For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a few questions. First came in from an email and regards a new study showing a link between chicken eating and several types of cancers (melanoma, prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) among British adults. What do I think of the study? Second, did I really tell people not to neuter or spay their dogs? Third, can dogs take collagen powder, and if not, are there any alternatives? And last, I address a comment about early time restricted feeding.

Let’s go:

Hey Mark,

What are your thoughts on this study that showed a link between chicken consumption and cancer?

Okay, let’s do this.

First of all, the link wasn’t between chicken and cancer, it was between chicken and specific cancers. The specificity suggests that there may be something going on here.

Look, I love a good roasted chicken. There’s almost nothing quite like crispy chicken skin.

But today’s birds are exceedingly high in omega-6 fatty acids. Your standard battery-fed bird—which is what most people in these studies are eating—eats a diet of soybean oil, corn byproducts, and other junk high in omega-6 fats. Those dietary fats are incorporated into the animal’s tissues, which get incorporated into your dinner, which get incorporated into your body.

Most of the cancers in question have been previously and mechanistically linked to elevated omega-6 levels and/or reduced omega-3 levels.

Melanoma and other skin cancers?

One study out of Australia—land of skin cancer—found that adults with the highest serum concentrations of DHA and EPA had the least “cutaneous p53 expression.” When your skin is in danger of damage from the sun, p53 expression is upregulated to protect it. The fact that p53 expression was low suggests that the skin wasn’t in danger; the omega-3s were protecting the skin and reducing the “perceived” (and real) danger. Acute intakes of EPA reduce the inflammatory skin response to UV radiation.

One problem of excess omega-6 fats is that they crowd out DHA and EPA from the serum and cellular membranes. The more omega-6 in your diet, the less DHA and EPA you’ll have laying around to protect you from the sun.

Prostate cancer?

Anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (found in seafood and fish oil) are generally linked to lower rates of prostatic inflammation and a less carcinogenic environment; omega-6 fatty acids can trigger disease progression. A 2001 study of over 6,000 Swedish men found that the folks eating the most fish had drastically lower rates of prostate cancer than those eating the least. Another study from New Zealand found that men with the highest DHA (an omega-3 found in fish) markers slashed their prostate cancer risk by 38% compared to the men with the lowest DHA levels.

I didn’t see any solid evidence one way or the other with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but omega-3 intake is linked to a lower risk. If that’s a causative connection, and excessive omega-6 is competing with your omega-3s for physiological supremacy in the body, that could increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But again, this isn’t a sure thing.

I couldn’t find the study mentioned in the article, but according to the article the scientists focused only on “meat consumption patterns.” They weren’t looking at other foods or nutrients—just what kind of meat they ate. If that’s the case, they wouldn’t have controlled for the intakes of fries and mayo and other junk foods often consumed alongside chicken.

British are eating more chicken than ever before, and they’re moving increasingly away from big family chicken meals—roasts and such—toward individual chicken meals for one—pasta and stir fries.

The fastest growing fast food in Britain is fried chicken. That’s chicken that’s been breaded in flour and fried in reused, rancid vegetable oil, then served alongside french fries and smothered in mayonnaise.

Now, I’m not going to say you should eat chicken for every meal. Red meat, fish, and eggs offer far more nutrients than chicken, and they’re much lower in omega-6 fatty acids. But I’m not going to shy away from a good roast chicken, or even a chicken chili, especially if I’m using well-raised, preferably pasture-raised chickens.

I’m sorry, are you recommending people DON”T spay/neuter their pets?!? Am I reading an article in The Onion? Is it April 1st? What the hell is going on??? Dear Bob Barker is rolling in his grave and thousands of dogs and cats will be unnecessarily euthanized today (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next….) because there are just too many of them.

Nope, I’m just recommending that people read the literature and understand that spaying/neutering can have unwanted health effects, especially if you do it too early.

Most experts agree that fixing the dog after they’ve stopped growing is pretty safe and reduces the risk of later health issues. That to me is a good compromise.

And I’m not speaking to the masses. I’m speaking to the people reading this who are in general a reliable, conscientious bunch.

Also, a vasectomy is a good option that few people consider but more vets are offering.

Mark, would there be any harm or benefit in throwing in a scoop of collagen on top of my dog’s raw meat&veggie patty?

You could definitely do it. Just be aware that I’ve found some dogs have bad digestive responses to protein powders of any kind. A raw chicken foot will do the trick, if you’re up to trying it. I’ve also seen freeze-dried tendons in pet stores.

After a few years of IDF that had me mostly eating between noon and 8, I recently tried early time-restricted feeding (eTRF) and man it seems to work well for me. I did it under the influence of this guy’s posts:

And I learned about him from an MDA post…


Two things.

Yes, some people for whom intermittent fasting doesn’t seem to be working may want to switch to an early feeding system. The vast majority of people who skip meals every day are skipping breakfast. It’s easier that way, you can just have some coffee and keep trucking. But not everyone benefits from it. If that’s you, try eating breakfast (and lunch) and skipping dinner.

And yes, Bill Lagakos is a great resource. Always love his stuff, even or especially if it conflicts with something I held to be true.

Thanks for reading, everyone. If you have any more questions, drop them down below!


The post Dear Mark: Does Chicken Cause Cancer, Should You Neuter, Dog Collagen, and Skipping Dinner appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from last week’s Weekly Link Love comment section. They’re all about dogs. First, are their negative health effects of neutering or spaying? Second, do grain-free dog diets give dogs dilated cardiomyopathy, a kind of heart disease? What’s the alternative? And third, what is in my opinion the ideal dog diet—and should everyone be feeding it to their dogs?

Let’s go:

Mark, wouldn’t neutering dogs cause some long term negative health effects in them, as I assume it would in humans?

As you might expect, removing a dog’s testicles or ovaries—major reproductive and endocrine organs—can have negative effects. That’s just common sense, and we have observational studies paired with physiological mechanisms to make the case. The best-studied complications are cancer and joint disorders.

