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: women’s health

Metabolism and Menopause: What Does Research Suggest Is the Best Dietary Strategy?

After my recent post on keto for women, I got a lot of feedback. One of the most common themes: “But what about menopause?” I heard from dozens of women in both the comment section and in emails who were having trouble losing weight and dealing with the varied symptoms of menopause. Was keto the answer? Was Primal? Were they doing something wrong?

Rather than start with the assumption that going keto or Primal is the best way to deal with menopause, I figured I’d start from ground zero, drawing on the extensive scientific literature on diet and menopausal symptoms to see if I could arrive at some general trends and make recommendations.

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Dear Mark: Marine Fat Sources, Not Gaining/Losing, Keto Breastfeeding

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, what are some less expensive sources of marine fat high in omega-3s? Is canned salmon a good, safe, effective option? Second, a reader is training hard, eating low-carb/keto, doing IF, and feels pretty good despite not losing or gaining any weight? What should she do? What could she be doing wrong? And third, should you go keto while nursing?

Let’s go:

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Keto for Women: 7 Tips to Make it Work

Keto is exploding. No longer solely the province of cutting edge bodybuilders or longevity enthusiasts and neurodegenerative disease warriors, keto has invaded every walk of life. I hear about it in grocery stores, coffee shops, spin classes, business meetings, dinner parties, morning talk shows. Judging from our blog and sales metrics, women make up the largest group of recent entries into the diet. This is great, but it also comes with a small wrinkle: Just like they should do with fasting, most women need to take special precautions when implementing a ketogenic diet.

To begin with, one of keto’s main benefits is also its biggest stumbling block for women: The inadvertent reduction in calorie intake and massive increase in satiety.

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Dear Mark: More On Women and Fasting

Last week, I updated an older post on women and intermittent fasting. For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll be answering some of the comments and questions from that post. First, should a lean woman with a stressful life try fasting to heal her gut? Maybe, maybe not. Second, does coffee break a fast? Now, where have I heard that one…? Is a 12-hour fast a good starting point for women? What are the IF “pre-reqs”? And finally, what do we make of women who can fast successfully? Does habituation have an effect?

Let’s go:

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Intermittent Fasting for Women: What We Know Now

This is an updated version of a Dear Mark column from 2012. You can find the original version archived here. The below has been completely updated for 2018.

The blank slate hypothesis has fallen. Everyone comes into this world imbued with attributes, characteristics, and predilections that are uniquely theirs. We’re all humans, but we’re a diverse bunch, and that makes it interesting. And though it also makes giving cookie cutter health advice impossible, I just take that as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and provide actionable advice that genuinely helps real people.

A perfect example is biological sex. Anyone who’s lived with the opposite sex, been married, or had kids of different sexes knows that males and females are different—on average.

There’s a ton of overlap, don’t get me wrong.

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Dear Mark: Power Yoga, Pelvic Floor, Keto Reset and Osteoporosis

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, is power yoga—a more “intense” version of yoga that includes strength exercises—a suitable alternative to strength training for aging women? Probably not, but that doesn’t make it bad or wrong to do. Second, what’s the deal with pelvic floor dysfunction after menopause? What’s the best way to improve that situation? And third, is the Keto Reset right for older women with osteoporosis?

Let’s find out:

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Women’s Fitness: Should It Change with Age?

Generally speaking, the basic Primal Blueprint for fitness and physical activity applies equally to men and women of all ages. Lifting heavy things works in everyone. Sprinting is a fantastic way—for anyone who’s able—to compress workouts and improve training efficiency. Improving one’s aerobic capacity through easy cardio doesn’t discriminate between the sexes. And everyone should walk, hike, garden, and perform as much low level physical activity as possible. These basic foundations—the 30,000 foot view of fitness—don’t really change across age or sex.

But the details do, especially for women.

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Dear Mark: Women and Violence, Reducing Extra Wine, High Intensity Interval Resting, Phosphatidylserine and Mental Stress, Rethinking Stress

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering five questions from readers. First up, do my recommendations regarding violence and martial arts in last week’s “wildness post” also apply to women? Second, what else can you do with leftover wine? Next, how do I approach my rest and work cycles? Fourth, is phosphatidylserine good for mental stress or just physical stress? And last, does changing how we interpret or react to stress change its effects?

Let’s go:

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Primal Action Point: The Mind-Body Connection & Thyroid Health

“I became aware of the power of positive thinking after solving my first bout of hypothyroidism. So when a Reverse T3 problem showed up, I actively filled my life with audiobooks, podcast interviews, and films related to spiritual healing, the power of positive thinking, and the power of the subconscious mind.

Make a vision board to hang in your house, or make a smaller version that you can keep private if you don’t want others in the household to see it. Devote the entire vision board to health and healing; it can be a continual source of inspiration and hope while also imprinting your subconscious mind with positive health affirmations every time you see it.

If you are experiencing hypothyroidism for the first time, just know that it is fixable. You have the highest chance of success if you dedicate yourself to learning all that you can about hypothyroidism while adopting a paleo/primal eating and lifestyle strategy to support your goals.

— Excerpts from The Paleo Thyroid Solution by Elle Russ

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Gender Bias in Medical Research: How It Operates and Why It Matters

Some months ago the issue of gender bias in medical research came up on the comment board. It was certainly an issue I’d occasionally read about. But I’m also a proponent of lifestyle design and intervention. I don’t spend as much time as others on the nitty-gritty of medical treatment for good reason, but the conversation got me thinking. Maybe it was time for an article after all….
And, so, the questions started coming. How does gender figure into medicine, and what exactly is gender bias in this context? How does it operate? How has it been measured? What consequences are there? How much should it influence our trust in medical literature and subsequent recommendations—the validity of findings, the efficacy of treatment, the safety of drug prescriptions? And, finally, what if any progress are we making or can we count on in the near future?

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