Tag: skin/hair

Should I Take a GLA Supplement?

Recently, a reader inquired about gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and inflammation. Is GLA everything it’s made out to be? Is it something all of us should add to our diets? Can we obtain it through real foods, or do we need to rely on supplements? There’s certainly a lot of hype about GLA’s ability to heal chronic inflammation and even to facilitate an easier transition into menopause (something I’ll cover more in a follow-up post). For today, let’s take a closer look at GLA and the role it may play in anti-inflammatory nutrition.

Read More

Hair Loss: Looking beyond Genetics

Conventional wisdom teaches us to accept our fate when it comes to hair loss. “Runs in the family,” we’re often told—and sometimes it does (but that’s usually not the full story). “It’s just part of getting older,” people say, too—and there we again find only partial truth at best.

But the Primal path is one of thoughtful scrutiny, not blind acceptance. While most people would file hair loss under aesthetic concerns (ranging from neutral to negative depending on social norms and personal views), it’s not always that innocuous. Let’s look today the bigger picture behind hair loss and the situations in which it signifies a genuine health concern.

Read More

Dear Mark: HDL, Probiotics for Acne, and Artificial Sweeteneners and Weight Gain

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, is HDL all it’s cracked up to be? Is HDL always good? Is it the savior? Or is the story a bit more complicated? Next, what are some good probiotic options for treating acne? Do any exist? And last but not least, what’s the relationship of artificial sweeteners, insulin, appetite, and weight gain?

Let’s go:

Read More

Coconut Oil Is Going to Kill Us All (or Maybe Not…)

I was beginning to rest on my laurels. It had been months since the inbox had flooded with upset readers asking me to address the latest episode of the conventional establishment’s attack on healthy food and living. Until last week, when people starting freaking out about the American Heart Association’s attack on coconut oil. As USAToday put it, “Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy.”

I was surprised. While I get most of my scientific references from USAToday (the “Works Cited” section of my upcoming keto book is just a single link to USAToday.com) and they’ve never let me down in the past, I didn’t know what to make of their coconut oil claims.

Read More

5 Unconventional Ways to Extend Your Life

I’ve written about extending your life by slowing down the apparent passage of time. I’ve written about some interesting predictors—but not necessarily causes—of longevity, and the common characteristics of centenarians. Today, I’m going to describe several unconventional causal means of extending your life.

I’m talking about cold, hard days, weeks, and months. Ticks on a clock. Objective measurements of time. Not just the perception of time, although that matters too.

Read More

10 Reasons to Eat More Collagen

For years, the bodybuilding, protein-gorging community has maligned collagen for its inessentiality and lack of input into the muscle-protein synthesis process. From their perspective, it sort of makes sense. Why bother with “low quality” protein like gelatin/collagen when you can pound the whey, eat the meat, and focus on other sources of the essential amino acids directly involved in building muscle?

Except the research is showing that these “nonessential” proteins are actually pretty darn useful.

Read More

Dear Mark: Fat Gain on a Ketogenic Diet; Dandruff and an Itchy Scalp

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a two-parter. First up, I respond to a comment from last week’s Weekend Link Love concerning fat gain and lean mass loss in taekwondo athletes on a ketogenic diet. Did the athletes actually get fatter and lose muscle on their diet, even as performance improved? After that, I discuss what to do about dandruff and an itchy scalp. There may be no silver bullet against the common malady known as dandruff, but there are a few things you can try and one in particular that looks quite promising.

Let’s go:

Read More

How to Support Healthy Skin Bacteria

Last week, I introduced the concept of the skin biome: the vast communities of microbes living on and in our skin. For some, it was unsettling. Gut microbes are out of sight, out of mind. But skin microbes are on us. They’re crawling, reproducing, digesting, and secreting various fluids and lipids all over the surface of our bodies. In people who’ve been conditioned to use soap and water to remove every last trace of bacteria from our hands and skin, the idea that our hands, faces, arms, and torsos are teeming with microbes – and that it’s probably unwise to remove them all – is hard to swallow. We might even recoil at the thought. I mean, viruses and mites living on us? Really?

Read More

What’s Living on Your Skin?

The average human body has about 1.2 square meters of skin. Scattered across and nestled in its myriad crevasses and canyons would lie trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and mites. Before you shudder and reach for the bleach and a stiff scouring brush, remember the importance of cultivating and supporting the billions of bacteria living in your gut. Recall the vital roles they play (that we know about) in our health and realize that the skin microbiome isn’t any different. Although research is young, we are learning that the critters living on our skin, who number in the billions per centimeter of skin, are supposed to be there. And even though we don’t know exactly all they’re doing, we know this:

Read More

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.

Read More

Latest Posts