Weekly Link Love — Edition 37

Research of the Week

A very low carb high fat diet fails to impair exercise performance.

During immobility, heat treatment maintains muscle mitochondrial activity and staves off atrophy.

Lifting weights while you diet leads to almost exclusively body fat loss.

High maternal HbA1c linked to autism.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 355: Leland Conway: Host Elle Russ chats with the award-winning broadcaster who changed his life by following Primal principles.

Primal Health Coach Radio, Episode 18: Hosts Erin and Laura chat with Jonathan Posey, founder of an advocacy group that protects the rights of health coaches to practice.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Media, Schmedia

How youth basketball—and sport specialization in general—is threatening the health of young athletes.

Modern humans may have been in Europe 210,000 years ago.

Interesting Blog Posts

Jumiles, the edible wonder bugs of Mexico.

What’s the optimal exercise modality for mood boosting?

Social Notes

Interesting Twitter thread on the safety or toxicity of Bt corn.

Everything Else

Ah, camp season.

How are decisions made, if at all?

The fit young folks who ended up with bowel cancer.

Caffeine powder can kill.

As the permafrost melts, ancient organisms are waking up.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Restaurant I’d try: The one where the waiters have dementia and there’s no guarantee you’ll get what you order.

I’m entirely unsurprised: Snack sales spike in states with legal cannabis.

I like this idea: What if you trained your cognitive skills like an athlete?

I enjoyed this article: What we can learn from shipwrecked “microsocieties.”

I agree: When considering the effects of “saturated fat,” you can’t ignore the food matrix.

Question I’m Asking

Do you ever train your learning/brain/cognitive skills like athletes train their bodies?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Jul 7 – Jul 13)

Comment of the Week

“I found the Ancestral Health lifestyle in late 2008, thanks in part to Mark’s Daily Apple. Turned 50 last year but feel like I’m in my 30s. I’m aiming for strongevity!”

– Always glad to have you along, Aaron. I like “strongevity”!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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46 thoughts on “Weekly Link Love — Edition 37”

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  1. Isnt dairy inflammatory? Yogurt is dairy. I still eat organic plain yogurt. Thank you.

  2. Instead of the potato starch I’d eat real food such as cooked and cooled potatoes or cooked and cooled rice. Potato salad or rice salad. They can be reheated also and retain the resistant starch. You could make an Indian cold potato kefir soup perhaps. That would combine both.

  3. Thank you for your thoughts on kidney disease and function. Please continue to write about it, Martina Stewart

  4. Any suggestions on (a) how much potato starch to consume and (b) how to consume it? Just mixed in water?

  5. Mark,

    Please elaborate on Vitamin K2, even if it is just what YOU personally consume. I am 61 years old and am anxious to be proactive through nutrition, not medicine-

    Greg Buckingham

  6. Thanks for your post on kidney disease.
    Can you clarify whether its MK-4 or MK-7 for the recommended K2?

  7. You mention vitamin K2. I try to take vitamins via the natural route but natto was a step too far. However my supplier now provides Vit K2 in powdered form and I am wondering if this is as efficient as the ‘free living’ product?

  8. 34M here. I had some back pains about a year ago that wouldn’t seem to go away. After an ultrasound, they found 4 left renal tubular kidney cysts. Next up was a CT scan for further investigation. There was some disagreement between the doctor and the radiologist as to weather they reacted to the contrast or not. The doctor classified them as benign and said I didn’t need a follow up or any dietary changes. I’ve thought about seeing another urologist, but the pains have subsided. He didn’t think the cysts were causing the pains and said we may have just found the cysts on accident by doing the ultrasound. Very confusing stuff.

    1. I had back pain that used to strike intermittently and was not related to lifting or muscular stress. I then found I had kidney gravel ( that is what they called the sand like deposit ) and was told to drink more water. I no longer have the attacks which had been excitingly painful and disabilitating as the ‘sand ‘made its way down the ureters. I still however have a tendency to a recurrence of the pain but as soon as I feel it starting i drink a lot of water and it stops

    2. Just my opinion, but I would always, always get a second opinion…especially for something potentially so serious. Any good doctor should also encourage you to do that. It may be nothing, but it’s best to get someone else’s perspective to be sure.

