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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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April 23 2018

Dear Mark: Phones in Bedrooms, Antidepressants, Pastured Egg Omega-6 Content

By Mark Sisson
22 Comments

Dear_Mark_Inline_PhotoFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. I’ve come down hard against phones in bedrooms in the past. Is there a “good way” to use your phone in the bedroom? Reader Kathy offered some good reasons for keeping a phone there; what do I think? Next, HealthyHombre laments having to take antidepressants (but he shouldn’t lament). And finally, I cover the differences in omega-6 between pastured eggs and conventional eggs.

Let’s go:

I use my phone in bed in airplane mode to generate a binaural beat and a rainy night white noise. Grok would not do that but Grok would not live near a busy railroad and a neighbor with outdoor chihuahuas. Grok would not crank up an old favorite story on audiobooks when he couldn’t sleep but I do. The phone has a very dim red light at night (Twilight app). Is that really bad or does the no-phone advice refer instead to radiation from operating radios or attending to email, calls, and Facebook pings?

That’s an excellent question.

A ton of evidence indicates that dim light at night is bad, even just a little bit. It disrupts our cellular circadian rhythm (every cell in our body has a circadian component) and metabolism, leading to weight gain. It increases REM sleep and the number of times we wake up during the night. It may even lead to trans-generational depression and neurodegeneration.

Unless the dim light is red or from a fire. If anything, dim red light will help you sleep, not hinder you. A 2012 paper found that female basketball players using nighttime red light therapy improved sleep quality, increased melatonin production, and boosted endurance capacity.

The way you use your phone at night is ideal. It’s a tool to enhance your life, to replace what’s missing and essential and human in the most ancient sense—stories, soothing white noise.  You’ve got it on airplane mode, so you aren’t getting texts and updates and notifications. You aren’t tempted to check email or Facebook.

Keep doing it.

HealthyHombre wrote:

The article about antidepressants is of interest to me as I take 10mg of Lexapro daily to help mitigate severe panic attacks. For some reason it seems to be the only thing that provides consistent help. I’m 65 years old and it is the only pharmaceutical I take. I exercise regularly, diet is super clean, I’ve tried meditation, deep breathing, journaling, various natural supplements, therapy sessions etc. … all positive things but only the med seems to really work for me. Maybe it is the placebo affect, the mind is very powerful and if we believe something strongly enough it can manifest in a biological response. I’ve been told that a small percentage of people have problems utilizing neurotransmitters and the ad helps prevent re-uptake. I’ve spend hundreds of hours reading everything I can on the subject. Hopefully someday there will be some breakthroughs, until then I reluctantly take it daily and try not to beat myself up too much about it. Have a great day everyone!

If they work, they work! Never beat yourself up for doing what works. Just because many take them unnecessarily doesn’t mean you are. Remember, we’re all individuals charing our respective courses through life. Only we can decide which turns to take and tools to use along the way.

We are our own arbiters.

For what it’s worth, many psychiatrists who value the importance of nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle in treating depression also note the efficacy (and sometimes necessity) of antidepressants in certain patients. Dr. Emily Deans is one.

David wondered:

Hey Mark, I note the inclusion of pork and chicken as foods to be aware of as high in omega 6 linoleic acid (from their feed). Does this line of thinking also apply to egg yolks? If so, only for conventional eggs and not for pastured eggs?

Yes. Keep in mind that many pastured hens still receive a standard feed that contains soy and corn, both of which can contribute to omega-6 levels. However, pastured hens tend to have higher levels of omega-3, so the O6:O3 ratio is lower in pastured chicken eggs. Does it matter?

