrote on June 5th, 2013
  4. “…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 as the exercise is kept up.

    BillP wrote on June 5th, 2013
  5. 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 night.

    I’d like to see a generation that doesn’t go down that path of a self made, old age HELL like my father is suffering through now.

    Rich wrote on June 5th, 2013
    • 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.

      Juli wrote on June 6th, 2013
  6. 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!

    Dave wrote on June 5th, 2013
  7. 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.

    Dr. Mark wrote on June 5th, 2013
  8. 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.

    Victor wrote on June 5th, 2013
    • 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…

      Dancedancekj wrote on June 5th, 2013
  9. 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 increased.

    Hearing Loss: A year ago, an audiologist said I had 20% hearing loss. I was constantly saying, “Huh?” I was trying to figure out how pay for a $2000 hearing aid. I started doing IF and lost a ton of weight. My hearing is now good.

    The only med I am taking is Metformin for pre-diabetes. (Pre but it isn’t ever going to be full diabetes.) My kidney function is somewhat reduced as a result of the high blood sugar. Otherwise, my health is excellent.

    Today I walked a mile then did 4 hours of construction work on a community project. I am younger than I was 5 years ago and getting even younger. Thanks Mark!

    Harry Mossman wrote on June 5th, 2013
    • 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.

      Nocona wrote on June 5th, 2013
  10. Sounds as though our daily yoga practice is definitely a great thing, wonderful detox too:) I enjoy letting go of my parents’ mantra, ‘it’s just old age’ and enjoying breathing into every cell to renew and take another journey each day.

    Robyn wrote on June 5th, 2013
  11. The grim reaper comes for us all, but I’d rather be 90 and able to sprint away from the guy–or deadlift him–than lying in a hospital bed. (picture suprising him by knocking that scythe out of his bony hands with a kettlebell)

    fitmom wrote on June 5th, 2013
  12. I hope you younger folks come to realize that the elder folks would very much like to talk about anything other than age.
    The elder folk, though,are asked on arrival about ‘how we are’, ‘how our shit is’ and ‘should you be doing that?’ Try once in awhile to ask ‘hey, come out and play, eh?’

    Chris wrote on June 5th, 2013
    • “Like”

      Diane wrote on June 7th, 2013
  13. At 51, I’m amazed when I’m with people half my age who huff and puff up stairs or small hills. I often take steps two at a time or run up them simply because it’s fun!

    Living the right way makes a profound difference. Nobody will mistake me for someone in his twenties. But even with my minimal (but diligent) attention to exercise and not quite perfect diet, I can run circles around most of the twenty-somethings I encounter.

    And by the way, I say these things with no gloating–only exasperation over the loss so much happiness and the promotion of so much misery.

    Stan the Man wrote on June 5th, 2013
  14. My 97 year old grandmother somewhat reversed osteoporosis by heeding the advice, 2 decades ago, of a doctor who told her that the only way she was going to stay out of wheel chair was by lifting heavy, several days a week. Same doctor told her not to do intense aerobics and that a daily 20 minute walk was sufficient. Smart doctor. Would that all docs dealing with geriatric patients hand out similar advice. She was at particularly high risk due to breast cancer when she was in her 60’s and the maintenance meds she’s taken ever since, which have the side effect of severely weakening bones, but she stayed out of the wheelchair until just a few weeks ago, when bone cancer (related to the cancer maintenance med she’s taken for 30 years????) began affecting her balance too much for independent walking.

    eema.gray wrote on June 5th, 2013
  15. Hi! I read all posts. Want clarification on arthritis in hands or trigger finger, very stiff hands nearly every morning & continues all day. Sometimes they are looser but can’t figure what works & what doesn’t. I don’t eat too much bread but am not grain free totally but not bad. I am type 1 diabetic so can’t consume too much carbs anyway but do sometimes. Anything else that could take this pain away that I have daily in my fingers? Opening & closing hands is possible but very tight & feels like there’s no moisture inside. Ii eat a lot of protein, drink cream with my coffee & eat vegies. I do cheat for sure,& do drink wine but I am so sick of my hands feeling like this that I want to omit what is making my hands like this. So far, no where else except my left arm in middle is feeling nerve pain. Any help, I would appreciate. TY very very much! Renee

