June 05 2013

The “Inevitabilities” of Aging: How Inevitable Are They?

By Mark Sisson
157 Comments

How many times have you heard someone say, “It’s all downhill after 40/50/60?” Or how about that time you tweaked your back and everyone was quick to tell you to get used to it because it’s never going to get any better? Some people, I guess, prefer to have control over their health wrested out of their hands and distributed to the fates. Some people like the idea of letting “nature take its course.” At least that way nothing that goes wrong is your fault, because you never had a chance anyway, right?

Wrong. Age isn’t “just” a number, and we can’t maintain Dorian Gray-esque vigor all through life, but that doesn’t mean we’re destined to be frail, brittle things relegated to chairs and walkers and homes and doctor’s offices.

Today, let’s take a look at some common “inevitabilities” of aging and why they may not be so inevitable after all.

Loss of Testosterone

Most men see the age-related decline in testosterone as inevitable, and who can blame them? Testosterone levels do generally decline with age. Younger guys generally do pack on muscle faster and easier than older guys. The association is strong, constant, and almost unwavering. But it’s not inevitable. The passage of time, the changing of seasons, the number of candles on your gluten-free birthday cake do not determine your production of testosterone. Rather, what you do, what you eat, how you exercise, how much body fat you carry, and how much stress you deal with all affect your testosterone levels.

A generational drop in testosterone has been observed. Twenty years go, men of all ages had higher testosterone levels than their counterparts today, meaning an average 50 year old guy in 1993 had higher testosterone than an average 50 year old guy in 2013. Something other than aging is lowering testosterone across the board. This shows that T production is subject to other factors, not just aging.

A recent study found that the “age-related” declinations in testosterone were modified by body weight changes and other lifestyle factors. As body weight went up, T went down. As body weight went down, T went up. As a side note, smoking cessation was associated with a lowering of testosterone, but I wouldn’t recommend picking up the habit as a way to curb T decline. Another study found that metabolic syndrome exacerbates testosterone deficiency.

As long as they maintained “excellent or very good health,” men over the age of forty experienced no declines in testosterone in a recent study. Those who did experience declines appeared to do so because of other “disorders that accumulate during aging, including obesity and heart disease.” Age itself had no independent effect.

Cortisol, the stress hormone which opposes testosterone, tends to increase with age. Higher cortisol, lower testosterone. Controlling your stress may not ensure high testosterone, but at least you’ll be taking care of one potential factor.

What about women? Women make and use testosterone, too, but their relationship with the hormone isn’t the same as men’s. As I mentioned earlier, men can stave off age-related testosterone deficiency by staying healthy and avoiding metabolic syndrome. In women, obesity actually increases circulating testosterone levels. This is because women make testosterone in body fat, in addition to the ovaries and adrenal glands. But before you go and gain a bunch of testosterone-boosting body fat, you should realize that women are extremely sensitive to testosterone’s effects. Too little testosterone is bad and associated with a lagging libido, lower lean mass, heart disease, and poor bone density, but too much testosterone is associated with type 2 diabetes, PCOS, and breast cancer (although this breast cancer connection may be explained by the conversion of excess testosterone into estradiol, and other evidence suggests that testosterone may even be protective against breast cancer).

So, as women age, they’re not so much concerned with “increasing testosterone.” They’re trying to keep their production in the sweet spot that maintains libido, bone, and muscle health without venturing into excess. But I strongly suspect that staying healthy, avoiding metabolic syndrome, and controlling stress will help women just as much as men.

Creaky Joints

Back when I was running, eating, and training like a madman, I had fairly bad arthritis. But not in my knee, or my hips, or my ankles. I had arthritis of the fingers, arthritis so severe that I had trouble holding a pen at times. I figured it was just part of getting old (like everyone told me) and tried to make the best of it. Maybe I’d even be one of those guys that can predict the weather based on the pain level in his joints. When I went grain-free, however, the arthritis evaporated. It just stopped. Now, although there’s not a lot of research into diet and arthritis, there is some strong evidence that rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, can be exacerbated by dietary lectins from grains and legumes. The conventional wisdom is that osteoarthritis is purely “wear and tear” arthritis, separate from rheumatoid arthritis, independent of dietary and inflammatory factors, and pretty much inevitable if you live long enough, but (obviously) I disagree.

Other than dietary factors, simple, chronic inactivity is the major causative factor in the development of stiff, creaky joints. There are no studies on the subject that I know of, but we all know it to be true. Just ask yourself: how do you feel after a day of sitting on your butt and being sedentary? Stiff, tight, and altogether immobile. Now, imagine an entire lifetime of that, and you get the oldster who can’t tie his own shoes or get up off the toilet.

Loss of Lean Mass

True, people tend to lose muscle mass as they age, but that’s primarily because they tend to stop exercising – if they ever did in the first place. Some muscle loss just happens, but not all, or even most of it. We can and should maintain lean mass as we age. Grandma isn’t likely to get ripped, but many studies show that seniors can still gain lean mass through resistance training:

Even immediately after hip surgery, the elderly can utilize resistance training to put on lean mass.

In elderly women, resistance training induces hypertrophy and lowers inflammation.

Stroke survivors (aged 50-76) were able to enjoy significant hypertrophy with strength training.

Even in subjects older than 80, strength training seems to counter the effects of sarcopenia, or muscle wasting.

Heartening, eh? Just be wary of trying to do too much; one study of older subjects showed that strength training alone was more effective at inducing hypertrophy than a combination of strength and endurance training.

Another cause of muscle wasting in the elderly is low testosterone, which we’ve already covered above. Take steps to mitigate that and resistance training will be even more effective.

Brittle Bones

It’s a terrible thing, to slip and fall in the shower, or while walking through the neighborhood, and end up with a broken hip or wrist for your trouble. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. It shouldn’t be that way, just because you gained a few years.

Nutritional factors certainly play a role:

Vitamin D, which we can get from sun, food, or supplements, is crucial for maintaining bone mineral density. Without it, we’re unable to utilize calcium.

Vitamin K2 is also important and has been shown to improve bone mineral density in older folks with osteoporosis. Without it, we’re unable to put calcium where it belongs (in bones).

Calcium intake, particularly from food (and dairy if you tolerate it), helps determine bone health. We sometimes forget about the raw building blocks in favor of the co-factors (perhaps because conventional wisdom has done the opposite), but we shouldn’t. It matters, too.

Though they get less attention than the previous three, other nutrients, like potassium and magnesium (to name a couple) are also required for good, strong bones.

But nutrition is useless without activity – physical stimulation of the musculoskeletal system. In order for exercise to improve bone mineral density, it must satisfy several requirements. It should be dynamic, not static. It needs to challenge you. You need to progress in weight, intensity, and duration. It should be “relatively brief but intermittent.” No long drawn out sessions that do nothing but overwork and overtrain you. Keep it short and intense. Also, the exercise should place an unusual loading pattern on the bones. That could be different movements, or increased resistance, as long as you’re introducing something “new” to the body. Finally, for exercise to improve bone mineral density it must be supported by sufficient nutrition, especially calcium and vitamin D.

