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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Category: Supplements

Dear Mark: Folate Follow-up

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering five questions taken from last week’s folate post comment board. Does folic acid increase cancer risk? It’s an open question, but I think we have a pretty good idea of where the research points. Next, what other nutrients can help people with MTHFR mutations? Is there anything else someone with a deleterious variant should focus on eating? Third, is folate good enough, or should you look specifically for 5-methyltetrahydrofolate? Fourth, how do I know if I have a MTHFR variant that increases the need for folate? And finally, what specific form of folate am I using in Master Formula?

Let’s go:

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Why the Type of Folate You Take Matters

We have a problem. When discussing vitamin B9, common parlance is to use “folic acid” and “folate” interchangeably, as if the two are different terms for the same thing. Talk to most OB-GYNs about the type of vitamin B9 in your prenatal, and they’ll say the difference doesn’t matter. Look at the average nutrition label, and it’ll list folic acid rather than folate, even though it’s naturally occurring. They are not the same. The difference is meaningful. 

Our bodies don’t actually use “folic acid” or “folate”; they convert them into 5-methyltetrahydrofolate—the useable form of folate. Folic acid must go to the liver for conversion into 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, but there’s an issue here: The liver doesn’t always make enough of the enzyme necessary to convert folic acid into tetrahydrofolate.

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Primal Starter: 10 Nutritional Actions To Enhance Insulin Sensitivity

What if a person secretes too much insulin in response to a glucose load? What if, for whatever reason (and there are dozens of possible culprits), a person’s cells are resistant to the effects of insulin? What if, to remove the same amount of glucose from the blood, a person secretes twice or thrice the amount of insulin? What happens when insulin stays elevated? Lipolysis is inhibited to an even greater degree. Body fat becomes even harder to burn. Susceptible brain, artery, and pancreatic cells are exposed to higher levels of blood sugar for longer. Muscle protein synthesis falls off a cliff. Glycogen is replenished at a diminished rate. And if cells are already full of glycogen and there’s nowhere else to put the glucose, it converts to fat for storage.

Obviously, we don’t want to be insulin resistant. We want to be insulin sensitive. Here are 10 nutrition-based actions.

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Alternative Therapies For ADHD: Part 2

With 6.1 million children in this country bearing a past or present ADHD diagnosis, it’s little wonder folks had a lot to say in the initial post I did on the subject a few months back.  For the most part, people were pumped to discover new potential therapies for themselves or loved ones, or at the very least to find validation in their own hunt for side effect free ADHD treatment. Others questioned the validity of certain alternative approaches, and still more posed questions about other treatments they’d heard about or were interested in.

Is there any substance to the other alternative therapies I added in passing within that previous post? What else shows promise? Let’s dig in….

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Dear Mark: Women and Violence, Reducing Extra Wine, High Intensity Interval Resting, Phosphatidylserine and Mental Stress, Rethinking Stress

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering five questions from readers. First up, do my recommendations regarding violence and martial arts in last week’s “wildness post” also apply to women? Second, what else can you do with leftover wine? Next, how do I approach my rest and work cycles? Fourth, is phosphatidylserine good for mental stress or just physical stress? And last, does changing how we interpret or react to stress change its effects?

Let’s go:

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The Role of Supplementation in Keto: What’s Uniquely Useful

Yesterday, I explained my rationale for supplementation in a Primal lifestyle. Today, I’m going to get a bit more specific and discuss the role of supplementation on a keto diet. As a diet founded upon the restriction of an entire class of macronutrients, keto seems like the perfect candidate for stringent supplement requirements. And if you go around the web asking other people, you’ll find plenty of opinions, lists, and recommendations for this or that supplement that you absolutely must take or face certain death and disfigurement.

I disagree.

Done well, keto needs no overt supplementation. That said, some supplements can be useful.

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