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

Dear Mark: Calcium for Women

Dear Mark,

I have been following the PB way of life quite closely now for about five months, and I haven’t felt or looked better!  Well, following it closely except for the dairy part. My question here is “How do I get all my calcium following the PB?” Also, as a female do I need more calcium than a male as we are lead to believe this by normal mainstream information? I guess my problem is I really don’t know how much calcium I should be having as the information ‘out there’ can be misleading and conflicting too. I am worried that I may be doing myself some harm later in life if osteoporosis could stem from not having much dairy.

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The High-Tech, High-Risk State of Maternity Care

I’ve been known to critique various elements of the medical establishment now and then, it’s true. (Anyone for a good Big Pharma rout?) But I’ll admit I’m venturing into new and weighty territory today. (My Y chromosome and I will tread lightly and respectfully, I promise.) It’s been a while since my own (indirect) experience in the obstetrics arena, but a new report came across my radar last week that led my mind back to the maternity ward.

It’s the Evidence-Based Maternity Care report (PDF), a collaborative effort of the Childbirth Connection non-profit organization, the Reforming States Group, and the Milbank Memorial Fund. The report was picked up by a modest number of news organizations, but it was reviewed by dozens of top physicians and policy makers across the U.S.

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Pregorexia: Fetus, We’re Hungry

Spinning nausea, wrenching vomiting and relentless exhaustion. No, we’re not talking morning sickness here (although we hope we didn’t give anyone traumatic flashbacks). This is just the everyday reaction to our media’s barrage of celebrity pregnancies. Sure, we wish all the best to anyone celebrating a new child, but the “baby bump” blitz (Did we really just say those words??), let’s face it, has nothing to do with babies themselves and everything to do with the starlets: how they look, how big they’ve gotten, who they’re wearing. (Please, please, make it stop….)

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Definitive Guide: The Primal Blueprint

Build the Healthiest Possible Body with the Primal Blueprint

I get emails every day from people who are changing their lives for the better by following the guidelines I outline on this site. But many are looking for more of what the Primal Blueprint has to offer. That is to say, they want a comprehensive break down of the elements that make up the Blueprint; a Primal primer if you will. In coming weeks I will be going into detail – anthropological evidence, modern research, etc. – regarding this health philosophy, but I first want to offer up this summary of the Blueprint. I think it is a good starting point for what is to come.

In this extended article you will find the basic building blocks needed to discover the Primal side of your life. What does this mean? It means learning and understanding what it means to be human. It means using this knowledge to help you make important lifestyle choices. It means modeling your life after your ancestors in order to promote optimal health and wellness. And, most importantly, it means taking control of your body and mind.

If this article intrigues you be on the look out for a much more thorough explanation of how we can learn from our past to shape and mold our future.

My basic premise is this: The Primal Blueprint is a set of simple instructions (the blueprint) that allows you to control how your genes express themselves in order to build the strongest, leanest, healthiest body possible, taking clues from evolutionary biology (that’s the primal part).

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Dear Mark: Primal Blueprint for Both Men and Women?

In last week’s guest post on muscle building, reader Charlotte raised the issue of gender differences in exercise benefits. Are men and women the same when it comes to the effects of cardiovascular exercise? What about the most effective ways to burn fat? These were just a few questions that got the comment board going full throttle. Thanks to Charlotte and everyone who contributed their expertise and experience. (It’s what I love about doing MDA!)

So, what about the question of gender? Let me first say that the Primal Blueprint is fully intended for and applicable to both men and women. Sure, women naturally have a higher percentage of body fat and tend to carry it in places where it’s not as readily burned as abdominal fat. It’s true, also, that our relative hormones levels have some influence on our body’s use of fat for fuel, our resting metabolism, and our sensitivity to other hormones key to exercise response. But these gender-based differences have been found to be relatively modest. And ultimately, we are not necessarily trying to be body-builders or runway models, but simply trying to find that mix of diet and exercise that achieves the healthiest levels of low body fat and balanced, useful and well-sculpted muscles for each or our unique bodies.

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Dear Mark: Mulling Multivitamins

Dear Mark,

I’m new to your blog and am interested in taking better care of my health. I’m changing my diet and want to start a multivitamin. I go to the store though and end up bewildered enough that I don’t end up buying anything. What am I supposed to be looking for?

Not surprisingly, I get a good number of questions about supplements. Since it’s a topic I’m obviously passionate about, I’m always happy to offer advice on what my research and experience have taught me about wise supplementation.

First off, I definitely recommend the kind of product you’re looking for: a core nutrient assurance. As you know, I’m all about a good diet – a great diet, in fact. But a great diet with strategic supplementation can offer optimum health benefits A few fundamental suggestions:

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Study Finds Frequent Sleep Disruption Increases Risk of Kidney, Heart Disease

A study published in the April edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology suggests that frequent disruptions in the sleep cycle (also known as circadian rhythm) can increase the risk of kidney and heart disease. (The study is not yet available online.)

Conducted by researchers from the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at Toronto General Hospital, the study altered the internal biological clocks of rodent (hamster) models using external regulators (such as reversing light and dark periods) and found that the changes resulted in cardiomyopathy (damage and enlargement of the heart) and scarring of the kidney tubules.

Based on findings from this and several other previous studies, the researchers concluded that renewal of organ tissues likely occurs during sleep, suggesting that sleep disruption prevents this process from happening and results in damage to the organs.

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The Salt/Blood Pressure Debate

In response to last week’s canned soup post, reader Dave offered this comment: “I’d just like to point out that just as many Apple readers believe in literature that debunks the lipid hypothesis, there’s a camp that says there is minimal effect on blood pressure from salt. There are two sides to many stories!”

We couldn’t agree more that nutritional (or general health) debates are rarely so simple as they’re made out to be. As long-time readers have probably noticed, we’ll mention salt recommendations now and then and generally try to keep our recipe suggestions fairly low in salt. We do tend to follow general salt recommendations. Blood pressure issue aside, high salt intake (as we mentioned last week) has been associated with osteoporosis, asthma, kidney disease and stomach cancer.

But what about the salt and blood pressure issue? Does it really hold water (pun intended)? We’d say it has enough bearing to figure into our choices, and for some people, research suggests, it’s crucially significant.

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More Chronic Cardio Talk

A few weeks back my Chronic Cardio post got a lot of response and initiated some great discussion. Since it’s one of the cornerstones of the Primal Blueprint philosophy (and an obviously popular one at that), I thought it was worth more time and tender loving attention.

And why wouldn’t anyone want to hear that real exercise doesn’t mean endless hours on that torturously boring treadmill? News like this is like sunlight bursting in, choirs of children singing, shackles collapsing open and crashing to the ground. Hordes of celebratory folk parade through the gym, penny whistles and fiddles playing, ale mugs in hand, goats and cows in the merry mix. Get off that treadmill and join us, for the love!

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Reader Response: Being Fit is Good for Sex

Last week we heard from reader, primalman08, in response to the Top 10 Reasons to Stay Healthy post:

I would like to encourage you to do more on the sexual benefits of living well. In my practice, I am astonished and saddened to hear about the lack of sex people over 50 are having with their partners. It goes well beyond just ED. It has to do with fatigue, low libido, poor body image and difficulties with positioning due to BMI. I hate to be so frank about it, but it is true and I feel it is very important. I hope that you/we can spend more time addressing this highly personal, highly important topic.

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