Hearing Loss

Everyone’s got a grandpa whose favorite word is “Huh?” and everyone “knows” that your hearing goes the older you get. But why? Is it a feature inherent to aging? While there’s indeed something called presbycusis, which describes the cumulative effect of aging on hearing, it’s difficult to disentangle true presbycusis from all the other factors that can also affect our hearing. First, of course, is our exposure to noise, either repeated (working in a metal shop) or traumatic (witnessing a massive explosion). The more noise we hear, and the louder it is, the faster our hearing goes, all else being equal. Consider the classic study of the Mabaan people of the Sudan. The Mabaan were completely isolated from industrialization, and without firearms, cars, factories, or any other manmade sources of loud noises, the hearing of their elderly was just as sharp as the hearing of Westernized young adults. It hadn’t degraded at all over the years, showing that noise exposure, rather than aging, is the main arbiter of hearing ability.

At the heart of noise-induced hearing loss appears to be oxidative stress. Upon a loud enough noise, the overstimulated hair cells within the ear generate reactive oxygen species, which damage the cells and eventually impair hearing. Studies have shown that boosting endogenous antioxidant (glutathione) status following noise exposure can reduce hearing loss. Preliminary evidence suggests that dietary precursors to glutathione (NAC) can also reduce hearing loss. It’s likely that eating a diet rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, and other antioxidant compounds could have similar preventive effects. This might be our best bet, short of escaping civilization and avoiding all loud noises.

As people age, their lifestyles suffer. They work more and longer hours. They sleep less. They accumulate more stress, and do more stress-eating. They stop moving as much, particularly if their new adult jobs force them to sit for eight hours a day. They live more poorly, and, in turn, suffer many of the health maladies we regard as “part of getting old.” I’m not suggesting that aging has zero effect on our physiological health. If nothing else, it makes us more vulnerable to our poor lifestyles and gives us more time to accumulate further damage (loud noises, stress-causing responsibilities, etc). I’m just saying that we give it a lot more power that it deserves. By doing that, we cede control over our own health to some abstract function of space-time. If aging is gonna get ya, it’s gonna get ya. Let’s do our best to hold it off at the pass, shall we?

TAGS:  Aging, hormones

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157 thoughts on “The “Inevitabilities” of Aging: How Inevitable Are They?”

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  1. Primal living hasn’t erased my wrinkles, eliminated my grey hair or enabled me to read fine print without cheater glasses BUT my energy levels, cognition and zest for life have dramatically improved.
    Primal living is the fountain of youth
    Looking 61 but feeling 40 again,
    Kara

    1. About that gray hair–eat more beef liver to get more catalase into your system. Catalase is what prevents gray hair. Miss Clairol be damned!

      I wish I’d known this back when I was in my 30’s, when the gray hair was just getting started.

      1. If it takes consuming liver to prevent gray hair, then I will just be gray.

        1. Try some rose veal liver. It is extremely tender and does not have that overly intense metallic tang of beef or lamb liver. If you soak the livers in milk overnight and then rinse them, this will draw even more of that intensity out. Then pan fry like a soft, ultra-nutritious steak. If that’s still too much, bang it in a stew with some other cuts to ‘dilute’ it a bit. Learn to love liver and live longer!

      2. How about other liver, like chicken liver? Does that work as well as beef liver?

        1. Chicken liver make you into a blonde while lamb’s liver makes you a brunette.

      3. Garde, Wow! who knew? Now if I could just figure out which liver to counteract having my Dad’s poker-straight hair (his was thick, lots of body) with my Mom’s very, very fine hair (hers was naturally wavy; alas, mine is poker-straight and way, way fine!)

        Yes, I get there are lots of nutritional things that can impact our looks. Seems to me the reason to eat liver is internal rather than external.

        I could be wrong; I’ve been wrong before

        1. Liver is a bit of an aquired taste, but as with many foods i think the trick is in how you prepare it. I enjoy liver when i cut it up in small pieces and sorta marinate it for a bit. Olive oil, salt and pepper, turmeric, ginger and curry powder and some fresh sage. Leave it for a bit then bake the lot in a pan. Not too long so it doesn’t get chewy but long enough as to make the weird pink texture go away.
          It’s easier to cook cut up in small pieces i find. I bought a big sheep’s liver the other day, they didn’t do half ones, and i’ve been having small portions as a snack in the afternoon for the last three days.

    2. I’ve had horrible eye sight since age of 10. it’s been a slow decline year after year.

      However, this year, after 2 years of eating primally, is the first time in my life that my eyesight improved. i would have been thrilled if it just plateaued and not get a stronger prescription but to have my prescription improve, even incrementally, was beyond my imagination.

      Proof here: http://getfitinchbyinch.com/nutrition-and-the-impact-on-eyesight/

      1. That is awesome. One more reason to really try and clean up food choices.

  2. You don’t talk about fertility here. Having a vast and varied experience, it is my opinion that when many doctors talking about aging ovaries, what they really mean (and often don’t recognize) is that those ovaries are being affected more by poor health more than aging. It is clear from earlier generations that women are able to reproduce at much later ages than we commonly accept in the 21st century.

    1. I was able to conceive much faster at 39 on a Primal diet than at 25 on SAD/vegetarian. (1 cycle verus 5 or 6) I joked with my husband that after this baby was born, I should probably consider birth control if I was merely walking past a men’s locker room.

      1. Wow, I am so happy to hear about your success. I can only help that I have the same, I have been a veggie since age 13 and I am now 39 as well. I really want to be super healthy before I try to conceive this is just the encouragement I need to take the step to primal!

        1. I’m 40 and pregnant (we weren’t even trying – actually trying NOT to by tracking ovulation) and I think it’s because my husband and I are both eating primal. It’s like we’re aging in reverse! I often get confused as my 14 year old’s sister lately. I’m sure once I start showing that might change though. 🙂

      2. Hmm scary! When I was in my 20s and eating SAD I was able to conceive right away (three times)… now I’m eating primal at 40 I’ll have to be super careful!!

    2. This is very interesting…do you have links re past generations being able to conceive at much later ages than we are now? Thanks!

  3. My mom was talking about one of my Dad’s friends. He’s around 70-ish and is healthy (by conventional standards). My mom said “he was blessed with good health”. ???!!! I laughed and said “so the rest of us are screwed then? Did you hear what you just said? We have to be BLESSED with good health now!!??” It used to be all downhill after 50. Then it was 40, now 30. I must be going in reverse, then. 🙂

  4. Great article Mark. I too, prior to cleaning up my diet, attributed my problems to aging. Thanks for clearing up some other age related misconceptions I had.

  5. I get so irritated with people who claim that every health issue they have is a result of getting older. Meanwhile, these same people eat a junkfood diet full of sweets and grain products, get little exercise, and often carry a spare tire around their waist. It doesn’t do any good to point out the error of their thinking because they’re convinced that’s “just the way it is.” Sometimes you can’t even lead the horse to water, much less make him drink.

    1. Caffeine apparently slows metabolism of cortisol. Cortisol is highest in the I-Hate-Mornings, and declines throughout the day, but declines more slowly if you caffeinate.

  6. There is a great (imo) book I read several years ago, before I found Mark’s book, titled “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley. Many of the ideas expressed there line up very well with Mark’s Primal recommendations: lift weights, and develop a strong social network, for examples.

    The authors also discuss some pretty interested things about our physiology on a cellular level which tie in very well with the science behind Primal living.

    Worth a read.