    3. Please please get a second opinion. Polycystic kidney disease has killed a lot of athletes. The radiologist may just have been upset that the doctor is ignoring it. Contact the radiologist and ask for a recommendation to a doctor they think takes imaging more seriously.

  9. How does one take potato starch? Also I have K1 in my KetoCore multivitamin (1 mg) and is that sufficient for my K daily requirement, or should I also take K2? OK to take both together? That would be 1 mg of each per day. Thank you.

  10. Those two recipes are on my list! I adore Juli and Mel!!

    And love the question you’re asking this week, Mark. The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge, is a fascinating read that got me hooked on the topic of neuroplasticity and mind mapping. Highly recommend!

  11. Thank you Mark for this interesting and informative Sunday Apple?My inquiry: Will plant based yogurt have the same benefits as dairy based yogurt in limiting protein to the kidneys?

  12. How do you recommend taking the potato starch? I bought some a while ago but I don’t know what to do with it.

  13. Mark-

    Dr. William Davis, author of “Wheat Belly” says there are four types of starch that spike sugar higher than wheat and Potato Starch is one. Don’t know the difference between modified and unmodified Potato Starch but you might investigate to make sure your recommendation re: Potato Starch doesn’t solve one problem but create another!

  14. People.with progressive kidney disease have issues with both potassium and protein regardless of its source. Potatoes are very high in potassium which is potentially a serious problem.. I have not looked up potato starch powder to see what it’s nutritive breakdown is but will do that.

  15. Wouldn’t eating a few chunks of raw potatoes also accomplish the same goal? As a child, my grandmother used to feed me chunks of raw potato while preparing a pot to cook them. Not suggesting every day consumption, but if you’re preparing them to cook, might as well eat a few raw.

  16. Interesting blog. Sugar is a problem. Period. I just read an article from The Atlantic talking about the link between sugar and demenita/Alzheimer’s. My daughter and I have recently ratcheted down on getting sugar and grain carbs way down in our diets. We are both feeling and looking better. We’ve upped our protein a bit too as we are both doing more weight work. I keep coming back to low carb because it works.

  17. I just read your Sunday, 14 July 2019 post.

    Have you ever done an analysis of GMO, USDA Organic, and regular Glyphosate (Round Up) infected foods? This is in my estimation, Very Important for your readers.

    Thank you,


  18. Mark, I love it when what you say causes me to look stuff up, but I’m confused!
    I took the link to the Vit K2 you recommended. One drop = 1 mg. I looked up daily intake and I’m gathering for a woman my age:122-164 mcg.
    Let’s take 150 mcg for easy math. 1 mg = 1000 mcg. Isn’t that excessive? To boot, the bottle recommends 15 drops!
    What do you think?

    1. I think you should listen to how your body feels, not “daily intake” charts or what anyone says. Use everything else as a guideline. I take large amounts of choline. My body gives me a pain signal whenever I forget. “Daily intake” would have me in constant pain. My body is smarter than charts.

    2. Diane, studies have used up to 15 mg three times per day for a total of 45 mg, so 1 mg should be plenty safe. (Certainly discuss with your physician, particularly if you have existing health issues.) If you’re worried, you can always mix a drop in a glass of water and measure out the water to get the desired dose.

  19. I actually seen some evidence (papers) that gradual increase in protein led to an improvement in kidney filtering functions, in people with kidney disease and to full recovery depending on their starting point. I have seen too many with kidney issues, that became emaciated and a shadow of themselves, due to far too little protein intake, after following their dietitian advice. Just saying

    Also, And in response to earlier comments, K1 and K2 are not one and the same. If one is to choose one, it should be K2. I also second the comment about excesses potassium in cooked potatoes and the like. Levels in beef on the other hand are moderate and thus makes it more suitable for consumption.