Among German shepherds, 7% of intact males were diagnosed with a joint disorder. 21% of males who’d been neutered before age 1 had a joint disorder. 5% of intact females were diagnosed; 16% of spayed females were diagnosed.

Among a group of 700+ golden retrievers, 5% of intact males had hip dysplasia, while 10% of early neutered males had it. No intact dogs had ever had any cranial cruciate ligament (an important ligament in the dog knee) tears, while 5% of early neutered males and 8% of early spayed females had torn one. 10% of early neutered males had a diagnosis of lymphoma, three times the rate of intact males. In females, late spaying (after 1 year of age) seems to have increased the rate of certain cancers, including hemangiosarcoma (a blood vessel cancer) and mast cell (breast) tumors.

Similar results with regards to joint disorders have also been found in labrador retrievers.

Both spaying females and neutering males appears to increase the risk of heart cancer, a fairly common cancer in dogs. Spayed females have the greatest risk of all.

Early spayed or neutered Rottweilers have an increased risk of bone cancer, another common disease to the breed.

Neutered/spayed dogs have a higher risk of hypothyroidism.

Intact dogs have higher metabolisms and lower appetites. The opposite is true for neutered dogs, which could explain the rise in pet obesity.

If you’re going to neuter a dog, I’d recommend waiting as long as you can. At the least 1 year, and ideally longer until sexual development completes. That allows the dog’s joints, muscles, and skeletal tissue to reach its full potential.

Also realize that the sex hormones aren’t only about sex or physical/structural development. They also help determine mental and psychological development.

Interesting SwS post about dogs. I would caution people to make assumptions canines need the same diet as people. Recently, many folks are discovering that dogs on a grain free diet seem to have a higher likelihood of developing hart issues. My house is kind of an n=14 experiment and I would guess that our dogs get on the active side in terms of exercise. We also have three dozen sheep, two dozen ducks, and a bunch of chickens. My wife is a dog trainer so in addition to our dogs she works with a bunch more. Too much info to post here but look up diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy and some of the recent studies. The research is not yet to the stage where they know what causes DCM but it appears that dogs that are on “boutique exotic grain free (BEG) diets seem to be much more likely to develop DCM.

The way this research is presented in the media, most people assume that the problem with grain-free diets are that they’re too high in meat. That dogs need “heart healthy whole grains,” just like people supposedly do.

The reason “grain-free” dog diets are linked to dilated cardiomyopathy is not that these animals are eating too much beef, lamb, chicken, and fish protein. It’s that they’re replacing the grains with potatoes and peas, lentils, and other legumes and inducing taurine deficiency. Taurine deficiency-induced cardiomyopathy is well-established in cats, who cannot synthesize taurine on their own and must consume it directly in the diet. Dogs can synthesize taurine themselves, but they’re also adapted to a diet rich in taurine-rich meat, so it’s smart and evolutionarily congruent for them to also eat high-taurine diets—which must contain meat.

Say what you will about grains. I’m no fan of them for dogs (or humans, for that matter), but they do possess the amino acid precursors for taurine synthesis.

A response from a veterinary nutrition researcher at Tufts University claims that taurine probably isn’t the cause, instead suggesting that the “exotic meats” found in grain-free diets are likely candidates. She goes on to warn against raw-fed diets as well, since they “increase your dog’s risk of many other health problems.” She fails to specify which health problems raw meat and bone diets increase, but since she has some acronyms after her name we can trust her.

It’s odd, because I’m aware of some actual benefits to feeding dogs raw meat and bone diets:

Improved immune gene expression, indicating lower inflammatory status compared to kibble-fed dogs.

Improved gut biome compared to kibble-fed dogs.

Purina funded the Tufts University veterinary nutritional center where the writer of the article resides, which may or may not have affected her opinions.

In your opinion what should we feed our dogs?

Ideally, we should feed our dogs a well-formulated, nutrient-dense diet based on raw animal foods: muscle meat, bones, organs, seafood, eggs, quality dairy, and select supplemental foods. In other words, the ideal dog diet would look a lot like a really good carnivorous human diet.

The problem is that you have to do it right. It’s easy to do it wrong. One thing the dog food companies are pretty good at is avoiding gross deficiencies. The calcium:phosophorus ratio will be right. Most of the nutrients may be synthetic additions to refined junk food, but the basics will be there. This doesn’t always hold (see the dilated cardiomyopathy scandal mentioned above), of course, and it tends to cause chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes from mismatched macronutrients, but at least a kibble fed dog probably won’t develop osteoporosis.

Certain fish are dangerous when fed raw without adequate preparation. Pacific-caught salmon off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington can carry parasites that kill dogs (and other canids like wolves and coyotes). Freezing long enough at a low-enough temperature will kill the parasite, but you really have to be careful.

Dogs need to eat bones for the calcium and to keep their teeth clean, but they can break teeth on the wrong kind of bone. Load-bearing ruminant bones are good for gnawing, but not for eating. Do you know the difference?

Dogs need connective tissue, just like people. People can just throw some collagen powder in their coffee. Dogs really can’t. Are you going to seek out chicken feet, pork skin, beef tendons, green tripe for your raw-fed dog?

Dogs need organs, and not just liver. They need heart and kidney. Can you source it? You willing to handle it?

Dogs who spend all their lives on kibble only to be given a plate of turkey necks, beef liver, and lamb trim might not know what to do with themselves. Just like people who’ve spent their lives in restrictive high-heeled shoes can get into trouble when they try running a marathon in bare feet, dogs who are used to hoovering up kibble can get into trouble when they try to eat a neck for the first time.

None of this stuff is a deal-breaker. It can be done. Ideally, it should be done. But it does take time and energy to do things right. It’s harder—and better, don’t get me wrong—than just dumping some kibble in a bowl.

I’ll write more on this in the future. For now, check out this older post on raw-feeding dogs I did (and this one for cats).