    1. Younger Next year is very much aligned with Mark’s thoughts on aging.

    2. David, thanks for the book idea!

      Three years ago when I turned 45 I finally got tired of attributing any health complaint to “aging.” I made a point of deciding that I would feel younger at age 50 than I did on that 45th birthday. My focus changes at times to keep my interest up, but I find ways to improve mobility, diet, and general well being, and chip away without worrying about perfection.

      I still have nearly two years to go, but I suspect I will simply continue this indefinitely since it seems to be working well for me.

      1. My Mom who is 72 told me she is starting to pee on herself because she is getting older. I told her to do Kegel exercises and there will be no need to wear diapers. She just shrugged it off. I think she’ll be perfectly happy in diapers. Makes me sad.

      2. Cool idea, Rodney! I too, am 45 and am going to adopt your idea! Love it.

  7. All I have to do is look at my mid-late 60s parents since they decided to hit it up Paleo style last year to know that age BS. They were just out to help us move this weekend and they left me exhausted – and I’m the one who hasn’t been eating well and moving enough lately. But a couple of years ago, they were in the same boat, and definitely feeling “old.”

  8. I just turned 60. Feel like 30. Act like I’m 13.
    Thanks to being primal/paleo for 7 years.

    1. +1. 57, feel like 28, but I do act older than 13 (maybe 25). Thanks Mark for all you do. Paleo is like Ponce De Leon finding the real waters of youth…

  9. I have a creaky right knee at 30, which just didn’t seem right to me, and my acupuncturist recommended eliminating nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers) for a while and see if that made it any better. She was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her mid-20s and thought the whole nightshade thing was hogwash until she tried it herself. She said she never even noticed that she was better until one day, not even thinking, she had potato salad and some tomatoes, and woke up the next morning with her arthritis acting up. So maybe if cutting out grains and legumes doesn’t fix it, eliminating nightshades could be the next step. I’ll admit, though, it isn’t easy.

    1. A primal lifestyle resolved all of my health problems last year, except, like you, my right knee remained painful. By accident, I eliminated nightshades for two weeks (I keep a food diary so was able to go back and see what I did differently) and the pain was GONE. I did add nightshades back (mostly tomatoes and peppers) but in very small amounts and not every day, and 6 months later I am still pain free. I am doing full squats, lots of them, for the first time in my life. I’m 40 and getting younger by the month!

    2. Ugh – don’t tell me that! I convinced my Mexican husband to start eating Paleo last year, and he has been wonderful about giving up grains – even the corn and rice that were a mainstay of his diet. I don’t think he could bear to give up peppers – but his issues with pain are more fibromyalgia/muscle related stuff. Joints seem to be okay. If and when he ever mentions joint pain, I’ll mention the nightshades. 😉
      (Not the first time I’ve heard that, though. And we are off potatoes…!)

      1. According to Dr. Barry Sears in his book, “The Anti-Inflammation Zone”, a very good remedy for musculoskeletal pain is high-dose fish oil. In fact, Sears, a medical research scientist, claims that high-dose fish oil is incredibly beneficial for a number of ailments. The dosage for “screaming pain” (as he refers to it) is 7.5 grams of EPA/DHA (about one tablespoon) per day. Apparently it takes about a month to see relief.

        I am currently trying this for chronic inflammation that developed in a knee I injured last fall. I’ve only been doing the high dose fish oil for about 2 weeks now, so the jury is still out. If you decide to try this, opt for the liquid fish oil as opposed to gulping dozens of capsules every day. Carlson’s and Nordic Naturals are top-of-the-line brands. The oil is refined to eliminate contaminants and is flavored with lemon. It doesn’t taste fishy at all.

        1. One caveat regarding fish oil: It is a natural blood thinner and probably shouldn’t be taken in large amounts if one has a bleeding problem or is taking pharmaceuticals to thin the blood. Also, once pain relief is achieved and sustained for a 2-week period, the fish oil dosage can gradually be reduced.

        2. We do do fish oil, and he’s been eating more fish….. One thing that seems to be really helping is magnesium oil. I had him taking oral supplements a while back, with seemingly no effect, before I realized “Well duh – it doesn’t matter how much he takes if his gut is messed up – he won’t absorb it anyway!”. So we switched to oil. (That’s topical, of course). Much better. If you’re not using it for your own pain, we highly recommend it! 🙂

        3. It is a blood thinner, but daily tolerated doses add up quick. In studies comparing Fish Oil to ibuprofen for long term back pain, FISH OIL WINS.
          As a Chiropractor, I request all my patients get on fish oil. Of course, only a few actually listen too me. 🙁

        4. Is “fish oil” the same as cod liver oil? I know that cod is a fish, but are the 2 oils similar/same in properties? Or does the CLO have different properties than a more genericly-named fish oil?

      2. I was diagnosed with FM a few years ago. It got me started on my health journey (6 months before I found Primal Blueprint). My diet got way off track and I had a nasty flare up (they coincide with a Reactive Hypoglycemia flare up. Connected? I have no idea). I started taking amino acid supplements. 5-HTP, GABA, The 5-HTP (I found the info in a book called The Mood Cure; also in Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic – these supps are great for killing sugar cravings) is an alternative medicine that is used to treat FM (NOW Supplements are really good). I had more than 3 months of neck/shoulder stiffness, burning, stabbing pains before the flareup – I blamed it on my sleeping position. About 2 hours after my second dose on day 2 of 5-HTP my neck/shoulders just “released”. It happened within minutes, too. I felt this warmth through my neck and down my arms and it was a wonderful warmth – like blood was flowing again. Make sure to research so you can get the dose right. 🙂

    3. That’s why they call it the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)–it eliminates nightshades, eggs, and other pro-inflammatory foods.

      1. Fish oil, and most other natural remedies for inflammation, work by the same mechanism as NSAIDs. So another caveat is don’t take fish oil or tart cherry juice, with NSAIDs. I researched this a few years back when I had frozen shoulder and concluded that there was not any advantage of fish oil over an NSAID in terms of long-term bad effects such as stomach bleeding, kidney disease, etc. There was not any evidence that fish oil helped with heart disease long-term, even though it does improve blood lipid profiles.

  10. Nice to see more info about aging–many of us paying attention to the blueprint are older even than Mark! I like to showcase the exploits of the very old in my blog now and then. I think they show us the potential for all humans rather than just something exceptional.

    I’m banking on that, too, as I started my own homestead/farm from scratch at age 68 this year! Thanks for this one, Mark!

  11. I sure needed to hear this one today! The last few weeks have been hell on wheels b/c my monthly cycle was two weeks late. At my age (just nearly 47) all I can think of is approaching menopause since the other option is a surgical impossibility!

    I am so much better off since I began trying to live primally. I don’t hurt like I used to, my skin is better, my energy levels are so much higher and my sleep is better. But this past two weeks all that went away due to the hormone rollercoaster. Carrie’s new book can’t get here fast enough for me! I need more woman-specific info!

    This post is also a real wake up call for me as to just how much more I can do and need to do to help myself. Exercise is the huge gaping hole in my primal routine. Sigh. I have got to do something about that or pay the consequences.

    1. I really feel for you – that was me 5 years ago at 42 years old. Every month I would go through the feeling “am I pregnant? or menopausal?”. Turns out I was menopausal. Not good to go through menopause at 42 – it made me feel like a dried up old prune..

