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

Poor Sleep May Make You (and Your Liver) Fat

Ah, sleep. Nothing like a good dose of the stuff, right? Losing even a single wink of your usual forty (or an hour, as the case may be) is enough to throw off an entire day.

But do you know who might love sleep more than anyone or anything? Our livers.

Yes, livers. Those fleshy multivitamins with an apparent propensity for fat accumulation function best on a good night’s sleep. New research is revealing exactly why shift workers and other chronically sleep deprived members of mankind tend to have problems with obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, and all the other popular features of metabolic syndrome: their livers aren’t processing fat efficiently, instead allowing fat to accumulate.

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8 Health Reasons to Have Sex (As If You Needed Them)

As promised in last week’s Hunter-Gatherer Fitness post, I’m stirring up the (apparently much awaited) subject of sex – specifically the benefits for physical and mental well-being. Uh, you mean coitus? Yup. Thanks to everyone who responded to the announcement with rousing enthusiasm as well as comments and questions.

What could be more Primal than sex, many of you have suggested. Absolutely right. It was probably one of Grok’s most valued pleasures. (Are people today much different?) For our part, however, we have new freedoms in a manner of speaking. Although we might honor the evolutionary imperative behind our primal appetites with eventual procreation, we’re not beholden to the natural odds with every tryst. As I’ve said many a time, I love studying and learning from the example of Grok and his kin. Nonetheless, I’m a happily modern man in this instance as much as any.

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A Primal Primer: Estrogen

The human endocrine system exists in a state of delicate balance. None of its constituents function in a vacuum, and trying to explain every hormonal interrelationship would take volumes, but one statement is fairly safe to make: one hormone affects another. Secreting one often inhibits the next, which in turn sets off an entirely different chain reaction of hormonal secretions, inhibitions, and syntheses. I almost feel like trying to micromanage your entire endocrine system is tedious and counterproductive (and probably impossible to do effectively). I much prefer to simply eat right, exercise smart, get good sleep, normalize stress, and take advantage of simple lifestyle hacks. Still, it doesn’t hurt to understand some of the major hormonal players, especially one as widely maligned by the strength and fitness community as estrogen.

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Dear Mark: Nursing and the Primal Eating Plan

I’ve received the question numerous times, and last month several readers raised the issue in my “Ask Me Anything” post. For all the innumerable benefits of the Primal Blueprint diet, there are a handful of situations that oblige a few modest accommodations. In the past I’ve suggested Primally-minded adaptations for endurance athletes. Today I’ll take up the question of nursing. Do the long-term, intensive demands of breastfeeding require modification of the typical Primal diet? What special considerations are there for nursing mothers? And what about specific scenarios readers have mentioned: ketones, reflux, ammonia-scented urine? There’s a lot of Primal ground to cover today, so let’s jump right in. But first a reminder that I’m not a doctor and that everything on this site should be viewed as my opinion and not medical advice.

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Testosterone: Not So Manly After All?

Last week’s primer on testosterone garnered a ton of responses, mostly positive, but there appeared to be a bit of confusion regarding testosterone’s role in the female body. Namely, folks seemed to think I was suggesting it played almost no role at all! I tried to be as clear as possible – testosterone is an absolutely vital hormone for women – but I’ll try to be clearer. There’s just that niggling, pervasive stigma of testosterone as the sole hormonal realm of big burly men with bulging muscles, and I guess it’s hard to shake, even for my enlightened readership. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been subject to years of simplistic, substandard health and nutrition advice, black-and-white proclamations that attempt to describe the complex inner workings of the human body with a few sentences.

Fat is bad! Whole grains good! Men make testosterone! Women make estrogen!

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Primal Nutrition and Fertility

Although for many of us starting a family simply happens (surprise!), others among us take an intentional approach. Maybe we delay having children for professional, financial or relationship reasons. Maybe we begin trying when we’re young. Regardless of timing, facing our fertility (so to speak) is an intensely personal and often emotional passage. It can inspire joy and wonder in our basic human capacities – our deep-seated physical impulse and emotional expansion toward parenthood. For some of us, however, the journey takes on anxiety and disappointment. Although varied and nuanced factors define our reproductive health (some not fully understood even today in the medical community), experts agree that lifestyle factors contribute to overall fertility.

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Is Canned Food Safe to Eat?

Ideally, The Primal Blueprint is a living, breathing document. Whether it’s emails from insightful readers or random articles from my RSS feed casting a subject in a completely different light, or even personal N=1 revelations spurring a meticulous re-examination of previously-held stances, I’ll often find myself rethinking certain aspects of the PB. They usually hold up pretty well, mind you, but it’s always good to take stock of the evidence. It keeps us in the Primal community on our toes. Take yesterday’s post, for example. The discovery of grain residue from a 100,000 year old dig site was undoubtedly intriguing, because it suggested that a major tenet of the Primal lifestyle – that grains have no place in the human diet – might need some refining. In the end, our position remained the same (the intense labor inherent in the sourcing, gathering, hulling, processing, and cooking of grass seeds would have been too great for Grok to make it a staple food – especially when nutritionally-superior and far more nutrient-dense alternatives existed in abundance), but it was tested and therefore strengthened.

Sometimes, though, new evidence forces me to completely rethink things. Even something so seemingly innocuous as a random comment from a reader can set me off on a researching bender. Last week, someone mentioned the Bisphenol A (BPA) leaching tendencies of canned tomatoes. That was all it took to send me on a tear.

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Dear Carrie: Reader Question Roundup

What is your workout schedule? What do your meals look like? How did you lose weight and stretch marks after pregnancy? These are just a few of the questions you sent in last week.

Hello, everyone! It’s Carrie Sisson here today to field your questions. Last week Mark and I asked for any questions you might have about my experience living the Primal lifestyle. I want to thank everyone who commented for your kind words and thoughtful questions. I’d love to hear your thoughts to my responses in the comment board today. Thanks again and Grok on!

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Primal Strength Training for Women: Not So Different After All

I knew they were coming, as soon as I hit ?Publish.? I knew I?d get at least one or two comments from our female readers asking if last week?s muscle building post applied to them, too. You see, Conventional Wisdom has somehow drilled into our heads the silly notion that men and women are completely different species, especially when it comes to working out. There are definite differences ? anyone who?s been married will be able to tell you that! ? but that doesn?t take away from the fact that we?re all homo sapiens with the same basic physiological makeup. And so an outfit like Weight Watchers will push the chronic cardio, the ankle weights, and the step classes because of some underlying, self-defeating assumption that women aren?t ?meant? to lift heavy weights. It?s insane, it?s preposterous, and it?s downright insulting. Men and women have different work capacities and different natural inclinations, but their bodies still work the same way.

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Dear Readers

A couple weeks ago I gave this “Dear Readers” format a try. There was such a tremendous response that I may make it a regular feature of Mark’s Daily Apple. What do you say? I love giving my advice and opinions, but add mine with all the knowledgeable readers of MDA and then you really have something. Take a look at some of the questions I’ve received below and share you stories, experiences and knowledge in the comment board. Thanks everyone!

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