Take care, everyone. Thanks for reading and if you have any follow up questions, let them loose down below.


The post Dear Mark: Health Effects of Neutering, Grain-Free Dog Diets, Ideal Dog Diet appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering several questions you guys asked in response to the fish post from last week. First, is being a pescatarian enough? Can you get what you need from seafood without eating meat, dairy, or eggs? Next, how important is fish for a carnivore? Third, how’s that Whole Foods farmed salmon? Healthy or not? Then I write a bit about canned cod liver, the underrated seafood, followed by a short blurb about whether we should worry about wild salmon sustainability as well as a question about taking chlorella to reduce heavy metal absorption from fish.

Let’s go:

Adore this Mark! Thank you!

As a basically pescatarian this has been a wonderful insight. I find it too difficult or just a bit heavy digesting meat often, but I live for seafood!

Quick follow up question- anything I could be missing not eating meat, dairy or eggs and just seafood? If so how best can I combat those issues?

I’m struggling to come up with any major deficiencies you’ll incur eating only seafood for your animal products.

However, simply eating fish probably isn’t good enough. You need to also eat shellfish, particularly the bivalves oysters and mussels.

Most people get their zinc—important for hormone optimization and thus everything—from red meat, but the best source in the entire world is the humble oyster. Just one oyster gives you nearly 100% of your daily zinc, selenium, and copper. But don’t just eat one. Eat multiple oysters often.

An affordable way to obtain oysters is to buy canned or buy the pre-shucked ones. If you get the shucked oysters, make sure they’re fresh as can be. Pick jars with “use by” dates as far off in the future as you can. Sauté these in butter or avocado oil until a crust develops on both sides, or just simmer them in some hot bone broth.

I’d also recommend getting some salmon roe, aka ikura. They usually come salt cured, little globules of DHA, vitamin D, and astaxanthin-rich phospholipids that pop in your mouth. They are far more potent a source of nutrients than salmon flesh (which is already one of the best). You can get them at Japanese markets and sushi restaurants, or order them online in bulk.

I’d eat a variety of fish. If you had to just pick one, wild salmon would be great, but you’ll be better served eating many kinds. Halibut gives great magnesium. Salmon gives great selenium, vitamin D, and omega-3s. Cod is a nice way to pack in the protein. Smaller fish provide calcium, omega-3s, and iron.

Oh, and throw in some shrimp or crabs if only for the cholesterol. I’m of the opinion that dietary cholesterol can be very helpful.

Is it okay for carnivores to skip fish?

No, it’s not. I’ll get flack for this, which I actually welcome, because the truth simply is that carnivores should be eating seafood.

For one, fish is meat. Fish are animals. Carnivores eat animals. Carnivores should eat fish.

For two, every human group who’s ever lived on the coast or within sniffing distance of it has eaten fish, shellfish, and other seafood. Hell, one of the traditional peoples that carnivores like to cite as justification for their diet are the Inuit, who ate an enormous amount of seafood—at least the coastal-living ones.

Three—and this is the most important—fish and other seafood offer nutrients that are often missing from land-based animals. Traditional soil-based foods are less nutrient dense than ever before. Feed for most livestock is more subpar than ever.

Seawater also has a different nutrient profile than soil. Sea animals are rich in iodine, copper, selenium, and manganese. I’m not saying you can’t get selenium, iodine, copper, and manganese from land foods, but it’s much harder and less reliable than eating seafood. And manganese in particular is very hard to get from land-based animals. If you’re not eating sweet potatoes or wheat germ or brown rice, you should eat some mussels—the richest source of manganese on the planet.

Also, opinion on Whole Foods farmed salmon? They convinced me it’s good, and it sure is delicious, but I’m still skeptical.

Whole Foods farmed Atlantic salmon is better than most farmed salmons.

They teamed up with a company that makes a specialized salmon feed containing fish trimmings and microalgae, which increases the omega-3 content of the salmon who eat it. They monitor and remove the PCBs (a common sea-borne toxin) from the feed before the salmon get it.

They use no antibiotics, hormones, or artificial colorants. So, while the farmed salmon at Whole Foods isn’t as brilliantly red as wild salmon, the light pink color it has comes from actual feed, not artificial dyes.

Often overlooked is canned cod liver in its own juices. It delicious and nutritious by itself. And you eat eggs, you can mash it with a few boiled eggs. Also, stay clear of seafoods that comes from the Far East.

Yes, canned cod livers are quite mild and tasty. They’re canned in their own cod liver oil and make a great source of vitamin D, vitamin A, and long chain omega-3s.

Find them in European markets or online.

If you’re not getting enough vitamin D or retinol (animal form of vitamin A, far more bioavailable) from your diet and lifestyle, cod liver oil can help. A big spoonful of cod liver oil used to be standard protocol for kids growing up for good reason—it’s great for immune function.

I believe we can leave the salmon a bit out (besides worries about contamination) – what about the other animals in the planet besides the humans that also deserve to consume these species?

Salmon is the oldest word in the Indo-European family of languages. Humans have been eating them for tens of thousands of years. They’re that important to us.

The more well-caught wild salmon we all fork out our money to buy, the more sustainable the salmon industry gets. Money talks. You won’t save the salmon by not eating them. That’s not how this works. Even the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, the global leader in analysis of sustainable seafood, calls wild-caught salmon a “best” choice.

Great article. I usually take some chlorella when I eat high mercury fish. Will that provide adequate protection fro the heavy metals?

Chlorella can definitely remove heavy metals from humans. In one study, 90 days of chlorella supplementation lowered mercury levels in people with dental implants. In rats given cadmium, taking chlorella increases urinary excretion of cadmium and decreases its absorption.

That’s promising. However, I’m not sure if taking a single dose of chlorella as needed will inhibit acute absorption of mercury. It might need to be an ongoing process.

Thanks for stopping in today, everybody. Have a question for me on these or other Primal related topics? Let me know down below.