      You have to be aware that the hormonal feeling may in the end make you feel like you are going crazy, and then add the absolute zero libido, hot flushes etc and you are feeling like a big, fat nothing…

      i would really encourage every 40 something women to read Suzanne Somers book “Ageless” to really understand what they can do to improve their hormonal health as they negotiate another change in life. It is only now that I have found a doctor to truely knows what he is talking about re bio-identical hormones that I feel like me again.

      I ACTUALLY initiated sex with my husband last night – I cannot tell you when the last time was that I did that. He was shocked – as it has been a huge issue in our relationship for so long. I just was too exhausted, dried up, and grumpy to even consider touching him.

      But what I am more happy with is that my hormone levels are protecting me against cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and adrenal fatigue.

      So I would really recommend the book it if you are feeling a bit “off” – trust me, alot of women find menopause a breeze – but for me it was not…

  12. It was through ill health (ME/CFS) that I found Primal and this site. I have been grain free since December and definitely find some symptoms lessened. However I am still VERY restricted in how much I can physically do on a day to day basis. I have lost a load of muscle mass (and my weight has also dropped although I am within the healthy BMI range) and I feel I am now what can be called “skinny fat”.

    However I was advised that giving my muscles some “resistance” training would help halt the muscle decline and since making more of an effort in this way, I think that things have stopped sliding further. I have also tried a few simple Pilates exercises, and I make sure I get plenty of time outside by using a mobility scooter to exercise my dogs. (This is a huge help mentally as I can once again get out into real weather and feel the wind in my hair etc.)

    I can relate to some of the things you say about “aging” here – as some of the effects of my illness are similar. Yet being inventive, and finding ways within what is possible, can really help both mental and physical health going forward into an uncertain future.

    I think this is what I enjoy about the Primal approach. There is an optimism here and a willingness to make changes for good mental and physical health. And that applies to whatever state of health we find ourselves endowed with….

  13. I would love to see more a definitive piece on maintaining/healing joints (ie ankle and knee care) on this site. I play a LOT of squash (highly encouraged -about the best workout you can imagine) and have noticed it taking a toll on my ankles and knees.

    1. Apart from the primal diet and supplements, I recommend checking out Pete Egoscue’s book ‘Pain Free’ and Kelly Starett’s book ‘Becoming a Supple Leopard’. I believe he also has a bunch of free videos online at mobilityWOD.com

    2. Nightshades were the issue for me. I unwittingly eliminated them last November (was Primal-grain free since August) and my pain went away. I have reintroduced them but only in small amounts and not every day. No joint pain still. (This coming from someone diagnosed as a child with a “cartilage disease”. Throughout my life there were times I could barely walk, and I almost underwent surgery-thank god I didn’t- and endured other treatments and meds. And all forms of arthritis “run in the family”. BS.) I have been trying to help other family members but they just can’t wrap their mind around the idea that food, even “healthy” food, can hurt us. If you haven’t tried it, maybe it’s worth a try?

    3. Stinging nettle is wonderful for bone health. I started drinking nettle infusion for energy but noticed after a couple of weeks that my knee pain had disappeared completely. It’s bursting with minerals for good bone health.

  14. I once showed a picture of Mark to my dad. His response, “The guy’s probably on steroids.”

    There’s just no winning this one. 😀

    1. I know it’s been said before, but what a shame – when we see someone who is literally the picture of health, we cynically attribute it to steroids. Or in the case of women – “surely she’s had work done”………!

      1. Yeah, she’s had work done…in the Crossfit box, the HIIT floor, the indoor jungle gym, and in the kitchen.

        1. If women have work done, it seems like it’s focused on the face and the chest first.

          Women who have worked and taken care of themselves look beautiful — and if there’s no work done, somewhat small chested, usually. 🙂

    2. I agree. I sent ‘Caveman Dave’s” success story to my brother-in-law to help encourage him and he thought it was all fake. Couldn’t/wouldn’t believe the results. Oh well…

  15. I have noticed much thicker facial hair since I went paleo 10 months ago. I was never able to sport sideburns, and the last haircut I had, I walked out with some Martin Van Buerens-the barber just did it and I didn’t even notice until I got home.

    I am 46, so I don’t think its a late bloomer kind of thing. Beard is much thicker too with no noticeable increase in nose or ear hair-ha.

    Alas, if only I saw some improvement up top, I could be sporting a head of lettuce like Mark. Bring on the Corvette and the gold chains.

    1. Hahaha “Martin Van Burens” that’s awesome. Someone’s gotta bring back lambchops, they’re sexy.

  16. Strontium is the latest “darling” of the supplement world for bone building qualities. I have looked it up and there is a mixed bag of information. What does Grok think about Strontium?

  17. I hang out with a lot of old men in their 60s and 70s. I never talk to them because they can’t hear anything I say. It’s very annoying. Just get a proper hearing aid already, ya know? They make them so invisible nowadays nobody notices.

    But even more annoying is I hang out with a lot of physically active old men. We go on trail maintenance trips. They carry in heavy tools and cut brush with loppers and hand saws and saw trees with cross-cut saws. But they all complain about the brain fog and the arthritis and the low-t and laugh it all off as aging. If they would just eat some real fat and stop eating so many “complex carbohydrates” (aka, healthywholegrains) and quit it with the chronic “moderate” cardio and get some proper strength training they could reverse a lot of this. I know this because it was starting to happen to me, too (well, not the low-t since I’m a lady). I totally identify with the finger arthritis. I also had foot and hip pain and was just generally feeling older, tireder, weaker, less mobile.

    Now I feel younger than I did when I was young, younger than my teens and 20s. I’m almost 50 and getting younger every day.

    1. re; the older men who cannot hear well. i would love a hearing aid. you sound so pompous! insurance does not cover them! they are costly. I have hearing loss and tinnitus and really would love one, but your attitude sucks! why not teach some of them somethings rather than just trash them for not knowing anything!

  18. Honestly, after nearly 2 years on a GF/Primal/Paleo diet, I feel and look better than I did when I was in my 20s. And I’m approaching 40. I’ve adjusted my lifestyle to be one of steady, consistent movement. I found a job (that I love) where I can work from home, enjoy the freedom to take breaks (going outside or knocking out a quick workout), and use a standing desk. The effort you put into improving your life corresponds to how much you will enjoy your life.

  19. Thank you for this. My parents have that helpless “it’s just gonna happen” mentality, and it’s so far from the truth.

  20. Reg hearing loss (presbycuosis), my predicament (90% in the left, some 60% in the rt at age 74) is certainly attributable in part to xs noise in earlier yrs. As a rly. mech engineer in the glory days of steam, it used to be the macho thing to stand by without flinching while a 5 ton hammer went banging away on a chunk of steel, and the less said about boiler repair shops the better. However, neural health has a lot to do with it. Some 8-10 yrs ago, on a train journey, a sudden jolt did something inside my left ear, and for a few precious seconds I could hear everything around perfectly well in the left. Before I could begin to cheer, it went. Now this stimulation is something that massive doses of B-12 could possibly generate. Haven’t been able to try it out on myself, since in India we don’t get the sub-lingual variety with better absorption, and just how many 500mcg tablets can one take?. Anyone else dealing with presbycuosis I’d really be interested to hear from, for medical science doesn’t hv anything to offer.