    Renee wrote on June 5th, 2013
    • Only suggestion I have is to go “whole hog”….bacon!
      Seems ths saturated fat, in combination with avoiding ALL grains does the trick.

      ken wrote on June 6th, 2013
      • Hello to the one who said I should not eat saturated fats? So you mean to not eat any pork at all? That could be causing my arthritis in my hands? Am I correct that this is your suggestion? I am 54, diabetic & have very tight hands all the time? Esp. right hand & ring finger sticks often when opening & closing hands? I eat little grains & am willing to stop all foods that are contributing to this problem. I eat plenty of protein, vegies, dairy but mainly cream & cheese, not milk, stopped that but had been drinking raw. I do drink kefir & eat yogurt but only organic. I need help as my arthritis has not improved & I’m sick of it. HELP PLEASE! Renee

        Renee wrote on June 7th, 2013
        • Could be a misunderstanding…my comment to “go whole hog” was meant to imply eating bacon would likely help.

          skeedaddy wrote on June 7th, 2013
        • Hi To going “whole hog” meaning to eat more bacon? I love bacon & eat organic pork often & then I read somewhere that eating too much meat would increase my arthritis problems? So can you please give me more info or anyone out there who knows as I have severe trigger finger & tight & sometimes painful movement in both of my hands, but only my hands.
          I also have pain in my left shoulder starting from my neck, going down the middle of my arm. I even feel it in my sleep.
          I eat very little grains & drink beer. Is this my problem? Should I get rid of drinking any beer & NO GRAINS at all? Not even quinoa?
          If it works, I’ll do it. What about gluten free beer? Is that okay? Thanks so much! As mentioned, I am a female, 54, diabetic 1 & in relatively good health except for the above mentioned problems with arthritis. Thanks! Renee

          Renee wrote on June 9th, 2013
      • i agree. grain free or gluten free at the very least!

        Elisabeth wrote on June 11th, 2013
  16. What a wonderfully inspiring post. This one–and the comments in particular–is free advertising for this lifestyle! Come to think of it, it’s the real-life comments that are just as inspiring, if not more. 😉

    Elizabeth wrote on June 5th, 2013
  17. Hearing loss, good to know that NAC can/might reduce the matter. New information to me,
    NAC seems to be the surprise that keeps on surprising :)

    Petra wrote on June 6th, 2013
  18. I just have to use this space to give a shout out to my dad who is 88. While our family always ate pretty much like farmers (because that’s my mom’s background) and my dad was active through the sheer needs of daily living (giant yard, snow removal), it was only after mom died in 2001 that he really took charge of his health.

    It’s been fascinating to watch him learn to cook from scratch, discover “super foods” (and as child of Depression he now has about 500 cartons of blueberries in one of the basement freezers), and stay fit as evidenced by emailing me reports of things like “I washed the garage floor before I painted it.” Seriously. Dude.

    He does have serious hearing loss and is fighting to keep his eyesight (he is blind in one eye from birth), but as far as I can tell he’s doing everything right and even though he has some issues he doesn’t complain — only explains.

    This leads me to one factor of anti-aging Mark doesn’t cover: Socialization. My dad is kind of a loner but has stayed active in his community and volunteers a lot. The stuff he does keeps him on his feet for hours and around people both known and new to him. His sense of responsibility to this “job” really seems to drive him in many ways.

    I have the privilege myself of being in a service club with a lot of guys around my dad’s age and while it’s not a panacea, the habit of coming to a weekly meeting and serving others seems to me to motivate people to take better care of themselves so they can better serve others. Or just make it to lunch with the friends old and new.

    I’m pretty sure we are all taking fish oil at this point but vitality comes from purpose.

    Juli wrote on June 6th, 2013
  19. Regarding hearing loss, is the iPod generation screwed?

    Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on June 6th, 2013
    • What?