I think so. A study from several years ago compared the in vivo effects of regular eggs vs “special eggs” in humans—what happens in people who eat them? The conventional hens ate typical stuff high in omega-6 fats, like soy, corn (and its oil), sunflower, and safflower; their eggs were high in omega-6. The special hens ate wheat, barley, and sorghum, with an antioxidant blend to replicate the broad spectrum of compounds they’d get foraging in nature. Their eggs were lower in omega-6. Human subjects ate two eggs a day from either regular or special hens for several weeks. By study’s end, people eating the conventional eggs had 40% more oxidized LDL than people eating the eggs low in omega-6. Oxidized serum LDL is strongly associated with atherosclerosis (and it’s probably a causative relationship), so this is a big finding.

Pastured and wild chickens eat wild plants, seeds, bugs, and grain (most of which contain various antioxidant phytochemicals and low levels of omega-6); the experimental hen wasn’t the perfect approximation of this diet, but it was pretty close.

Any egg is better than no egg, though. If all you can eat are standard eggs, they’re still worth having for the choline content alone.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading. Be sure to leave a comment, ask a question, or answer a question down below.

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22 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Phones in Bedrooms, Antidepressants, Pastured Egg Omega-6 Content”

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  1. “A ton of evidence indicates that dim light at night is bad…”

    I guess I’m the oddball here because I have trouble sleeping in a room that’s pitch-dark. I prefer a bit of very faint light, such as nightglow from outside, in order to feel “grounded.” Otherwise I tend to lose my sense of spatial orientation and feel like I’m floating in a vacuum. Does anyone else experience this?

    1. Yes, but you get used to it… and then you get good at it! Just like all those other latent mechanisms, they remain tucked away until we bring them out to play 🙂

  2. This reminded me that maybe I should try to see if I can find pastured chicken/eggs somewhere now. I was not very hopeful but it’s sad that I still can’t find anything here.

  3. For those with backyard chickens, there are organic soy-free and corn-free feeds out there. New Country Organics is one such company. Their main ingredients are “Organic Peas, Organic Oats, Organic Wheat, Organic Barley, Calcium Carbonate, Fish Meal, Organic Alfalfa Meal, Organic Flaxseed”. It’s not as good as 100% pastured, but it beats corn and soy. I supplement my birds with fresh coconut, mealworms, and kale/other greens too.

  4. Thank you for being so great at responding to readers’ questions and comments, Mark. I’m always interested in these “real life” topics.

    I also keep my phone in my bedroom, but far away from my bed (on the dresser across the room). I found out that on an iPhone at least, you can set “do not disturb” to go on automatically for certain hours every day, and also that you can exclude certain contacts in your “Favorites” list from it. I have 19 and 21-year-old kids, and the cell phone is the only way for them to call or text me, so I’ve made sure I can hear their calls/texts even when the phone is in do not disturb. We no longer have a land line, so this has been a lifesaver.

  5. Love that you ended it by saying it’s still better to eat conventional eggs than no eggs. I’m still in a situation where I can’t afford pastured eggs but can’t justify not eating eggs because of how nutritious they are. Looked at the nutrients listed on a carton of cheap white eggs and they have so many vitamins and minerals that you don’t see in any other single food.

  6. Mark, your words of wisdom are appreciated more than I can put into words, thank you.

    1. Healthy Hombre, I know people whose lives have been changed for the better with Lexapro. You’re doing all the right things. I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about taking meds that are clearly working.

      1. TY Elizabeth for the kind words of encouragement! You are also a person who is a great health resource for me whose viewpoint I hold in high esteem.

  7. We currently have backyard chickens who roam morning to dark on about 1/2 acre of mixed grass, brush, trees. We also have soy-free organic feed available for them. They scratch and peck all through the property most of the day. Busy, busy girls. When I need more eggs, I supplement with organic free range eggs from our food co-op, but the difference is noticeable. Even with good store bought eggs, the yolks from our chickens are substantially darker orange and creamier. and they just taste better.

  8. I can’t seem to find a simple answer about whether or not soaking pasteurized almonds reduces the phytic acid or if it only works with truly raw almonds.