  21. I’m in my early 50s and was told a few years ago by my doctor that the osteoarthritis in my fingers (from flute playing) and knee (from running) was age related and there was nothing I could do about it. When I went gluten free, all the pain disappeared, along with my stiff ankles and other painful creaky bits. I’m still trying to convince my doctor that I don’t need calcium supplements to stave off osteoporosis–I lift weights (in the form of kettlebells) regularly and even compete in girevoy sport from time to time (I beat women who are 20 years younger). My problem, which is likely age related, is recovery. I’m in the best shape of my life and much stronger than I’ve ever been, but after a hard workout, it takes me longer to “bounce back.” Any suggestions or info that you can offer?

    1. Depending on your budget and diet restrictions / philosophy some d-Ribose and / or BCAA’s pre and a whey protein drink post workout may help, works pretty well for me (60 year old guy).

  22. I spend time in Florida each year visiting aging relatives. It’s a nice eye-opener each time because in these elder-communities you see plenty of healthy, active seniors. Biking, swimming, going to the gym, dancing, partying, golfing into their 90s. Having fun and enjoying life. It’s wonderful and encouraging. (Plus the Florida warmth and humidity in winter feel so good.)

    Of course, being Primal over two years now, at 53 I feel youthful, vigorous, pain-free – I feel like a poster child for Mark’s article today. And, with hair color and makeup I think I look pretty good too – even naked!

  23. Another primal “oldster” here. At age 63 I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been in my whole life. Yes, there’s the grey hair and the wrinkles and recovery time is probably longer than a 20-yr.-old’s, but I am bursting with vitality and free of many pre-primal aches and pains. Oh, and avoided statins and stopped blood pressure meds. I’m going with the “live long, drop dead” plan, and just wish conventional geriatric care could see the wisdom of this approach.

  24. How about Tinnitus?? Can we turn that one around? I’ve read some who believe an anti-inflammatory diet (whatever that is for you) can make the ear-ringing subside.

    Years back when I tried being a Raw Vegan (which I can’t fathom now!) my ear ringing totally went away – for years. Recently, it’s come back again with a vengeance, and I’m wondering what I can do to turn it around.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Do you eat dairy? It seems to me that the elimination of dairy products is why people can improve on vegan after coming straight from SAD.

    2. My tinnitus seams much better since going primal. Had a lot of damage from flying airplanes with no ear protection and punk rock way back when.

      1. i have had tinnitus for decades,from noise. recently my ENT gave me a samples of Lipoflavonids. they really do work. my tinnitus is much improved. give it a try.

    3. just posted this: lipoflavoniods do work to lessen tinnitus. my ENT gave me a sample. can get it any drug store with the vitamins!

  25. Reading articles like this just pumps me up even more. Back on the primal wagon after a month or two of gluten free grains, and feeling way better after two days!

  26. Great to see this article. When somebody says the “we’re getting old thing” I just say “not me”. I’m 59 and have lifted weights since 14, have added yoga for the last 12 years as well 1-2x per week and walk 1-1/2 hours a day with my dogs. The yoga classes are quite challenging as you have to do body weight bearing poses and hold them. My body fat could be lower and I’m working to get back to being more lean. That’s the challenge, keeping the man boobs away!

  27. Thank you thank you thank you! Where were you all my life? In my 20s I had no energy. In my 30s I napped sitting up just I used to find my Grandma doing. In my 40s everything hurt my stomach but it was ok…i know where I was headed as my Grandma tolerate very little. Lets not talk about joint pain after all it happens as you get older. I’m in my 50s, nap free, grain free, just free. Now I’m just mom on that crazy diet converting my husband and adult kids one meal at a time.

    1. Great stuff Judy! It really does border on the miraculous. One meal at a time should do the trick.

  28. It seems like whenever I get together with my family or future in-laws, all they talk about is how much a pain in the butt getting old is. Occasionally, even my patients will tell me “don’t ever get old.” Mark, I would love to hear your input on dementia. My 87 year old grandmother was recently diagnosed just a few months ago and is rapidly deteriorating. Some days the only thing she knows is her name. It’s interesting because she never gave into the conventional wisdom and, additionally, took daily walks all the way through her 70’s.

      1. Hi! You said 2 words for dementia is coconut oil. Can you please explain this IN DETAIL more as I work with older people & some with dementia & I would love to make life easier for them. I am looking forward to hearing from you & your specifics as to why it works. I love coconut oil by the way. You don’t have to convince me, it’s the facts I need. Thanks! Renee

  29. My son introduced me to the Primal Blueprint over 2 years ago when I was searching for a weight loss plan I could live with for the rest of my life. He told me as long as you follow the plan 80% of the time you will lose weight. That sounded good because it allowed me not feel like a failure if I ate something wrong like most other program/plans out there. After 2 yrs of eating Primal I have lost 105lbs and am in the best shape of my life. I even joined a gym and workout on regular basis. I’m 56 and feel better than I did in my 20’s.
    My husband did not want to follow the plan right away, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and had a heart attack. After watching me melt away and cooking GF Primal he began to slowly get the picture. We have reversed his Type 2 and he no longer requires his medication. Right now I’m working on getting his cholesterol under control so he can get rid of that med also.
    Last weekend we had lunch with his sister and husband and they are both in their 70’s and the discussion always seems to head in the direction of getting old and what meds they are on etc. I am very proud of what we have accomplished through diet and exercise and want to shout it to the world! Just wish everyone would “get it” like I finally did! Thanks so much Mark you finally made this eating thing make sense and I’m sure you saved my husbands life.

  30. Yay! i love this. I am turning a young 40 this year and while my mind sometimes gets freaked out about it (mainly because i haven’t had kids yet) i look and feel better than i did in my 20s. i LOVE physical activities, i run, SUP, surf, WOD etc for pure enjoyment of it. I get carded at least 4-5 times a year (HOORAH!) and so far only 3 gray hairs have popped up. I feel like i’m maybe 27…but with infinetely more wisdom.

    Best part is this is just me getting started. The “ageing” response is pure laziness.

    Another aspect that I think keeps you feeling young is trying new things. A sport, a hobby, anything that makes you feel kind of uncomfortable and that is novel. Not being afraid of having to be the ‘expert’ at everything by a certain age is key. We have to constantly learn and expand both our bodies and minds to stay in that young, learning frame of mind.

    also, some amazing examples of people who have not let age limit them…
    laird hamilton
    don wildman
    dara torres etc

  31. I am 34 and was found to be LOW TESTOSTERONE. I learned first hand what that feels like and how dramatic the mental and physical effects are. I know inject every morning. I am convinced supplementation is not dangerous. My blood sugars are better (very important for longevity), my personality is perky, and I’m losing fat. Primal actually worked so well I improved levels on my own, but after adding in intense activity like Crossfit, I kept suffering low levels eventually. It is very hard to find doctors that will help this the right way.

    1. How did you go about finding a doctor to help you with this?

      I had mine tested, and it was in the very low 300’s. They still consider this, the normal range, but it’s the bare minimum (even for someone who is 65), and I’m only 30!

      Planning on seeing an endocrinologist, but am expecting push back because I am a man, and this low level is considered in normal range (even though if it tested 10 lower it would be considered out of range). Expecting to be treating like I’m trying to get steroids, or lying to get pain killers… It’s seems endo’s are fine helping women with their hormonal issues, but men seem to meet a ton of resistance…

  32. Am 48 – Fit, Active, Happy, Healthy! Still immature ( so I’m told – but who are they!~LOL), I am the fun Dad of my daughters and their friends.
    Thanks to Mark and the Daily Apple.

