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: immune health

Life In the Sanitized Bubble (Or Why Probiotics Are So Important)

For the vast majority of human history (and prehistory), men, women, and children had near-constant contact with the natural world around them. They were walking on the ground. They were playing in the dirt. They were digging for roots and grubs. They were eating with their hands. They were field dressing animals and wiping their hands on the grass. Nothing was sterilized; the tools to sterilize the environment didn’t exist. You could boil water, but that was about it. Bacteria were everywhere, and humans were constantly ingesting it. Even as babies, preindustrial infants nursed for almost four years, so they were getting a steady source of breastmilk-based probiotic bacteria for a good portion of their early lives.

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Recovery Workouts: Two Simple But Powerful Ways to Speed Fitness Recovery

For my entire athletic career, I considered the gold standard of recovery to be sleeping, resting on the couch watching T.V., and generally being still and inactive. Come on, what could be more effective than couch potato mode to recover from the hormonal and inflammatory stresses of marathon training runs or long days of extreme swim-bike-run workouts? I’m kidding (mostly), but it’s not a total exaggeration. Our understanding of fitness recovery has grown exponentially since I was in the elite arena, and it’s exciting to see new and better approaches taking root that genuinely speed recovery and stave off burnout. I’m sharing two such techniques today. They’re simple, mostly free, and accessible to anyone with the most basic fitness opportunities and venues.

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Collagen vs. Whey: Which Protein is Best For Your Needs?

Collagen or whey. Which should you choose?

For years, collagen/gelatin was maligned by bodybuilding enthusiasts as an “incomplete protein” because it doesn’t contain all the essential amino acids, nor does it contribute directly to muscle protein synthesis.  There’s definitely truth to this. If you ate nothing but gelatin for your protein, you’d get sick real quick. That’s exactly what happened to dozens of people who tried the infamous “liquid protein diet” fad of the 70s and 80s, which relied heavily on a gelatin-based protein drink. Man—or woman—shall not live by collagen alone.

As for whey, it’s an extremely complete protein. It’s one of the most bioavailable protein sources around, a potent stimulator of anabolic processes and muscle protein synthesis. I consider it essential for people, especially older ones in whom protein metabolism has degraded, and for anyone who wants to boost their protein intake and get the most bang for their buck.

This said, which is best for your needs today? Let’s take a look….

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4 Mushrooms You Need To Know

When you stop to think about it, mushrooms are remarkable.

They’re closer to animals than plants on the tree of life.

They can break down plastic and petroleum.

The single largest organism on the planet is an underground honey fungus spanning almost 3 miles in the the state of Oregon.

They carry messages along their underground fungal networks using neurotransmitters that are very similar to the ones our brains use.

They’re a kind of “forest internet” which plants and trees use to communicate with each other.

They’re delicious.

And, as it turns out, they possess and confer some very impressive health and therapeutic effects. Several years ago, I highlighted the culinary varieties and explored their considerable health benefits. Go read that, then come back here because I’m going to talk about the different types of adaptogenic mushrooms today. These are the real heavy hitters, the ones that appear to supercharge immune systems, stimulate neuronal growth, improve memory and focus, pacify the anxious mind, increase the libido, and enhance sleep quality.

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Dear Mark: Antibiotic Recovery, Sprinting on Keto, Preparing for Bad Sleep

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First up, what can a person do to help their gut recover its barrier function after too many antibiotics? Are there any foods, supplements, or dietary strategies? Second, what can explain rapid fatigue during sprint sessions on a keto diet? Is this simply part of the deal, or are there modifications you can make? And finally, what do I do when I know I’m going to get a bad night’s sleep?

Let’s go:

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7 Drinks to Boost Your Immune System

It’s that time of year again: cold and flu season. Your immune system is a powerful, multi-tiered network of organs and cells that protects you against foreign, deleterious microbes—and it will be working overtime to keep up with all the viruses and bacteria that circulate more readily during colder seasons.

A healthy overall lifestyle (including a good diet and ample sleep) provides the ultimate foundation for healthy immune function, but there are also natural, delicious “supplemental” ways to shore up your body’s defense system. Each of the following seven drinks contains potent nutrients your immune system needs to keep you healthy.

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A Definitive Guide To Tea

Today’s guest post and recipe are offered up by Simon Cheng, founder & CEO of Pique – Tea Crystals. I connected with Simon and his team about a year ago and have been a fan of their tea products since. In fact, it’s what you’ll find in my kitchen cabinets these days (the basic English Breakfast is what I drink most often). The following is an excerpt from Pique Tea’s Definitive Guide to Tea ebook, which I highly recommend. You can download the full version HERE. Enjoy!

Tea has now become one of the most studied superfoods in the world, with mounting evidence for a seemingly unending number of health benefits. Importantly, these health benefits have been observed in large numbers of people (entire populations) who have consumed tea for long periods (decades).

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After Whole30 or Other Reset: 11 Tips for Reintroducing Allergenic Foods

So, you’ve done a Whole 30® (or other dietary reset involving the removal of potentially allergenic or sensitizing foods to establish homeostasis). It’s over. It went well. You feel good. You’re ready to take on the world. Now what?

Officially, you’re supposed to reintroduce the allergenic foods you removed, one at a time, to see how they affect your digestive, psychological, metabolic, and overall health. After all, the main point of the Whole 30 is to uncover the allergenic foods that actually bother you and the ones that don’t. A broad, diverse diet is awesome if you tolerate it, and having more foods available to eat makes living easier and more enjoyable. There’s no reason not to eat legumes (or dairy, or a glass of wine) if you like them and they don’t negatively affect your health.  The reintroduction phase of the Whole 30 simply helps you learn which of those foods work and which don’t. That said, it’s intimidating for a lot of folks….

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My Supplement Routine: What I Take, When I Take It, and Why

Back in June during the 21-Day Challenge, I asked you to share questions you had about my personal health routine, and I’m looking forward to answering those in the coming months. We talk a lot about generalities here, and for good reason. Research can and should drive principle, but oftentimes while we wait around for it (or have questions about the overall validity of what’s out there), n=1 self-experimentation can tell us a lot.

Over the years, I’ve gathered ideas for that experimentation by reading the studies and listening to others talk about the choices they make. All of it together has—and continues to—inform the routine I follow to live the life I want. Among the many questions you sent were inquiries about my supplement regimen. Today I’m sharing what I take, when I take it, and why.

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Omega-3 for Health: What the Latest Research Shows

It’s been a long time since I published the Definitive Guide to Fish Oils.

Oh sure, here and there I’ve cited some research supporting the beneficial effects of fish fat, but it almost goes without saying that omega-3s are important. Everyone knows it. Even the most curmudgeonly, conventional wisdom-spouting, statin script-writing, lifestyle modification-ignoring doc will tell you to take fish oil. And research in the last few years has not only continually confirmed the health advantages but illuminated new applications—and new physiological explanations—for their essential function in the body.

But what are those benefits, exactly? Why should we be eating fatty fish or, barring access to high quality edible marine life, taking fish oil supplements?

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