      Juli wrote on June 6th, 2013
      • +1

        Bill C wrote on June 6th, 2013
  20. I find your Daily Apple articles inspiring. They’ve made me rethink my sedentary life and convinced me to change my way of eating, living and exercising. Since reading your articles, I’ve resumed increased activity, and mapped out a routine for training. My goal is to optimize my health so that I can choose to participate in a GoRuck event, Tough Mudder event or just trail run with my spouse without thinking about my aging body. Everyone ages, and I’ve rested on my “my aches and pains from past sports is acceptable” far too long. Thank you, Mark, for proving that chronological age doesn’t dictate my life.

    Bella wrote on June 6th, 2013
  21. What about the eyes!? I’m starting to see that “book creep”, where the words are needing to be farther and farther. Does anyone have any good Primal hacks for better vision?

    dogfood wrote on June 6th, 2013
  22. My ENT husband would add the thoughtful use of hearing protection to your suggestions for preserving our hearing as we age. Sadly, we see many young people working at very noisy occupations without hearing protection of any sort. Once the damage is done, often on a daily basis, there’s no going back.

    Emily Kozie wrote on June 6th, 2013
  23. What I’m missing here is hair loss. As people get older the usually loose their hair. (here in Europe)
    I have a feeling that better nutrition in the food, and avoiding of chemicals in shampoo, would give a very different result, and could stop hair loss.

    Meyns wrote on June 6th, 2013
  24. You can increase testosterone by adopting a “power posture”. Google Amy Cuddy for some fascinating research.

    Martin B wrote on June 6th, 2013
  25. I am 66 yrs. young! Nature takes its course, it’s natural, but I think that we can stay ahead of degeneration and so,slow it down.
    For instance, stay moving. Get out there and do what we want to do. Stop aging in its tracks! I take excellent dietary supplements:Calcium, Vitamin D, Ultra-Mega Green Women’s 50 Plus by GNC, 3000 mg. of Fish Oil, and I refuse to use a cane and I work on strengthening my legs and balance.
    I have a part-time job that I love much more than when I was a Medical Technologist. That’s another thing. I am a widow and my daughter is grown so I realized that this is the first time that I can do anything I want-nobody drains my time and energy.
    I do not eat fast food,YUK! I eat grains, soymilk, lowfat meats,fresh foods, low sugar,
    low carbs, high fiber, no bread or desserts.
    And I love life and hope to love it more when I get some grandchildren!

    Carol Sinnott wrote on June 6th, 2013
  26. As long as people like Willie Gault are able to run a 4.27 40 yard dash at the age of 48, and 82 year old men are able to complete triathlons, I’ll always think age is just an excuse to sit on your lazy….

    Rob wrote on June 6th, 2013
  27. Another great article from MDA! I am 50, I compete regularly against people half my age and I refuse to get old. My fellow office workers (when I am employed I work as a Mechanical Design Engineer, long hours on computer) are falling apart! My last boss sat in front of four screens all day. When I needed to approach him for a work-related interruption, the first thing I noticed was his spine is curving INTO the screens! His head is a few inches away from the screens and for sure his spine is following! Then you notice his arms look like wet noodles, no shoulders, no vascularity, no signs of strength whatsoever! Another company I recently consulted at is full of young people. 2000 employees. I only saw and met two who looked fit. (One was a security guard.) The young people are so overworked (late night calls to Asia), they have no time for fitness, or proper nutrition. My ultimate goal is to get all the way out of computer work and make a new career in fitness. Living well is the best revenge!

    Bill Berry wrote on June 6th, 2013
  28. This is coming a day late, but I wanted to back up what Mark said about going grain-free and getting arthritic relief.

    My right hand, with which I do almost everything, got extremely swollen, painful and stiff. The left started getting bad, too, and no pain meds were working. I finally got so desperate I started using vodka to rub on them to take the pain away. It worked almost immediately, BUT, it did not stop the swelling. Driving my stick-shift was incredibly hard.

    Because of problems my teenage son was experiencing we decided to go grain-free. It took only a few days for the swelling and stiffness and pain to go away. Incredible!

    Stacey D wrote on June 6th, 2013
  29. This post is spot on!

