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: prevention

The Definitive Guide To Autophagy (and 7 Ways To Induce It)

Biological systems are self-maintaining. They have to be. We don’t have maintenance workers, mechanics, troubleshooters that can “take a look inside” and make sure everything’s running smoothly. Doctors perform a kind of biological maintenance, but even they are working blind from the outside.

No, for life to sustain itself, it has to perform automatic maintenance work on its cells, tissues, organs, and biological processes. One of the most important types of biological maintenance is a process called autophagy.

Autophagy: the word comes from the Greek for “self-eating,” and that’s a very accurate description: Autophagy is when a cell consumes the parts of itself that are damaged or malfunctioning. Lysosomes—members of the innate immune system that also degrade pathogens—degrade the damaged cellular material, making it available for energy and other metabolites.  It’s cellular pruning, and it’s an important part of staving off the worst parts of the aging process.

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Dear Mark: How Does LDL Even Penetrate the Arteries, New Zealand Farmed Salmon, Elevated Ferritin

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, can LDL actually infiltrate the arteries, or is there more to the story? Malcolm Kendrick says there’s more to the story, so I dig into some literature to see if they corroborate his position. Second, is New Zealand farmed salmon good to eat? And finally, what should you do about elevated ferritin levels—and why else might they be elevated if not because of your iron?

Let’s go:

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Why Grip Strength Matters—and 10 Ways to Build It

The scientific literature is awash in correlations between a person’s health status and various biomarkers, personal characteristics, and measurements. As we hoard more and more data and develop increasingly sophisticated autonomous tools to analyze it, we’ll stumble across new connections between seemingly disparate variables. Some will be spurious, where the correlations are real but the variables don’t affect each other. Others will be useful, where the correlations indicate real causality, or at least a real relationship.

One of my favorite health markers—one that is both modifiable and a good barometer for the conditions it appears to predict—is grip strength.

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Does Bone Broth Break a Fast?

This is a surprisingly common question.

To get it out of the way: Yes, it does. Bone broth contains calories, and true fasts do not allow calorie consumption. You eat calories, you break the fast.

However, most people aren’t fasting to be able to brag about eating no calories for X number of days. They fast for shorter (often intermittent) periods of time for specific health benefits. It’s entirely possible that bone broth “breaks a fast” but allows many of the benefits we associate with fasting to occur.

As is the problem with so many of these specific requests, there aren’t any studies addressing the specific question. The scientific community hasn’t caught up to the current trends sweeping the alternative health community. But we can isolate the most common benefits of fasting and see how bone broth—and the components therein—interact.

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Healing Plantar Fasciitis: Best Shoe Choices

Good morning, folks. My friend and frequent co-author, Brad Kearns, is stopping by the blog today with a follow-up post to his recent article here, How to Cure Plantar Fasciitis. You can catch Brad on the Primal Endurance Podcast, his weekly keto show on the Primal Blueprint Podcast, and on his new personal podcast venture called Get Over Yourself. If you haven’t checked it out, I’d recommend it. I stopped by a while back for a two-hour show Brad ended up calling “The Ultimate Mark Sisson Interview.” Thanks to Brad for sharing his experience with plantar fasciitis in today’s post and accompanying video. Enjoy!

Since you’ve worked so hard to heal your chronic pain by making longer, stronger, more supple muscles and connective tissue, let’s make sure you never again regress into plantar fasciitis hell! Today I’ll detail how to transition gradually and sensibly toward a more barefoot/minimalist lifestyle—and what types of shoes will interference the least in that process (when you have to wear them).

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A Primal Guide to Prostate Health

Many of you have asked about prostate health in a Primal context. Men are interested because they know men have a decent chance of getting prostate cancer. Women are interested because they’re worried about the men in their lives getting prostate cancer. Today, I’m going to delve deep into the topic, exploring the utility (or lack thereof) of standard testing, the common types of treatment and their potential efficacy, as well as preventive and unconventional ways of reducing your risk and mitigating the danger of prostate cancer.

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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Dear Mark: Does Physical Activity Affect Obesity Risk?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering one question from a reader. It concerns the effects of physical activity on obesity.

This is an evergreen topic, a constant in the queries I receive. Is exercise necessary for weight loss? Does physical activity improve body weight? Is exercise all about burning calories, or is there something else going on?

Let’s get to it:

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The Pros & Cons of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Primal Women

A Primal woman’s first reaction to the prospect of taking synthetic hormone replacements for menopause? Probably a healthy dose of skepticism. We in the ancestral health community, after all, tend to view pharmaceuticals as a last resort—interventions that are overprescribed by vested interests, create their own set of side effects, and may even do more harm than good. To suggest that we “need” this or that prescription raises our hackles.

Besides, it’s not like menopause is a product of modernity or an aberration our ancestors never experienced; it’s a physiological stage that evolution has protected and selected in humans. It’s perfectly natural. Rather than the debilitating, miserable experience many women report having, menopause should be easier. Graceful, even. But it often isn’t.

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Dear Mark: Saunas and Finnish Longevity, Saunas and Sperm, What About Ambient Temperature?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. There was some good feedback after last week’s sauna post, and I want to address a few of the comments. First, does the fact that Finns don’t live as long as some of the other more storied “blue zone” populations despite using saunas negate the utility of the sauna? Second, what should we make of the recent study showing negative effects of sauna on sperm health? And third, isn’t it more “natural” and Primal to seek out smaller ambient temperature fluctuations, rather than brief exposures to extreme temperatures?

Let’s go:

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