The post Dear Mark: Is Fish Enough, Do Carnivores Really Need It, and More appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering questions from last week’s olive oil post. First, is there a way to identify real olive oil and distinguish it from fraudulent olive oil? Second, should EVOO be used when grilling food? Third, how can we know if our canned seafood is packed in real, actual olive oil and not some industrial seed swill? Fourth, is algae oil worth eating? And fifth, what about just eating whole olives? Finally, why not just eat beef fat, which is also relatively high in MUFA?

Let’s go:

I’ve read that some “olive oil” has canola or other oils mixed in, fraudulently. Is that still an issue, and is there any way to be sure (reliable brands or sources) that what you are buying is pure and authentic?

It’s still an issue.

It all started after a raid by Italian police discovered that many olive oil producers were adding chlorophyll to sunflower and soybean oil and passing it off as EVOO. Later, UC Davis conducted a study on popular brands of imported EVOO, finding that about 70% were adulterated with seed oils. Other studies have found similar results.

Find a brand you trust. Research a maker, whether it’s a local market or a specialty brand you find at the store.

There’s this master list of olive oils certified by the North American Olive Oil Association for quality and authenticity. Many are commonly available in grocery stores.

I like it drizzled over cottage cheese for lunch or brunch, topped with cracked pepper, yum!

Finally someone agrees! This is indeed the best way to consume cottage cheese, for those who don’t know. Use at least a teaspoon of pepper, as much as you can handle.

I typically use an EVOO spray on meats before searing on the grill. Could this be harmful with the flame on high?

I wouldn’t recommend EVOO for high heat or direct flame. Personally, I use an oil made for high heat cooking in that kind of situation.

How can one be assured that they’re packed in genuine EVOO? Is there some source/website that lists those that have been tested and verified? Call me a skeptic. If I’m Crown Prince, King Oscar, Starkist, or whoever, I’m buying massive quantities of olive oil for my fish packing operation. And the cheaper price gets my business. I’m not sending samples off to a lab to test if it’s authentic EVOO.

Good question. I can’t attest to any particular brand. It’s possible some adulterated oil could slip in, and I was unable to find any mention of it in the online literature.

If you’re concerned, drain the oil. Even if a half gram of omega-6 PUFA were to slip by, the actual fish in the can is rich enough in omega-3s that I wouldn’t worry.

For what it’s worth, I doubt something like Wild Planet sardines (what I generally buy) uses fake olive oil. Unless I’m including it specifically for a recipe, I usually pour the oil into a bowl for my dog to eat, since it’s good for her, too. (You can imagine how much she enjoys it….)  Her fur shows the benefit as well.

Terrific info, thank you!
Can you do the same breakdown and analysis of algae oil? Please. I’m using ‘thrive’ brand. Thanks!

Algae oil is a good source of long chain omega-3s and has been shown to improve omega-3:omega-6 ratio in people and animals, a strong indication it “works.” Algae represents the “source” of DHA for most of the seafood we eat, in fact. Great way for vegans and vegetarians to get them.

Don’t use it for cooking. Omega-3 fats are very fragile in the presence of heat, unless protected by the

To what extent do you get the same benefits from just eating olives? I’m usually more inclined to do that… wondering if there’s any research on the health benefits?

Yep, olives are great. Love them. There isn’t really any research into olive consumption, and you’d have to get about two dozen olives to get a tablespoon worth of EVOO, but they’re bound to be good for you. Just account for the sodium intake.

Every time I see these claims about EVVO, I think:
1. EVOO is rich in MUFAs; so is BEEF FAT.
2. BEEF FAT is rich in SFAs; so is EVOO.
3. EVOO is rich in polyphenols. Does polyphenols show some improvement in healthspan and longevity in humans in a prospective study?
4. EVOO is a liquid fat. There are some studies showing that liquid fats increases intestinal permeability.
OBS.: yes, I´m doing carnivore.

1. Agreed. Beef fat is rich in MUFAs, just like EVOO.

2. Beef fat is rich in SFA, but it’s a particular type of SFA (stearic acid) that turns into MUFA in the body. EVOO isn’t really rich in SFA, though it’s rich in the MUFA that stearic acid becomes.

3. Plant phytonutrients actually do have consistent inverse associations with mortality in humans. More phytonutrients, longer lifespan. However, this isn’t measuring cause and effect. It’s very possible that people who eat more polyphenols also do other types of healthy behaviors, like exercise regularly and avoid smoking, that definitely improve longevity.

4. If anything, MUFAs (the primary fat in liquid EVOO) along with omega-3s are protective against intestinal permeability. And let’s not forget that less intestinal permeability isn’t necessarily a good thing. Increased intestinal permeability can be physiological, or it can be pathogenic.

I get the carnivore thing. I’m not against it. Beef fat is great, too. But the evidence in favor of EVOO is quite robust. Definitely robust enough for my taste.

Thanks for reading, writing, and asking, everyone. Take care and be sure to comment down below if you have any more questions!



Kim Y, Je Y. Flavonoid intake and mortality from cardiovascular disease and all causes: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2017;20:68-77.

Cândido FG, Valente FX, Grze?kowiak ?M, Moreira APB, Rocha DMUP, Alfenas RCG. Impact of dietary fat on gut microbiota and low-grade systemic inflammation: mechanisms and clinical implications on obesity. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2018;69(2):125-143.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering questions about vitamin K2 and microworkouts. The last two posts on both topics garnered a number of good questions. What’s the best dose of vitamin K2? Should statin users taking vitamin K2, since statins inhibit vitamin K2 activity and production? Can vitamin K2 prevent or reverse arterial calcification? Is butter an adequate source of vitamin K2? What about vitamin D—does it synergize with vitamin K2? Regarding microworkouts, what if you can only do a couple pull-ups at once? Should you alternate muscle groups when doing microworkouts? Can microworkouts work with normal gym workouts? How does one do microworkouts in an office?

Let’s find out:

What’s the recommended dose of vitamin K2?

