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

7 Herbal Alternatives to HRT

For many women, menopause can introduce new health challenges. In addition to the symptoms that perturb basic quality of life like hot flashes, headaches, night sweats, and irritability, menopause is also associated with higher risk for serious health concerns like osteoporosis, cognitive decline, and metabolic syndrome. This has made the standard treatment for menopause—hormone replacement therapy, or HRT—a multi-billion dollar business.

A few weeks ago, I explored the benefits and risks of HRT. It has its merits certainly, but it’s not for everyone. Today’s post is for those people. Say you’ve waded through the morass of HRT research and would prefer a different route. Or maybe you’ve actually tried conventional or bioidentical HRT and found it just didn’t work for you. Whatever the reason, you’re probably interested in using “natural” products if you can swing it and if it’ll actually help.

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Urinary Urgency and Incontinence: Why It’s Not Just Age

Most people chalk urinary incontinence and excessive urgency up to age. We get old, stuff stops working, we wake up to wet sheets. Cue jokes about adult diapers and investing in “Depends” futures. It’s not entirely out of line. Aging matters. There’s just more to it. Like other aspects of “aging,” incontinence and unreasonable urgency don’t just “happen.” Aging may hasten or accompany the decline, but it’s by no means inevitable, unavoidable, or unmitigated.

There are surgical treatments available, many of which involve the implantation of balloons and slings and rings and hammocks. Those are beyond the scope of this post, which will focus on exercises and other less invasive interventions and preventive measures.

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Dear Mark: Pregnenolone

In today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m talking about pregnenolone, the “master hormone.” Most of the hormones we talk about, like testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol, all have pregnenolone as their precursor hormone. What can happen when pregnenolone goes too low? Can taking pregnenolone solve any problems? Is menopause actually a pregnenolone deficiency?

Let’s find out….

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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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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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