    1. awesome! I get the same thing ( re being immature) but my girls love the fact that I skateboard, ride bikes, and just have a bunch of fun. The so called “mature” people can stuff it!

  33. Noise is a prime contributor to deafness in the U.S. and is totally preventable. The worst offenders are loud music, lawn mowers, and motorcycles. For over 40 years I have always carried several pairs of ear plugs with me. Also over the years nearly all uses of music have gotten much louder. I have a running freud at my gym because of the ever increasing volume of muzak. It’s obnoxious even with ear plugs. Jet flights are louder and if I am riding my motorcycle more than a few minutes around town in go the plugs. At 63 I can still hear a pin drop and I intend on keeping it that way.

    1. A running Freud at your gym? Did he go primal and is still alive?

      1. Lmao… You beat me to it..

        About the loud music, it’s a serious issue. I used to be a musician and my band members used to rip on me for always wearing earplugs.

        Now I find myself listening to music on HALF the levels my friends do. I claim they’re all half deaf. I mean, if a mountain lion were to stalk up on them, they wouldn’t even know until it sank its teeth in their jugular.

        On a side note, since going semi-paleo, I have found my night vision has gone through the roof. Anyone else experience anything like it?

  34. Thanks, Mark! That’s a message I try to give to my patients every day!

    Mechanical stressors that lead to joint and soft tissue dysfunction tend to be cumulative, as well. If you stop moving long enough, or have enough trauma without proper treatment/rehab, you will wind up feeling, looking and moving like an oldster. Much of that can be undone mechanically, just as it can be with diet and life style. I’m always reiterating to patients: “What is COMMON should not be considered NORMAL.”

    We all have to raise the bar on aging. I appreciate Mark’s words of wisdom and will use this eloquent article with my patients to that end.

  35. “…to improve bone mineral density, … You need to progress in weight, intensity, and duration.

    This is confusingly stated; it seems to imply that one needs to always ratchet up the work, or all the gains will be lost, which isn’t true. As long as one is regularly doing more than before, there will be an increase in bone density (especially if there are no nutritional deficits). If one is very sedentary, just adding a mile+ per day should add significant density over time. Sure, one may plateau after a while, but there should not be a loss as long as the exercise is kept up.

  36. This article brought a different idea to my mind.

    It is a shame that young people are not taught how to get the most “mileage” out of their bodies. We should teach them how to conduct themselves so that they can grow old and not be an invalid.

    I am taking care of my dying father now. He’s home bound because he’s tied to an oxygen machine. He had diabetes. He has COPD and heart failure. Why? I blame the his sedentary lifestyle, smoking two packs of Kent per day for 30 years, and eating a bound of chocolate every night.

    I’d like to see a generation that doesn’t go down that path of a self made, old age HELL like my father is suffering through now.

    1. I would just like to extend my compassion to you. I posted below about my dad who has made great choices but I watched my mom die very directly from some very bad choices. Choice might not be the word everyone uses but she was a heavy user of alcohol and cigs. Her doc told me at the end it was a race which got her first. It’s hard to watch, there is not much to say, and your wish of a better path for others is really wonderful perspective.

  37. Was 70 lbs overweight and my knees always hurt. Went Paleo and have taken off 37 of those pounds off. Knees feel great, and I started skateboarding (longboard) again 45. I feel better than I did when I was 25!

  38. I have patients in their 80s that would whack you with something heavy if you spoke to them about old age. The only way to slow them down would be to chain them to something. On the other hand, I have 50 year old’s who constantly talk about being “old” and have resigned themselves to a slow but inevitable decline as they sit in their easy chairs and wither away. While good nutrition is paramount to us all, activity levels seem to be what separates them.

  39. What about eyesight? I’ve heard that estrogen-pumped products have caused several problems, including changing the shape of the eye that screw it up. Chickens aren’t allowed to be injected with hormones now, and I don’t drink milk anymore, but I don’t think it’s reversible.

    1. I found that going primal improved my eyesight a bit. Not remarkably so, but it definitely had a marked improvement. I just happened to realize that I could see my phone from three feet away, as opposed to the six inches I had to previous hold it at. I am hoping staying primal might continue to reverse the damage that was done previously…

  40. I’m 70. I’ve been doing ~80% Primal for 5 years.

    Testosterone: I don’t have blood work but from what I can tell, it is high and has increased.

    Creaky Joints: I have them but they are getting better.

    Loss of Lean Mass: Around the time I learned about Primal, my dentist had to pull a tooth because my body had cannibalized calcium from it. And at every visit to his office, fillings had to be replaced because they were loose. That has stopped. I am convinced that my teeth are being remineralized. I am pretty sure my lean mass has increased.

    Hearing Loss: A year ago, an audiologist said I had 20% hearing loss. I was constantly saying, “Huh?” I was trying to figure out how pay for a $2000 hearing aid. I started doing IF and lost a ton of weight. My hearing is now good.

    The only med I am taking is Metformin for pre-diabetes. (Pre but it isn’t ever going to be full diabetes.) My kidney function is somewhat reduced as a result of the high blood sugar. Otherwise, my health is excellent.

    Today I walked a mile then did 4 hours of construction work on a community project. I am younger than I was 5 years ago and getting even younger. Thanks Mark!

    1. Great job Harry! I too am convinced that my teeth have remineralized. They turned whiter and whiter and are stronger. Used to get fillings every year and now I have not had to get any for over 3 years.

  41. Sounds as though our daily yoga practice is definitely a great thing, wonderful detox too:) I enjoy letting go of my parents’ mantra, ‘it’s just old age’ and enjoying breathing into every cell to renew and take another journey each day.

  42. The grim reaper comes for us all, but I’d rather be 90 and able to sprint away from the guy–or deadlift him–than lying in a hospital bed. (picture suprising him by knocking that scythe out of his bony hands with a kettlebell)

  43. I hope you younger folks come to realize that the elder folks would very much like to talk about anything other than age.
    The elder folk, though,are asked on arrival about ‘how we are’, ‘how our shit is’ and ‘should you be doing that?’ Try once in awhile to ask ‘hey, come out and play, eh?’

  44. At 51, I’m amazed when I’m with people half my age who huff and puff up stairs or small hills. I often take steps two at a time or run up them simply because it’s fun!

    Living the right way makes a profound difference. Nobody will mistake me for someone in his twenties. But even with my minimal (but diligent) attention to exercise and not quite perfect diet, I can run circles around most of the twenty-somethings I encounter.

    And by the way, I say these things with no gloating–only exasperation over the loss so much happiness and the promotion of so much misery.

  45. My 97 year old grandmother somewhat reversed osteoporosis by heeding the advice, 2 decades ago, of a doctor who told her that the only way she was going to stay out of wheel chair was by lifting heavy, several days a week. Same doctor told her not to do intense aerobics and that a daily 20 minute walk was sufficient. Smart doctor. Would that all docs dealing with geriatric patients hand out similar advice. She was at particularly high risk due to breast cancer when she was in her 60’s and the maintenance meds she’s taken ever since, which have the side effect of severely weakening bones, but she stayed out of the wheelchair until just a few weeks ago, when bone cancer (related to the cancer maintenance med she’s taken for 30 years????) began affecting her balance too much for independent walking.