    I ask because my 6-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with an enamel defect on her permanent teeth (Enamel hypoplasia) and the dentist has somewhat of an “Oh well, just fix it cosmetically” approach. Acidic foods, phytic acid and vitamin deficiencies (A, D, K2, and E) seem to come into play. I am so confused about tooth enamel. Can it be strengthened? I’ve read a lot about remineralizing teeth, but I can’t tell if that’s only for actual shallow cavities. I’ve been giving the kids almond milk (and soaked nut-based porridges) and am having second thoughts. Of my three kids, she is the only one who tolerates raw dairy, so she eats some raw cheese.

    1. I would suggest you look at the work of Weston Price. He did a lot on re-mineralising teeth for cavities that had reached to the dentine. The work was through diet, plus supplements from fish oils and factor X. This has been identified as being a component of fresh butter from pastured cows in the spring – also available in supplement form with fish oils. Then it is the fresh food diet advocated by Weston Price foundation.

    2. Wife is a biological dentist… that’s why I can’t help myself when I see these types of posts. Have a look at this https://www.marksdailyapple.com/power-yoga-pelvic-floor-keto-reset-and-osteoporosis/#comment-3369256

      Let me know if you have any questions. Also, I sort of butchered the end of that so after you read that comment, come back here to properly finish it off.

      UPDATE:

      Wife also makes her patients turn off their wifi routers at night, leave their cell phones out of the bedroom and remove electrical devices within a 12 foot radius of the bed (one’s pillow should also not be near a power outlet). If you can get away from bathing in non-native EMFs, health and healing has a better chance. Many times, all you need to do is use an EMF meter to see where the fields have biological implications and then re-position the offensive device… sometimes you may need to re-position your bed, chair or sitting area.

      If you’ve tried absolutely EVERYTHING and you’re still having issues, cut out the phytates and the lectins for six months and stay the course with everything above.

      VITAMIN K2: MK-7 (VS) MK-4 SUMMARY

      There’s K2 (MK-7) that comes from bacterial fermentation and then there’s K2 (MK-4) that comes from animals.

      K2 (MK-7). Get this from fermented veggies like homemade kimchi and sauerkraut made with Kinetic Culture (my favorite) or buy a boutique brand at the store and make sure that it’s raw, NOT pasteurized. If you can spoon some natt? into your mouth (and manage to swallow it), do it every time there’s a blue moon or a solar eclipse. You’ll also find some of this MK-7 variety in diary too.

      K2 (MK-4 ). Get this from grass fed / grass finished organ meats, bone marrow, wild fish eggs, and to a lesser degree, pasture raised (totally organic) egg yolks. You can even get this in desiccated Grass Fed Beef Brain / desiccated Bone Marrow in capsule form (yes, that’s a shameless plug!). If you throw in the towel all together, make sure that you’re getting a good K2 complex supplement with multiple forms of K2 (especially MK-7 and MK-4) and make sure that it’s GMO free since it will likely be coming from soy… you already know the backstory there.

  9. One point about pastured hens is that the more hours the hens spend foraging for bugs and other foods of their choice, the less grain they eat.

  10. As always, Mark, I appreciate how you meet us (humans:) where we are.

    Ideally, there are no electronics in my bedroom at night – SO get that and having them there absolutely affects sleep…which affects EVERYTHING.

    Realistically, I feel anxious if my phone’s not within arm’s reach – partly because I use it as my morning alarm (which, also, I would ideally never set) and partly because if someone were to break in or something else were to happen, I’d want it near (sigh).

    Still, putting it on airplane mode makes a huge difference in sleep quality – I for sure notice.

  11. Thank you very much. Thanks to this article I have changed a lot, as if I knew this article sooner. But that’s okay.

  12. I realize that I am a total outlier, here. I never keep a phone in my bedroom, but I sometimes listen to binaural beats, and to audiobooks at night. I use an mp3 player that is about 10 years old. The great thing is, the mp3 player is always on “do not disturb” mode. I never have to worry about phone calls interrupting whatever I’m listening to.