  20. You talked about Kidney disease this week. I was wondering if you’ve seen anything to substantiate intermediary fasting with better kidney function. I would maybe add just one thing to tell your buddy with kidney problems, reduce he’s oxalates. They are inflammatory stressors and like to hang around in the kidneys and in joints. They don’t get expelled because most people have taken some form of antibiotic that kills off Oxalobacter formigenes. Even with the healthy bacteria if you eat a ton of plants with oxalates it can cause all sorts of harm. Lots of current studies coming out about how bad Oxalates are. It’s not just Kidney stones.

  21. Hi Mark, just wondering how to eat the potato starch? Mix it in smoothies and how much…thanks!?

    1. I’d shoot for 3-4 tablespoons daily but aim to get there ~slowly~ or you could became a social pariah due to er, issues(farting) ;)…
      I just mix it with cool water(never heat potato starch or you lose the benefits), add my other fiber supplements to it and drink it 3 times daily.

  22. Hi Mark:

    As always, good information. In sympathy for the chronic kidney disease (CKD) writer you mentioned, I hoped to share at least one success I had. I’m 55, and pre-diabetic. A few months ago, my feet had begun swelling and remained swollen. My primary care physician (PCP) wasn’t concerned since my lab values were “normal”, but a look at trending showed my eGFR had decreased by ~20% over the past year, and it scared the crap out of me. I was/am still within “normal limits” at 75, so instead of taking the standard regimen consisting of an ACE inhibitor, I supplemented with potassium bicarbonate. My physician was scared since conventional medicine all we hear about potassium is “hyperkalemia” and heart failure. Quite literally, within 24 hours, the swelling in my feet disappeared, and I saw the good old veins and rough skin I had forgotten about. I suggested this to my brother, who in turn recommended it to his wife. He excitedly texted me how well this worked for him and her, though increased energy was his biggest gain (https://life-enhancement.com/products/potassium-basics%E2%84%A2). Obviously potassium supplementation has a lot of caveats for those with significant kidney dysfunction, or those who take certain BP meds, e.g. ACE inhibitors, but the bicarbonate angle is fairly well known (Dobre, M., et al. (2015). Current status of bicarbonate in CKD: https://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/26/3/515), (Siener, R. (2018). Dietary treatment of metabolic acidosis in CKD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946297/)

    More on bicarbonate and renal function: Years ago, Frassetto et al., noted this progressive “acidosis” challenges the regulatory function of the kidneys, much like a high sugar load bangs away at the ability of the pancreas to regulate sugar, and that progressive renal failure might be the result of a lifetime of an acid-heavy/low bicarbonate intake diet (Frassetto, et al. Diet, evolution and aging–the pathophysiologic effects of the post-agricultural inversion of the potassium-to-sodium and base-to-chloride ratios in the human diet: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11842945). Another author takes a swipe at the long term effects of progressive acid load (Carnauba, R.A. (2017). Diet-induced low-grade metabolic acidosis and clinical outcomes – A review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5490517/). Though at least one paper looks at potassium bicarbonate supplementation by using fruits and vegetables to markedly improved markers of renal function (Goraya, N., et al. (2014). Treatment of metabolic acidosis in patients with stage 3 chronic kidney disease with fruits and vegetables or oral bicarbonate reduces urine angiotensinogen and preserves glomerular filtration rate: https://www.kidney-international.org/article/S0085-2538(15)30399-9/fulltext), much of the research on bicarbonate and CKD uses sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), this despite the hypothetical risk of the additional sodium. However it appears improved renal function overall allows the kidneys to deal with the ramped up sodium load effectively enough (https://www.kidney-international.org/article/S0085-2538(15)30399-9/fulltext).

    It is funny how, when I talk to physicians about acidosis, they kick back quite dogmatically, “But the pH is within normal ranges.” Acidosis is a commonly misunderstood term in medicine, and taken to mean a serum pH <7.35. However, more sophisticated use differentiates acidosis as the condition reflecting an acid load requiring active compensation by the body, whereas acidemia is the actual <7.35 pH. Unfortunately, the terms are used interchangeably. I take it like blood glucose used to be treated, i.e. 120 mg/dL = diabetic. Now we actually take that chunk between 80-120 mg/dL as “pre-diabetic”, in short, a warning sign of impending failure.