  46. Hi! I read all posts. Want clarification on arthritis in hands or trigger finger, very stiff hands nearly every morning & continues all day. Sometimes they are looser but can’t figure what works & what doesn’t. I don’t eat too much bread but am not grain free totally but not bad. I am type 1 diabetic so can’t consume too much carbs anyway but do sometimes. Anything else that could take this pain away that I have daily in my fingers? Opening & closing hands is possible but very tight & feels like there’s no moisture inside. Ii eat a lot of protein, drink cream with my coffee & eat vegies. I do cheat for sure,& do drink wine but I am so sick of my hands feeling like this that I want to omit what is making my hands like this. So far, no where else except my left arm in middle is feeling nerve pain. Any help, I would appreciate. TY very very much! Renee

    1. Only suggestion I have is to go “whole hog”….bacon!
      Seems ths saturated fat, in combination with avoiding ALL grains does the trick.

      1. Hello to the one who said I should not eat saturated fats? So you mean to not eat any pork at all? That could be causing my arthritis in my hands? Am I correct that this is your suggestion? I am 54, diabetic & have very tight hands all the time? Esp. right hand & ring finger sticks often when opening & closing hands? I eat little grains & am willing to stop all foods that are contributing to this problem. I eat plenty of protein, vegies, dairy but mainly cream & cheese, not milk, stopped that but had been drinking raw. I do drink kefir & eat yogurt but only organic. I need help as my arthritis has not improved & I’m sick of it. HELP PLEASE! Renee

        1. Could be a misunderstanding…my comment to “go whole hog” was meant to imply eating bacon would likely help.

        2. Hi To going “whole hog” meaning to eat more bacon? I love bacon & eat organic pork often & then I read somewhere that eating too much meat would increase my arthritis problems? So can you please give me more info or anyone out there who knows as I have severe trigger finger & tight & sometimes painful movement in both of my hands, but only my hands.
          I also have pain in my left shoulder starting from my neck, going down the middle of my arm. I even feel it in my sleep.
          I eat very little grains & drink beer. Is this my problem? Should I get rid of drinking any beer & NO GRAINS at all? Not even quinoa?
          If it works, I’ll do it. What about gluten free beer? Is that okay? Thanks so much! As mentioned, I am a female, 54, diabetic 1 & in relatively good health except for the above mentioned problems with arthritis. Thanks! Renee

  47. What a wonderfully inspiring post. This one–and the comments in particular–is free advertising for this lifestyle! Come to think of it, it’s the real-life comments that are just as inspiring, if not more. 😉

  48. Hearing loss, good to know that NAC can/might reduce the matter. New information to me,
    NAC seems to be the surprise that keeps on surprising 🙂

  49. I just have to use this space to give a shout out to my dad who is 88. While our family always ate pretty much like farmers (because that’s my mom’s background) and my dad was active through the sheer needs of daily living (giant yard, snow removal), it was only after mom died in 2001 that he really took charge of his health.

    It’s been fascinating to watch him learn to cook from scratch, discover “super foods” (and as child of Depression he now has about 500 cartons of blueberries in one of the basement freezers), and stay fit as evidenced by emailing me reports of things like “I washed the garage floor before I painted it.” Seriously. Dude.

    He does have serious hearing loss and is fighting to keep his eyesight (he is blind in one eye from birth), but as far as I can tell he’s doing everything right and even though he has some issues he doesn’t complain — only explains.

    This leads me to one factor of anti-aging Mark doesn’t cover: Socialization. My dad is kind of a loner but has stayed active in his community and volunteers a lot. The stuff he does keeps him on his feet for hours and around people both known and new to him. His sense of responsibility to this “job” really seems to drive him in many ways.

    I have the privilege myself of being in a service club with a lot of guys around my dad’s age and while it’s not a panacea, the habit of coming to a weekly meeting and serving others seems to me to motivate people to take better care of themselves so they can better serve others. Or just make it to lunch with the friends old and new.

    I’m pretty sure we are all taking fish oil at this point but vitality comes from purpose.

  50. I find your Daily Apple articles inspiring. They’ve made me rethink my sedentary life and convinced me to change my way of eating, living and exercising. Since reading your articles, I’ve resumed increased activity, and mapped out a routine for training. My goal is to optimize my health so that I can choose to participate in a GoRuck event, Tough Mudder event or just trail run with my spouse without thinking about my aging body. Everyone ages, and I’ve rested on my “my aches and pains from past sports is acceptable” far too long. Thank you, Mark, for proving that chronological age doesn’t dictate my life.

  51. What about the eyes!? I’m starting to see that “book creep”, where the words are needing to be farther and farther. Does anyone have any good Primal hacks for better vision?

  52. My ENT husband would add the thoughtful use of hearing protection to your suggestions for preserving our hearing as we age. Sadly, we see many young people working at very noisy occupations without hearing protection of any sort. Once the damage is done, often on a daily basis, there’s no going back.

  53. What I’m missing here is hair loss. As people get older the usually loose their hair. (here in Europe)
    I have a feeling that better nutrition in the food, and avoiding of chemicals in shampoo, would give a very different result, and could stop hair loss.

  54. You can increase testosterone by adopting a “power posture”. Google Amy Cuddy for some fascinating research.

  55. I am 66 yrs. young! Nature takes its course, it’s natural, but I think that we can stay ahead of degeneration and so,slow it down.
    For instance, stay moving. Get out there and do what we want to do. Stop aging in its tracks! I take excellent dietary supplements:Calcium, Vitamin D, Ultra-Mega Green Women’s 50 Plus by GNC, 3000 mg. of Fish Oil, and I refuse to use a cane and I work on strengthening my legs and balance.
    I have a part-time job that I love much more than when I was a Medical Technologist. That’s another thing. I am a widow and my daughter is grown so I realized that this is the first time that I can do anything I want-nobody drains my time and energy.
    I do not eat fast food,YUK! I eat grains, soymilk, lowfat meats,fresh foods, low sugar,
    low carbs, high fiber, no bread or desserts.
    And I love life and hope to love it more when I get some grandchildren!

  56. As long as people like Willie Gault are able to run a 4.27 40 yard dash at the age of 48, and 82 year old men are able to complete triathlons, I’ll always think age is just an excuse to sit on your lazy….

  57. Another great article from MDA! I am 50, I compete regularly against people half my age and I refuse to get old. My fellow office workers (when I am employed I work as a Mechanical Design Engineer, long hours on computer) are falling apart! My last boss sat in front of four screens all day. When I needed to approach him for a work-related interruption, the first thing I noticed was his spine is curving INTO the screens! His head is a few inches away from the screens and for sure his spine is following! Then you notice his arms look like wet noodles, no shoulders, no vascularity, no signs of strength whatsoever! Another company I recently consulted at is full of young people. 2000 employees. I only saw and met two who looked fit. (One was a security guard.) The young people are so overworked (late night calls to Asia), they have no time for fitness, or proper nutrition. My ultimate goal is to get all the way out of computer work and make a new career in fitness. Living well is the best revenge!

  58. This is coming a day late, but I wanted to back up what Mark said about going grain-free and getting arthritic relief.