    Yes, today’s older males do have lower T than their forefathers cause they have more belly fat and chronic stress, as Mark points out, but also due to certain ingested chemicals that are estrogen producers, such as Bisphenol A (BPA) found in most plastics.

    Nine months ago I was surprised to learn that my T was low because I’m focused on being fit and do all the right things to have a youthful body. What tipped me off was that I was becoming listless… diminished fire in the belly, sorta speak.
    Took a blood test and sure enough, low T.

    Since then I dove into bumping up my T numbers via ingesting more protein, exercising with more intensity, and taking certain supplements such as nettle root, DHEA, magnesium etc. (You can read about this here:



    Joe Garma wrote on June 6th, 2013
  30. “As people age, their lifestyles suffer. They work more and longer hours. They sleep less. They accumulate more stress, and do more stress-eating.”

    Older people are less stressed than younger people:

    lemmy caution wrote on June 6th, 2013
  31. Just saw a Perdue commercial touting their “all-vegetarian” diet and completely “cage-free” Although they used the phrase, “in conditions which are clean and comfortable.”

    Funny how I can see right through their marketing BS now.

    Tom wrote on June 6th, 2013
  32. Great post!

    Can’t stress enough the importance of self-experimentation. Eliminating a lot of Primal things over time has helped dramatically: nightshades, coffee, chocolate, eggs, nuts, and FODMAP veggies and fruits.

    Mark has done enough posts on the anti-inflammatory properties of Tumeric that I decided to give it some serious attention. I’m taking 1 teaspoon mixed with water each morning (yuck!) and I’ve noticed a big reduction with general body/joint aches.

    Some good advice I’m happy I listened to and atd on: Rolfing (massage therapy that realigns facia) has been extraordinarily helpful with a lot of things, including knee pain and apparent carpel tunnel – both of which doctors told me I’d have to have surgery for. Wrong. Rolfing fixed them. Go to to find out about it. There’s a place on the site that helps you find a Rolfer near you.

    Susan Alexander wrote on June 6th, 2013
    • my carpal tunnel has gone away after going gluten free :) , same with joint pain.

      Elisabeth wrote on June 11th, 2013
  33. Hey people! Does anybody have any thoughts about seborrheic keratosis? I have done some research but nobody seems to know why we get them or how to avoid them. Mark, maybe you know something that convenciontal medecine doesn´t? Could it be a simple change in our diet that can help out with this? I´m asking because I have had acne all my life and since I took out wheat from my diet it disappeard! Could seborrheic keratosis be a reaction to something we eat? Please, please do some research about it. They look horrible! My mother is 65 five and her body is coverded with these ugly wart looking things. I´m 40, and I´m starting to see some, not as big or noticable but I´m sure they will grow and look as ugly as my moms. I know it can also be genetic, this is why I´m getting them as well but some people say they come ouyt and then fall off on their own. When I was pregnant with my second baby I had quite a bit of skin tags and seborrheic ketosis and then they fell off ny themselves. Maybe we can change something in our diet, environment and life style that can prevent this problem??? I will appreciate any ideas or thoughts. And does anybody have any idea of a treatment for them once you have this condition? THANKS!!

    lilaalejandra wrote on June 6th, 2013
  34. These “inevitabilities” of aging are so stuck in our communities nowadays that it almost seems like a personal insult to tell somebody how much better off they could be on a paleo diet. Their eyes are literally blindfolded from the reality.

    The most bugging thing though is that while the starting age for these symptoms has gone lower and lower, it has reached the children. The young are now sicker than ever, and by no reasons of their own. It is not a good base to build a life on.

    Anton M wrote on June 6th, 2013
  35. Mark, I had the same experience when going primal, my arthritis STOPPED DEAD IN ITS TRACKS. Had been suffering swollen and painful finger joints. The lumps on my knuckles are still there but they haven’t grown in three years and haven’t hurt once. It’s for real folks!

    skeedaddy wrote on June 7th, 2013
  36. As the saying goes… the diseases of old age are contracted in youth. Take care, people.

    Txomin wrote on June 7th, 2013

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