    Interestingly, conventional treatment of CKD using ACE inhibitors (and statins?) may be problematic as this 2013 study found (Weis, L., et al. (2013). Renal function can improve at any stage of CKD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3862566/). Increased acid load is a factor, and by “increased” I mean relative to dietary base.

    Vitamin K2 (MK4/MK7) and D3: Leading off with this easy-to-read 2019 summary is an easy overview (Cozzolino, et al. (2019). Vitamin K in Chronic Kidney Disease: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5490517/). Despite their high hopes, authors of a 2015 study showed supplementation with K2/D improved various markers, but did not affect calcification of the kidney’s arterial vasculature (Kurnatowska, I., et al. (2015). Effect of vitamin K2 on progression of atherosclerosis and vascular calcification in nondialyzed patients with CKD stages 3-5: https://www.mp.pl/paim/issue/article/3041), however, I’ve read Mk4/Mk7 have dose dependent effects when it comes to arterial calcification, and without improving bicarbonate status, will K2 be less “able” to help? Interestingly enough, another study (I can’t find right now) hinted that decreased arterial flow to the kidneys MIGHT be a trigger for hypertension, i.e. kidneys needed more flow and BP was boosted to aid in this.

    Separately, decreased pH and decreased K+ –> decreased glucose control and a host of other problems (Stone, M.S., et al. (2016). Potassium intake, bioavailability, hypertension, and glucose control: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4963920/). Decreased vitamin D serum levels are also strongly associated with both heart disease, CAC scores, and CKD (Turner, M.E., et al. (2018). The Vitamin K Metabolome in Chronic Kidney Disease: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6115832/). What very few authors note, however, is it might not be the D per se, but the effect D deficiency has on the production and/or effectiveness of vitamin K2 (MK4/MK7). As with magnesium and potassium, without adequate levels of one, the other cannot be normalized (Huang, C.L., & Kuo, E. (2007). Mechanism of hypokalemia in magnesium deficiency: https://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/18/10/2649.long).

    Finally, you may find more in-depth information on K2 and associated vascular conditions on this page, begun by a highly motivated engineer: https://www.k-vitamins.com/.

    PS: Please forgive the clumsy insertions of references, however I don’t think this particular method of comment doesn’t allow for the discrete insertion of hyperlinks.

    1. This is really helpful. I’ve had issues with my kidneys since childhood and I think potassium is a friend, not a foe. Anyway, it’s a balance thing. K and Na are balanced by the kidneys, it makes no sense to just provide no electrolytes to a body that has trouble maintaining them. My father in law hates to drink water and has partial kidney failure. I searched the internet to find him a water additive like nunn, but better, that had carbonates in it. I can’t claim total victory because at his age, improvement is about all we can hope for, but it seems to help. Just baking soda helps me a lot. I drink some before bed as an “antacid” and it helps in general. I can’t get him to do that though. Thanks for all the links on this.

  23. I was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease after going through chemotherapy 5 years ago. All my internet searches talked about diabetes and high blood pressure of which I had neither. I got a new oncologist about 2 years ago and she told me to stay away from animal protein. I decided to limit it as much as possible and have seen my blood work improve greatly. I would really love it if you would do a more in-depth on this because going vegan is against all I believe in and also really really hard for me. I’m going to try the resistant starch and also the vitamin K2. I clicked on the link and it said was for bone health which I’m sure I also need.

    1. How can you tell the you improved thanks to the treatment and not because you limited protein? Going vegan is the worse that one can do, without kidney issues and in particular with. With all respect to your oncologist, they just repeat the same mantra; just like when blaming gout on meat instead of on fructose and sugars. I suggest you look up Dr Jason Fung who is an expert in nephrology and consult with him

      1. The treatment actually caused the kidney disease. I was being treated for lung cancer with very harsh chemo. I’m great full that 5 years later I’m still here as most aren’t but of course there is a price to pay. When I would google how to get your kidneys back to normal everything just said to control your diabetes and high blood pressure of which I have neither. Having talked to others in the medical profession they have agreed that protein is hard on the kidneys and I did see a big improvement when I limited it. Thank you for the suggestion on Dr Jason Fung. I will definitely look up. I would really like to know an alternative as I don’t agree with a vegan diet.