    My right hand, with which I do almost everything, got extremely swollen, painful and stiff. The left started getting bad, too, and no pain meds were working. I finally got so desperate I started using vodka to rub on them to take the pain away. It worked almost immediately, BUT, it did not stop the swelling. Driving my stick-shift was incredibly hard.

    Because of problems my teenage son was experiencing we decided to go grain-free. It took only a few days for the swelling and stiffness and pain to go away. Incredible!

  59. This post is spot on!

    Yes, today’s older males do have lower T than their forefathers cause they have more belly fat and chronic stress, as Mark points out, but also due to certain ingested chemicals that are estrogen producers, such as Bisphenol A (BPA) found in most plastics.

    Nine months ago I was surprised to learn that my T was low because I’m focused on being fit and do all the right things to have a youthful body. What tipped me off was that I was becoming listless… diminished fire in the belly, sorta speak.
    Took a blood test and sure enough, low T.

    Since then I dove into bumping up my T numbers via ingesting more protein, exercising with more intensity, and taking certain supplements such as nettle root, DHEA, magnesium etc. (You can read about this here: http://www.garmaonhealth.com/supplements/young-strong-measure-boost-testosterone

    Yep.

    -Joe

  60. Just saw a Perdue commercial touting their “all-vegetarian” diet and completely “cage-free” Although they used the phrase, “in conditions which are clean and comfortable.”

    Funny how I can see right through their marketing BS now.

  61. Great post!

    Can’t stress enough the importance of self-experimentation. Eliminating a lot of Primal things over time has helped dramatically: nightshades, coffee, chocolate, eggs, nuts, and FODMAP veggies and fruits.

    Mark has done enough posts on the anti-inflammatory properties of Tumeric that I decided to give it some serious attention. I’m taking 1 teaspoon mixed with water each morning (yuck!) and I’ve noticed a big reduction with general body/joint aches.

    Some good advice I’m happy I listened to and atd on: Rolfing (massage therapy that realigns facia) has been extraordinarily helpful with a lot of things, including knee pain and apparent carpel tunnel – both of which doctors told me I’d have to have surgery for. Wrong. Rolfing fixed them. Go to rolf.org to find out about it. There’s a place on the site that helps you find a Rolfer near you.

    1. my carpal tunnel has gone away after going gluten free 🙂 , same with joint pain.

  62. Hey people! Does anybody have any thoughts about seborrheic keratosis? I have done some research but nobody seems to know why we get them or how to avoid them. Mark, maybe you know something that convenciontal medecine doesn´t? Could it be a simple change in our diet that can help out with this? I´m asking because I have had acne all my life and since I took out wheat from my diet it disappeard! Could seborrheic keratosis be a reaction to something we eat? Please, please do some research about it. They look horrible! My mother is 65 five and her body is coverded with these ugly wart looking things. I´m 40, and I´m starting to see some, not as big or noticable but I´m sure they will grow and look as ugly as my moms. I know it can also be genetic, this is why I´m getting them as well but some people say they come ouyt and then fall off on their own. When I was pregnant with my second baby I had quite a bit of skin tags and seborrheic ketosis and then they fell off ny themselves. Maybe we can change something in our diet, environment and life style that can prevent this problem??? I will appreciate any ideas or thoughts. And does anybody have any idea of a treatment for them once you have this condition? THANKS!!

  63. These “inevitabilities” of aging are so stuck in our communities nowadays that it almost seems like a personal insult to tell somebody how much better off they could be on a paleo diet. Their eyes are literally blindfolded from the reality.

    The most bugging thing though is that while the starting age for these symptoms has gone lower and lower, it has reached the children. The young are now sicker than ever, and by no reasons of their own. It is not a good base to build a life on.

  64. Mark, I had the same experience when going primal, my arthritis STOPPED DEAD IN ITS TRACKS. Had been suffering swollen and painful finger joints. The lumps on my knuckles are still there but they haven’t grown in three years and haven’t hurt once. It’s for real folks!

  65. As the saying goes… the diseases of old age are contracted in youth. Take care, people.

  66. I work in a DME – Durable Medical Equipment, or Medical Supply store. I am constantly reminded of the poor choices people make, when those same people come in needing an extra large hospital bed because they weigh 720 lbs, or people using oxygen and continuing to smoke, or those who are obese but not as extreme as the 720 lb woman, but still in the 300 – 500+ lb range. All of them think it is a consequence to growing old, yet I disagree. It is a consequence of poor lifestyle choices. The 720 lb woman is 30 years old!

  67. Great post but I think it should have also addressed declining estrogen in women.

  68. Can relate to Mark’s comment about pain in finger joints to the point that holding a pen is painful, but I got to this point at 24 while suffering post traumatic stress and terrible insomnia. I couldn’t accept this was aging. I guess I had extremely high cortisol levels. Blood analysis at the time showed adrenals almost exhausted. Took about 10 years, but after finding the right psychotherapist and getting my fears resolved (and some great sleep!) my joints are … grrreat!! Other health problems resolved too, and my hubby and I decided to start our family. Our bodies can recover given half a chance. And now I’m getting the benefits of Primal living -in particular better concentration and steadier energy levels. Thank you Mark!

  69. “It’s all downhill after 30!”

    Haha!! Not in MY books. I’m still 28 and hell no that ain’t true. LOL

  70. I have my own theory about stopping aging. There is one human that is immortal: Brooke Greenberg. She doesn’t age. I believe she became immortal as a consequence of fighting mortal deasease and this improving her recovery ability until evolving genitically in order to survive. I’d like to know what you think about my following theory to become immortal.

    The first step would be to become what I call a «super human» with an amazing health (good balanced muscle mass, good organs, strong immune system, very good blood flow, good ability to wshtand the cold/heat, good breathing ability, good eyesight, good skin, good hair, great stomach, etc).

    In the second step, when a great health is reached, we want to focus on a key skill that is the ability to recover to any kind of injury. It can be any kind of injury…a disease, a snake bite, a hit, a mosquito bite, a long exposure to cold, a drug. The goal is to increase our recovery ability by practising. Like when we feel energized, we can then working out and then recover. To improve our recovery ability, we would de that, but not only exercising, but also inducing other fing of damage to the body. Here is a list of what I am thinking:
    – Several kind of poison injection
    – Cold exposure (cold bath, snow bath, cryo sauna depending on what is on your disposal)
    – Heat exposure (sauna or just sun)
    – Exposure to some drug such as alcool that makes temporary your body fight to recover
    – Sport that cause a wide range of physical damage, such as martial art/fight sport
    – Temporary lacking of sleep
    Note 1: I think in the list we should exclude things that first damage the stomach (bad food such as gluten food). At least in recovery period when we than need optimal food/rest.
    Note 2: Ability to lower required sleep should be considered eventually.
    Note 3: Combinaison are possible…such as injecting a poison, then doing a cold exposure to improve breathing and get rid of the poision, then alcool or warm exposure to rid of the cold. Then with the right food and rest, we would rise up our recovery ability improved.
    I believe with the right program, and an optimal lifestyle, we can improve our recovery ability until we become immortal, with a genetic evolution that would happen in order to continue to improve and survive.

  71. I’m sorry but I don’t think the black and white new photo does you justice

  72. Yes Yes Yes! When a joint creaks or I get a pain from a weird turn of the head, and people say, “well, you’re getting older,” I always say, “I don’t accept that.” ?