There’s no official RDA for vitamin K2. For vitamin K in general, it’s 0.09 mg. As some of the commenters have alluded, very few medical professionals have vitamin K2 on their radar. I wonder if the RDA is sufficient.

Up to 45 mg per day of MK4 has been shown to be safe and well-tolerated in women, though I don’t think that much is necessary. Some use close to that much when dealing with osteoporosis, arterial calcification, or dental issues, although the reports are all anecdotal.

Many take 1 mg of vitamin K2 as “maintenance.” I’d be comfortable taking that (and sometimes do).

I put 0.08 mg of K2 (MK7) in my Master Formula supplement. Women who are pregnant and those who take anticoagulant medications should talk to their doctor before taking more than the RDA.

So, would taking K2 make statins safer? Do you think you could take enough K2 to prevent clogged arteries or reverse clogged arteries?

I imagine they would, much like taking CoQ10 (another compound whose synthesis statins inhibit) during statin therapy can reduce statin side effects and lower inflammation. Can’t hurt to try.

As for clogged arteries, it can definitely reduce the risk of arterial calcification (by putting calcium where it belongs and not where it doesn’t). Reversal? There aren’t any studies in humans, but vitamin K2 MK4 has been shown to reverse clogged arteries in rats.

Do you have a source on muscle meat (of any type) having Vitamin K?

From this study.

I had read of recommendations of cod liver oil along w K2 which was obtained with grass fed butter. Would grass fed butter be a good source in your opinion

It’s possible, but the sources I’ve read show that majority of butter is very low in vitamin K2. Still, Weston Price swore by concentrated butter oil from grass-fed cows as a source of vitamin K2. You can still buy butter oil if you want to go that route (though you won’t get any solid data on vitamin K2 content).

I wouldn’t rely on straight butter for your vitamin K2.

Isn’t it important to take K2 when supplementing with oral D3? I’ve been seeing liquid D3 preparations with K2/MK7 added.

Yes. Vitamin D3 helps us absorb dietary calcium, and vitamin K2 helps us utilize the calcium in the right way.

What if you can only do 2-3 pull-ups to begin with? ?

That’s the perfect place to start.

Do a single pullup every time you pass the pullup bar (or branch, ledge, gym rings, etc). That’s it. One clean pullup. Don’t struggle. Don’t strain. It should feel easy. Do that single pullup every time you pass the bar. Then, when you feel ready, try doing two each time. And then three.

Suddenly, your max pullups will have doubled.

Should you alternate microworkouts by muscle group each day as with traditional strength training or can you do microworkouts covering all muscle groups each day?

You could, but I find that microworkouts give enough rest that you can work the same muscle on consecutive days. It really depends on the intensity though. If your idea of a microworkout is a 20 rep set of breathing squats with your own bodyweight on the bar, and you do that a few times a day, I would not advise doing it every day.

I don’t claim that microworkouts in this manner will optimize your muscle hypertrophy. I do claim that they’ll keep your days active, keep you healthy, keep you mobile, and get you strong.

I love the idea that any exercise is better than none at all. But I wonder if this style of workout would interfere with recovery from other more regular/scheduled workouts (weightlifting, etc…)?

On the contrary, I find that microworkouts prepare me for the more concerted, formal efforts in the gym.

My buddy Angelo Delacruz is an example of a guy who’s “always on” because he’s always doing little movements throughout the day: dancing to the music playing at the gym, busting out a quick little stretch routine, doing some clapping pushups, breakdancing. He’ll just launch into a set of heavy snatches or clean and jerks without warming up because his joints are all lubed up from the frequent microworkouts.

Well I stand at my computer most of the day 6a-2p with several sets of stairs during that time–I duck into an empty meeting room to run off 15-20 pushups a few times a day, and at lunch a few days a week ( i usually IF til 3-4p ) I do some heavy weights at the local gym for about 20 minutes or so–then comes the yard work on occasion and would you count shopping with the wife at a Big Box store as a micro workout? So How an I doing? I know Mark, Just keep moving!

You’re doing great. I see nothing to add.

As for shopping, sure, why not? Shopping can work.

I’ve been known to curl the groceries as I walk out to the car. Overhead press the cases of mineral water. Plant my feet and do cable crosses with a heavy shopping cart. Sure used to embarrass my kids.

It gets more difficult when on-site for a client. Most offices here aren’t air conditioned, so when it’s warm you’re really going to sweat which makes you less presentable. I try to make it up by picking a hotel in walking distance (~45-60min ish). If there isn’t a private space to knock out a couple of body weight exercises there isn’t a lot you can do without becoming the resident office weirdo. Maybe someone has an idea?

I wrote a post years ago about training in the office without becoming the resident weirdo. See if any of these suggestions work for you. Things are probably different when you’re in someone else’s office.

Walking meetings come to mind. Stair stuff—sprints, jumps, or simply just walking all the flights in one fell swoop. Doing as many squats as possible in the elevator before someone else enters and looks at you funny. Pushups in the bathroom stall.

Okay, maybe not that last one.

The AC thing would make it difficult, though. I can see that.

This is it for today, folks. Take care, be well, and ask any other questions you have down below!


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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a question about the different forms of vitamin K2. Everyone knows the importance of vitamin K2—at least around these parts—but very few understand the differences between the various forms of vitamin K2. What are the respective benefits of vitamin K1, vitamin K2 MK-4, and vitamin MK-7? Where can we find each one?

Let’s find out:

Hi Mark,

Have you ever done an in-depth look at the differences between vitamin K2 MK-4 and MK-7?

No. I’ll do one now.

For those who don’t know, vitamin K2 comes in many different forms called menaquinones. MK-4 and MK-7 are the most important menaquinones. Pretty much all the vitamin K2 you’ll encounter in foods and in supplements is either MK-7 or MK-4 (or both), so these are the ones we most care about. There are also ones like MK-11 and MK-10, but we don’t know as much about them. What we do know seems to suggest they act a lot like MK-7. Whatever the case, they’re good.

