Month: November 2016
“Seeing how much my heath has improved by changing the way I eat and move has seeded me with an intense desire to help others realize how much better they can feel if they take better care of themselves.”
Several years ago, I gave my take on the “personalized care” movement: the broad push to use a person’s genetic data to design optimal therapies, treatments, interventions, and pharmaceuticals. I was supportive and hesitantly optimistic, but I also acknowledged the limitations and drawbacks. Yes, genetics do determine how we respond to different therapies, and we can optimize medical care using the information—if we understand what our genes are saying and how they interact with the environment.
It’s only picked up steam. In last year’s State of the Union address, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative, pledging renewed efforts and funding to develop treatments tailored for an individual’s genetics, lifestyle, and environment. Businesses have sprung up promising to analyze your genetic data and create personalized workout routines, meal plans, and daily habits.
We’ve made big strides in personalized medicine.
Every parent reading this has dealt extensively in placebo: the analgesic effect of the ouchie kiss. When your child bumps his head or skins her knee, the quickest way to ease the pain isn’t a Band-Aid, ice pack, or Tylenol. It’s a kiss. Works every time.
“But your kid only thinks it’s helping. You’re just tricking him.”
Maybe. So what?
In common parlance, “placebo” is a bad thing connoting uselessness, ineffectiveness, and treachery. Placebos are smoke and mirrors. Snake oil. Even the words clinicians use to describe the placebo arm of a trial—sham treatment, dummy pill, sugar pill—suggest placebo effects are nuisances impeding scientific progress. They’re inert. Their complete pharmacologically inactive nature defines them.
But I’m here to argue that the placebo isn’t just a necessary artifact of randomized controlled trials. It describes a very real effect that people can probably use to improve their lives.
Greetings, readers. It’s time to announce the publication of another book—called The New Primal Blueprint. Recognize the title? Yes, this is a comprehensive expansion, revision and update of the original 2009 bestseller, and the official name is indeed The New Primal Blueprint! And no, it’s not a mere reprint with me wearing a newer shirt and older smile on the cover. This publication is the culmination of a massive six-year R&D project involving several staff members (especially Brad Kearns, Managing Editor and Primal Blueprint Publishing sidekick), a team of researchers, several of the world’s leading Primal/paleo authors and experts, and you—yes, processing feedback from the collective experiences of Primal enthusiasts over the past seven years.
When I started this update/revision project over two years ago, my intention was to update the message, clean up some misunderstood topics, and cover some new ground on breaking subjects like gut health.
Alas, like many things we take on here in Primal-land, it ended up going big-time. And so I present to you a 584-page beast, full-color with extensive photographs, illustrations, cartoons, and graphs to deliver a most engaging and comprehensive read.
I can legitimately call this book my magnum opus, and I have no problem stating that this volume can stand as the ultimate comprehensive guide to living the Primal Blueprint lifestyle and gaining a total understanding what the Primal/paleo/ancestral health movement is all about. Even if you’ve read the original Primal Blueprint, I think you will get a kick out of this book and allow it to take the place of the original in your resource library.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. The first one concerns transdermal magnesium. Does it work? Can magnesium actually permeate the skin and enter circulation? Probably. And for the last question, I provide a bunch of examples of natural products—foods and behaviors—that can increase vitamin D and B12 levels for an ailing vegetarian.
Mark, what’s your two cents on transdermal magnesium? I take between 200-600 mg mag glyconate daily. I then add mag chloride via ‘magnesium oil’ to my shoulders and anywhere my muscles are tighter than usual. Anyone else use the mag oil or gel?
I like it.
If you rely solely on the scientific literature, there isn’t a ton of strong evidence. But there is evidence.
In one study (PDF), subjects took daily 12-minute epsom salt (containing magnesium sulfate) baths for a week straight. After a week, magnesium levels had risen significantly in most subjects. Those who’d already had replete magnesium levels saw their urinary excretion increase, suggesting that excess magnesium does get absorbed but not retained. Epsom salt baths also provide bioavailable sulfate, a hugely important but underappreciated mineral in our physiology.
Research of the Week
Mainlining garlic for cold season? Have an apple over salad for the sake of those around you.
Dim light in the room when you sleep impairs cognitive performance the next day.
Doctors are over-diagnosing breast cancer.
An extra hour of sleep increases wages by over 1% in the short term and 5% in the long term.
Better pupils have bigger pupils.
Interrupting your sitting with frequent standing breaks increases mental alertness, reduces fatigue, and inhibits food cravings.