  24. Adding more vegetables, especially leafy greens and good healthy fats such as nuts and avocados as well as reducing sugars that spike insulin is essential. Fasting as prescribed by Dr. Jason Fung will greatly improve kidney function over time. Kidney disease can be managed and function improved.

  25. Hi Mark Desperately need your help I turned to a Keto diet several months ago and recently had my annual health check with my Doctor and was shocked as she was that my cholesterol had gone through the roof. She has taken me off all fats which is sad as it does limit recipes she believes the coconut fat is to blame , also taken me off butter, cream ,cheese etc so now the only fat I’m having is virgin olive oil and avocado and a smear of ghee on my Palio toast Very sad as I believed all those fats were very good for my brain. I have a month to reduce my cholesterol before she feels I should go on medication which I am refusing to do. I would be grateful for any help you can give me. With regards Nerida Gill (76 years of age !!) Australia

    1. The same thing happened to me. I ignored the doctor’s advice. However we each deal with authority in our own way. You’re 76? Honestly if I were at your age I’d tell that doctor to go for a long walk off a short pier. I wouldn’t spend the last few years of my life eating processed low fat food, or listening to fearful doctors.

      How did you feel while you were keto? If it was helping, and you like the diet, why would a panicking doctor cause you to reconsider?

      If you want some clarity on the cholesterol situation, look up Dr. Malcolm Kendrick in the UK. He has a blog where he talks about research that doesn’t support the “cholesterol theory.”

    2. With these two replies from Ricardo and Vera there is nothing better to add 🙂

  26. Speaking of training cognitive skills like an athlete… after my mom died I was crushed (of course) and one of the only things that helped was math. My brain can’t reason and be in a gloomy despair at the same time. I was always good at math, but public school math teachers yelled it out of me. So I started over. Addition tables to diff-eq. I was over the depression, but it was fun so I kept going. It felt troublesome though, because, what does a mathematician do? Become an academic… that’s about it.

    But math departments already call it “mathlete” when a student focuses on math. The reason is that math can’t be crammed for. It’s a house of cards. Every day after class you have to sit down very soon after class and go over what was said. Because you’re forming logical links, any missed steps will get quickly forgotten. Then you’re lost. So the best plan is to get the homework done as soon after class as possible. Then to repeat it a day later to remind your mind that it’s important. Only then can you read ahead to prepare for the next class.

    Math has the most exercise like quality of any subject. If you do this and find you’re good at trig, become a physics major – hot tip. 😉

  27. About the Bt corn, unfortunately, going organic doesn’t help much. Bt is an approved USDA-Organic pesticide. However the only saving grace is, that according to the protocol, they can only use it IF there already is damage to the crop.

    Gardening at home is still safer. But at least you get less Bt if you eat organic. I think we need to provide subsidy to farms so that if they lose their crop to a pathogen, they don’t go bankrupt, and aren’t forced into things like… organic or GMO? Which is a choiceless choice for most farmers today.

    Also, in Australia and the US, the method of farming is now “spray glyphosate, then plant” instead of “till soil, then plant.” Tilling has been eliminated in favor of spraying a chemical. This chemical is known to kill billions of insects totally disrupting the ecology of the farm. You wouldn’t need as much Bt if there was a better ecology and normal inter species controls on pest populations.

    It also causes “farmer’s cancer” which is being litigated right now in more than one country: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JszHrMZ7dx4

    We’ve seriously got to think about how we grow our food.

  28. I read this in Mark’s Sunday email – “Just buy a bag of unmodified potato starch and you’re on your way.” and wondered how you would use this products? How would you ingest it?

  29. Mark, I noticed the vitamin K2 you linked is MK-4. Have you done a review if the pros/cons of MK-4 vs MK-7?