What Are the General Benefits of Vitamin K2?

It directs calcium where to go in the body, sending it to the right places and preventing it from going to the wrong places. You want calcium in your bones and teeth. You don’t want calcium clogging up your arteries or forming kidney stones in your kidneys. Vitamin K2 is the messenger regulating both good and bad calcification.

It improves energy utilization, partially by increasing insulin sensitivity. The more insulin-sensitive you are, the better you can burn glucose without requiring tons of insulin. This allows you to both handle glucose and keep burning body fat.

It’s an important regulator of sex hormone status. Much like it puts calcium in the right places and removes it from the wrong places, vitamin K2 increases testosterone in men and reduces excess testosterone in women.

It protects tissues against cancer, selectively inducing cell death in cancer cells but not in healthy ones.

It’s a powerful inductor of gene expression. In general terms, it turns good genes on and bad genes off.

What About the Benefits Of Vitamin K1?

Found in many unfermented green plant foods, vitamin K1 isn’t useless by any means. It generally heads straight to the liver, where it contributes toward regulation of blood coagulation—the thinning or thickening of blood. People with problems controlling blood coagulation often end up on warfarin, a drug that promotes blood thinning and prevents blood clots. We can convert vitamin K1 to vitamin K2, but this depends on a number of factors, like gut health (much of the conversion occurs in the gut) and usage of certain medicines (statins inhibit conversion).

Back to vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 does what vitamin K1 can do, but more effectively, and then some.

The most-studied is MK-7. The majority of the MK-7 you consume goes to the bones and liver. In the bones, the MK-7 produces osteocalcin—a hormone which regulates bone health, increases testosterone, improves cognitive function and exercise performance, and maintains healthy insulin and glucose levels. Few people know the power of the bones (they’re actually organs) and MK-7 is one of the most important co-factors for realizing that power.

The best sources of MK-7 are fermented plant foods, like natto (fermented soybeans, but natto made with black beans and presumably other legumes will also be high in MK-7).

MK-4 tends to accumulate and act in the peripheral tissues, helping prevent against unwanted and/or unhealthy calcium accumulation. It’s also integral to gene expression and activation.

The best sources of MK-4 are animal foods, like egg yolks, chicken legs and thighs (and chicken dark meat in general—I bet the oysters on a chicken carcass are incredibly high in K2), and goose liver. Pork is also quite high in MK-10 and MK-11, whose biological activities haven’t been elucidated but are likely to be very helpful.

Another good source of a mix of menaquinones is hard cheese, with emmental, jarlsberg, and edam being highest.

Almost everyone should take a vitamin K2 supplement containing both MK-4 and MK-7. Many of the most troublesome and dangerous foods and drugs wreak havoc by inhibiting vitamin K2-dependent processes.

A group of researchers made a strong case that statins, warfarin, canola oil, and hydrogenated soybean oil trigger a host of metabolic and lifestyle diseases by inhibiting vitamin K2-dependent processes in the body:

Statins reduce levels of a necessary co-factor for converting vitamin K1 into vitamin K2 in the brain, testicles, kidney, bone, and other tissues. So if you’re taking statins and want vitamin K2 improving bone health, sexual function, cognition, and lowering the risk of kidney stones, you need to take extra.  You most likely need extra (throw in some CoQ10 while you’re at it, as statins also inhibit its production).

Warfarin—the blood thinning medication—reduces vitamin K recycling in the body, lowering vitamin K2 levels and even inducing arterial calcification. In effect, taking warfarin replaces the body’s need to naturally regulate blood coagulation through vitamin K, and natural processes drop off.

Canola oil and hydrogenated soybean oil both contain compounds that appear to inhibit vitamin K2 production in the body.

If you take statins, warfarin or eat canola oil and hydrogenated soybean oil, you should probably ask your doctor about supplementing with vitamin K2.

Similarly, postmenopausal women should take vitamin K2. In a recent study of postmenopausal women, those with osteoporosis had much lower levels of vitamin K2 (MK-7) than those without.

But to be honest? Supplementation is probably a good idea for everyone.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care and if you have any other questions about vitamin K2, drop them down below!



Klapkova E, Cepova J, Dunovska K, Prusa R. Determination of vitamins K, MK-4, and MK-7 in human serum of postmenopausal women by HPLC with fluorescence detection. J Clin Lab Anal. 2018;32(5):e22381.

The post Dear Mark: What Are the Differences Between Vitamin K2 MK-4 and MK-7? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a few questions from recent comment boards. First, with all the scary tick-related news coming out lately, are there any non-toxic tick repellents that actually work? Are there essential oils that repel and/or kill ticks? Is there a safer way to use insecticides? Next, were the people in the Mediterranean keto study actually eating a kilo of fish on their fish days? And is the wine an important part of the Mediterranean diet? Is the wine therapeutic or just for pleasure?

Let’s find out:

Non toxic effective tick repellents safe for children? Any suggestions? I live in NC so the tick thing scares the hell out of me. Found at parks in short grasses, like how am I supposed to avoid this???

If you want to avoid DEET and other pesticides, there are many essential oils that repel ticks. Let’s go through the various tick species.

The castor bean tick:

Repelled by miswak essential oil and killed by Libyan rosemary essential oil.

Repelled by rosemary and mint essential oils.

Repelled by Dorado azul, also known as pignut or bushmint and traditionally used as mosquito repellent. The terpene known as alpha-humulene was the most repellent terpene found in the oil; you can buy both the oil and the humelene.

Repelled by turmeric oil, even beating out DEET.

The cattle tick:

Repelled by French marigold essential oil.

Repelled by mastrante essential oil.

The deer tick:

Repelled by nootkatone (a grapefruit aromatic compound) and to a lesser degree ECOSMART organic insect repellent. Here’s a cool video showing ticks trying to climb a person’s finger that’s been dipped in nootkatone.

