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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Month: May 2008

Vitamin D and RDA for Children

It’s probably of little surprise that we take issue with some of the Recommended Daily Allowance values and how they’re often determined. Case in point: New research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that the current children’s RDA for Vitamin D (200 IUs) does not sufficiently support the “bone growth and musculoskeletal health of children and adolescents.”

The RDA value for children was set at 200 IUs because, unlike testing for adults’ dosage, there wasn’t adequate research into the benefits of higher amounts.

Vitamin D deficiency is a growing problem around the world, including in developed countries where children spend little time outside. Questions have existed for some time regarding the adequacy of the current RDA, particularly for older children and adolescents, who undergo a great deal of bone growth. As the researchers of this study note, Vitamin D levels during adolescence have bearing on a child’s future bone density and risk for other diseases.

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The Power of the Placebo

A number of months ago we reported that some 45% of Chicago internists (among those who responded to a survey) said they offered placebos to their patients from time to time. The report got people around the country talking – and maybe even wondering about their own prescription history.

Clearly, physicians recognize the impact of placebos, and research has time and again shown their efficacy. So, how does it really work? And who seems to benefit the most from the placebo effect? Is there anyone who can’t be “taken in”? In light of this recent NY Times article about a company that sells cherry-flavored sugar pills to be administered by parents to their unsuspecting children as a placebo we thought we’d investigate.

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Smart Fuel: Sashimi

Although pierced meat doesn’t sound like a very appetizing menu choice, chances are that if you’ve ever dined at a Japanese restaurant, you’ve eaten just that.

If the Wikipedia Gods are to believed, sashimi – that is, the slivers of raw fish popular in Japanese cuisine – received its name as a result of the culinary practice of pinning the fish’s tail and fin to identify the type of fish being eaten.

In many restaurants, the terms sushi and sashimi are used interchangeably, often occupying the same menu pages or mixed together on “sushi” platters. However, it should be noted that sashimi refers only to raw fish, whereas sushi – which does frequently include raw fish – is defined by its inclusion of vinegared rice.

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Sensible Vices: Round 2

What can we say? We love our vices: those delightful, scrumptious, indulgent little morsels of gratifying transgression. O.K., this isn’t really how we look at it, but it’s kind of fun (and relatively harmless) to linger for a moment in imagined decadence.

In reality, our vices are simply healthy pleasures, satisfying and rather sensible indulgences. More Tom Hanks than Steve McQueen. More Jane Austen than Candace Bushnell. (Whatever floats your boat – you get our meaning.) The point is, these are vices that come without the guilt. What a deal! 100% satisfaction with no self-imposed penitence. Sign us up!

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10 Primal Plyos for the Upper Body

As a follow-up to last week’s 10 Primal Plyos to Make You Fitter, Faster, Stronger that focused on the lower body, we present 10 explosive exercises for your upper body. Thanks to reader dusty for the suggestion!

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Dear Mark: Primal Blueprint for Both Men and Women?

In last week’s guest post on muscle building, reader Charlotte raised the issue of gender differences in exercise benefits. Are men and women the same when it comes to the effects of cardiovascular exercise? What about the most effective ways to burn fat? These were just a few questions that got the comment board going full throttle. Thanks to Charlotte and everyone who contributed their expertise and experience. (It’s what I love about doing MDA!)

So, what about the question of gender? Let me first say that the Primal Blueprint is fully intended for and applicable to both men and women. Sure, women naturally have a higher percentage of body fat and tend to carry it in places where it’s not as readily burned as abdominal fat. It’s true, also, that our relative hormones levels have some influence on our body’s use of fat for fuel, our resting metabolism, and our sensitivity to other hormones key to exercise response. But these gender-based differences have been found to be relatively modest. And ultimately, we are not necessarily trying to be body-builders or runway models, but simply trying to find that mix of diet and exercise that achieves the healthiest levels of low body fat and balanced, useful and well-sculpted muscles for each or our unique bodies.

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