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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Tag: gluten

Dear Mark: Grains and Joints, Cardamom, and The Cause of Aging Muscle

For today’s Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First: a question about grains and joint health from a reader who gets achy and creaky every time she veers off schedule and eats grains. Is this common? Is it supported by any real evidence? Yes and yes. Next is a short overview of cardamom, that other Indian spice that you never hear much about. Turns out it’s got some potential. And finally, I (try to) assuage the existential fears of a young guy who will eventually be an old guy freaking out about the impending and inevitable loss and dearth of his muscle mass.

Let’s go:

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Does Gluten Have Any Effect on Non-Celiacs?

The headlines are everywhere: gluten sensitivity doesn’t actually exist, and anyone who thinks they have it is a liar, delusional, dumb, or all three. The message isn’t a new one, but the stories do point to a new study from a group of researchers who previously found that removing wheat from the diet improved symptoms in people with IBS. In the new paper, the researchers tested whether isolated gluten – rather than wheat – exacerbated IBS symptoms. It did not. The IBS patients in the latest study showed no reaction to isolated gluten, and the only dietary variable that increased their symptoms was wheat. This could suggest that at least for some people (with IBS), gluten sensitivity may actually be wheat sensitivity triggered by the fermentable FODMAP fibers found in the grain.

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How to Establish a Healthy Gut in Your Primal Baby

Yes, folks: it’s another post about the gut. But today’s advice is geared toward all the Primal babies out there in preconception, in utero, and in diapers. Because for the first few years, they’re pretty helpless and ignorant in matters of the gut. They need your help to establish and maintain a healthy intestinal environment. They need your expertise and guidance and occasional intervention. And sometimes, as you’ll see, they need you to give them the freedom to do some often unpleasant-looking activities that pay dividends to longterm gut health.

Since most of the immune system resides in the gut, and the development of a kid’s gut microbiome is in many ways the development of his immune system, this turns out to be a helpful guide for parents interested in optimizing their child’s immune system.

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A Primal Primer: Leaky Gut

After I mentioned it in last week’s 10 Principles of Primal Living (Finally) Getting Mainstream Media Coverage post, several readers emailed asking about leaky gut. What is it? How do I know if I have it? Why should I care if I have it? What do I do if I have it? And so on. Turns out many and maybe most people have but a vague idea of what leaky gut actually means.

Today, I’m going to fix that.

In most popular conceptions of human physiology, the gut exists primarily as a passive conduit along which food travels and breaks down for digestion and absorption. It’s where bacteria hang out and digestive enzymes go to work. It’s a “place,” an inert tunnel made of flesh and mucus. Lots of things happen there but the gut itself isn’t doing much.

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Dear Mark: IBS and Gluten, Tweaking Calories for Fat Loss

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a short but sweet two-parter. First up is the connection between Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gluten, coffee, and alcohol. A reader with a history of IBS triggered by gluten, coffee, and alcohol wonders if giving up gluten really could have solved his intolerances of the other foods. Then, I give my take on the best dietary strategy for losing the last few pounds of body fat for an otherwise lean individual. Believe it or not, I even mention and recommend counting calories.

Yep. Let’s go:

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10 Principles of Primal Living That Are (Finally) Getting Mainstream Media Coverage

We don’t take credit for everything, of course, but the fact remains that the Primal/ancestral health community has been championing principles that directly oppose the conventional wisdom for nearly a decade. And while serious researchers have been paying attention to and studying these issues individually for years, no one had really synthesized them under the evolutionary umbrella. Now that our movement is becoming more popular and the scientific case for its principles more solid than ever, denying that a bit of sun might be good for you or that sitting is killing you slowly or that eggs aren’t deadly after all is no longer tenable.

Yes, Primal health principles and positions are getting mainstream recognition. Let’s take a look at some of the major ones.

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We Don’t Know What Constitutes a True Paleo Diet

Critics often lambast the Primal Blueprint and other ancestral/paleo ways of eating for what they see as fatal flaws:

First, that we don’t know what our ancestors were truly eating.

Second, that there wasn’t just one paleo diet.

Third, that even if we could know exactly what our ancestors were eating, it doesn’t mean those foods were the ideal foods; they were trying to eat whatever was available, not whatever was most nutritious or synergistic with their genome.

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Dear Mark: Wheat Germ Agglutinin and Leptin, Early Allergen Introduction, Fasted Training, Green Bananas, and Sunchokes

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a five-parter. First, I discuss wheat germ agglutinin’s potential interaction with the leptin receptor. Next, I explore the prospect of introducing gluten and peanuts (among other potential allergens) to youngsters as a way to prevent allergies from developing. I also discuss whether fasted workouts are a sound strategy to boost fat burning, if any good non-nightshade sources of resistant starch exist, and the nutritional benefits of sunchokes.

Let’s go:

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Amber Waves of Shame

The following passage is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Denise Minger’s riveting new book Death by Food Pyramid. Order your copy of Death by Food Pyramid by December 31 and get free gifts plus a chance to win Primal prizes valued at $1,800. Learn all the details here.

On a spring night in 1968, thousands of Americans witnessed the televised death of an infant, body no bigger than a toy doll, lying limp as he took his last breath beneath the unflinching gaze of the camera. “This baby is dying of starvation,” the narrator’s voice boomed. “He was an American. Now he is dead.”1

The gut-wrenching footage was part of a CBS documentary called Hunger in America—an expose? on the nation’s hidden plague of starvation. From the backwaters of Alabama to the dusty Navajo reservations of the Southwest, the program pulled viewers into a world of struggle and pain, sending shockwaves throughout the country. Under the nation’s rippling flag of freedom lay a shadow few knew existed: deep poverty and malnutrition in a land that prided itself on abundance.

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Dear Mark: Peppermint Tea, Heirloom Wheat, Dips, Waking Up When It’s Dark, and Feeding an Adopted Infant

For today’s Dear Mark, we’ve got four questions. Actually, there are five because one of the questions has two parts. First, I discuss the anti-androgenic effects of peppermint tea. Beneficial for PCOS, a mixed bag for males? Next is a two-parter about heirloom wheat (is it Primal?) and failure stories (do I get email from people who haven’t had resounding success with the Primal lifestyle?). Then, I explain what your dip technique (tricep exercise, not chip consumption method) should look like in order to minimize the risk to your shoulder health. Finally, I help a reader out with a conundrum: being unable to get going in the morning because it’s so dark outside upon waking. My wife Carrie takes over from there, giving her take on a few approaches to feeding an adopted infant.

Let’s go:

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