Nothing is 100% guaranteed to repel all ticks. In fact, many of these oils show 50-60% effectiveness in the field. But if you use a combination of relevant essential oils, frequent tick checking, smart clothing choices (long socks, shoes/boots, pants), and avoidance of tick-heavy landscapes (tall grass, oak leaves, etc, notwithstanding these new breeds that apparently love short grass), you’ll be in good hands—or at least better hands than the naked guy rolling around in piles of oak leaves.

And if you’re really worried, you could always tuck pants into your shoes, then spray the shoes and lower section of your pants with peremethrin, an insecticide that kills the ticks as they climb before they can reach your flesh. Use a dedicated pair of pants and shoes that you don’t use for anything else and reapply each time you go out. A light spray on the outside of reasonably-thick pants should provide tick protection without actually putting the pesticide into contact with your skin.

2.2 pounds of fish each day?!

I know, I was surprised to read that myself. But right there, according to the researchers:

We estimated during the first 4 weeks of this study that the average edible fish consumption per subject during the ‘‘fish block’’ day was approximately 1.12 0.41 kg=day.

So it wasn’t just an allowance of fish. They actually tracked their consumption and found they were eating over 2 pounds of fish on average on the days they ate fish.

The study said that they had “fish block” and “no fish block” days. With no mix of fish and other meats on the same day. What is the reason for this?

They offered no justification in the study write-up.

Maybe it was to increase variety.

Maybe it was to reduce their intake of omega-3s. I mean, a kilo of fish per day adds up to a lot of omega-3s, especially if you’re doing sardines and salmon. There is such a thing as too much a good thing, and excessive omega-3 can lead to blood thinning, excessive bleeding, and imbalanced omega-3:omega-6 ratios in the opposite direction.

Maybe it was to help people stick to the diet, to break up all that fish with some meat and chicken.

Great, but why the wine? Is it not a contradictory with ketosis? But is it for pleasure or is it for a therapeutic reason?

Wine is emphasized in Mediterranean diet studies (both keto and regular) because wine is considered an important part of the cuisines of most Mediterranean countries, at least on the European side. Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Greece all have an extensive history of wine production and consumption. Since researchers are casting a wide net to capture everything that might be contributing to the health effects, they’re including everything that appears in the “Mediterranean diet.”

It’s good to keep in mind that ketosis and alcohol detoxification do utilize some of the same physiological pathways. If you’re drinking an excessive amount, you’ll run the risk of inhibiting ketone production.

Still, wine does appear to have therapeutic effects, especially in people with metabolic syndrome—the subjects of this study.

Red wine is very high in polyphenols, due to both the polyphenols in grapes themselves and the unique polyphenols that form during fermentation. One study compared grape extract to red wine made with the same types of grapes, finding that red wine provided benefits the grape extract did not.

Drinking wine with a fast food meal can reduce postprandial oxidative stress and inflammatory gene expression; it can actually make an otherwise unhealthy meal full of refined, rancid fats less damaging (though still not advisable).

Blood pressure: In people with (but not without) a genetic propensity toward efficient or “fast” alcohol metabolism, drinking red wine at dinner seems to lower blood pressure.

Type 2 diabetics: Type 2 diabetics who initiate red wine drinking at dinner see reduced signs of metabolic syndrome, including moderately improved glycemic control and blood lipids.

Inflammation: A study found that non-drinkers who begin regularly drinking moderate amounts of Sicilian red wine enjoy reduced inflammatory markers and improved blood lipids.

I’d say the wine is a therapeutic addition to the Mediterranean keto diet. Don’t let that override your own experience, however. Wine might have therapeutic effects for many people, but not everyone feels better including it. It’s an option, but it’s hardly a necessary one for a healthy diet.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask away down below. Thanks for reading, everyone.



El-seedi HR, Khalil NS, Azeem M, et al. Chemical composition and repellency of essential oils from four medicinal plants against Ixodes ricinus nymphs (Acari: Ixodidae). J Med Entomol. 2012;49(5):1067-75.

Ashitani T, Garboui SS, Schubert F, et al. Activity studies of sesquiterpene oxides and sulfides from the plant Hyptis suaveolens (Lamiaceae) and its repellency on Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae). Exp Appl Acarol. 2015;67(4):595-606.

Goode P, Ellse L, Wall R. Preventing tick attachment to dogs using essential oils. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2018;9(4):921-926.

Politi FAS, Fantatto RR, Da silva AA, et al. Evaluation of Tagetes patula (Asteraceae) as an ecological alternative in the search for natural control of the cattle tick Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Acari: Ixodidae). Exp Appl Acarol. 2019;77(4):601-618.

Lima Ada S, Carvalho JF, Peixoto MG, Blank AF, Borges LM, Costa junior LM. Assessment of the repellent effect of Lippia alba essential oil and major monoterpenes on the cattle tick Rhipicephalus microplus. Med Vet Entomol. 2016;30(1):73-7.

Schulze TL, Jordan RA, Dolan MC. Experimental use of two standard tick collection methods to evaluate the relative effectiveness of several plant-derived and synthetic repellents against Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae). J Econ Entomol. 2011;104(6):2062-7.

Hansen AS, Marckmann P, Dragsted LO, Finné nielsen IL, Nielsen SE, Grønbaek M. Effect of red wine and red grape extract on blood lipids, haemostatic factors, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005;59(3):449-55.

Di renzo L, Carraro A, Valente R, Iacopino L, Colica C, De lorenzo A. Intake of red wine in different meals modulates oxidized LDL level, oxidative and inflammatory gene expression in healthy people: a randomized crossover trial. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2014;2014:681318.

Gepner Y, Henkin Y, Schwarzfuchs D, et al. Differential Effect of Initiating Moderate Red Wine Consumption on 24-h Blood Pressure by Alcohol Dehydrogenase Genotypes: Randomized Trial in Type 2 Diabetes. Am J Hypertens. 2016;29(4):476-83.

Gepner Y, Golan R, Harman-boehm I, et al. Effects of Initiating Moderate Alcohol Intake on Cardiometabolic Risk in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: A 2-Year Randomized, Controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163(8):569-79.

Avellone G, Di garbo V, Campisi D, et al. Effects of moderate Sicilian red wine consumption on inflammatory biomarkers of atherosclerosis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006;60(1):41-7.

The post Dear Mark: Safe Tick Repellent, Fish Intake on Mediterranean Diet, and Therapeutic Value of Wine appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering questions from last week’s Collagen vs Whey post. You guys had a lot of questions, mostly about collagen, and I’m here to answer them. Can collagen help with plantar fasciitis? Should you take collagen and whey together in the same smoothie, or do they cancel each other out? If a person can’t have whey, is there an equivalent protein powder source? Is glycine a good replacement for collagen? What about liquid whey from raw milk—how does it compare to powdered whey? If I wanted to get my glycine from foods, what would I need to eat and how much of it?

Let’s find out:

Is there any evidence that collagen supplements can help with plantar fasciitis? Suffering from this recently and the stretching from MDA has helped but looking to get that last 10% of healing so there is no pain.

Fascia is basically pure collagen. If collagen supplementation has been shown to improve pain in other parts of the body made of collagen, like the knees or tendons, and improve collagen synthesis in collagenous tissues like skin and joints, I see no reason it shouldn’t also improve the fascia. Boosting collagen synthesis is boosting collagen synthesis, and supplemental collagen does it.

A good thing to try is eat 20-30 grams of collagen with 200 mg of vitamin C 30 minutes before a workout that you know targets your plantar fascia.

Hey Mark,

Is there any benefit to having them at the same time? Or do they cancel each other out?
I’m a big fan of stirring collagen into any foods I make that have sauce.
What about a 50/50 smoothie of whey and collagen?
Thanks for any insight!

I’m unaware of any unique benefit.

When you think about how collagen appears in the natural world, it’s usually alongside muscle meat.

Entire culinary traditions revolve around the consumption of collagen and muscle meat together. Think Vietnamese pho (bone broth and meat). Think French (reduced broth-based sauce poured over meat). Think Mexican (bone broth-infused rice served with meat). Hell, go all the way back to the Pleistocene and humans were boiling smashed bone fragments in stomach casings.

No reason to separate them.

It is possible for a person to be allergic to casein and I don’t think it’s possible to have fully casein free whey protein except maybe the isolate. However, if the person is allergic it wouldn’t be safe. What’s the next best complete protein if a person can’t use whey, and wants the convenience of a powder? I’ve seen beef protein before, but have no idea of the quality.

I’d say go for egg white protein. Extremely complete, tasteless, and blends seamlessly into anything.

Is it true that collagen doesn’t work/assimilate without vitamin C? I try to take mine with some cherries or lemons.

It seems to work better. The recent study that found pre-workout collagen improved tendons also included vitamin C.

I sometimes buy raw A2 milk from Jersey cows, and make my own whey. Wondering how that compares to powdered whey?

That’s awesome. The liquid whey will have a broader range of nutrients, but the powdered whey will be more concentrated and far higher in protein. Remember that whey protein is basically dehydrated liquid whey and you’ll get a picture of how much liquid whey goes into whey powder.

My interest in this has led me to start studying biology because I would like to know more about nutrition and digestion. Because the way that my nails changed seems incredible to me and it really makes me wonder what else collagen is doing.

You make a good point. I often use improvements in one area of health as assurance that other areas of health are also improving. I’m sure that’s not always true, but I think that’s a pretty safe assumption most of the time.

My question to you Mark would be to echo the same question others have posed, ie are there any downsides to me taking whey, collagen and glycine simultaneously in my pre-workout shake? Otherwise I have a real dilemma, as it appears that there is very good science to support having both collagen/ glycine as well as rapidly digested essential aminos (from whey) in your system before undertaking a ‘fasted’ workout.. A tough question I know but any insight you have would be much appreciated!

There’s no reason to avoid it. Do it. Should be good for both your connective tissue and your gains.

Would glycine supplements have a similar effect as collagen? Glycine supplementation would be way less expensive than collagen:
• 30 grams of collagen (=~10 grams glycine) from Great Lakes = 5 tablespoons, costs =~$1.13 if you buy the 8 pound bag.
• 10 grams of glycine from Bulk Supplements =~$0.18 if you buy the 5 kilogram bag.

Pure glycine is great for things like balancing your intake of methionine. As I wrote in the original post, muscle meat is high in an amino acid called methionine. Methionine metabolism depletes glycine, so the more meat you eat, the more glycine-rich connective tissue, bone broth, and collagen supplements you should be eating to balance out the amino acids. This is the basic foundation for eating all that collagen I recommend.

But balancing methionine for longevity and health isn’t the only reason we’re eating collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, providing tensile strength to our bones, teeth, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. It’s an important structural component of the skin, lungs, intestines, and heart. And as far as the evidence so far available suggests, eating the amino acids that make up collagen separately doesn’t have the same effect on those collagenous tissues as eating them together in a collagenous matrix.

In one study, rats with osteoporosis ate collagen hydrolysate that scientists had marked with a radioactive signature to allow them to track its course through the body. It survived the digestive tract intact, made it into the blood, and accumulated in the kidneys. By day 14, the rats’ thigh bones had gotten stronger and denser with more organic matter and less water content.

Another study found similar results, this time for cartilage of the knee. Mice who ate radioactive collagen hydrolysate showed increased radioactivity in the knee joint.

When you feed people collagen derived from pork skin, chicken feet, and cartilage, many different collagenous peptides appear in the blood. You don’t get any of those from isolated glycine.

All that said, pure glycine can be a helpful supplement. As mentioned, it’s great for balancing out methionine intake from muscle meat consumption. It’s also been used in several studies to improve multiple markers of sleep quality. And glycine is probably the most important component, if you had to choose just one, of collagen.

Collagen is ideal, but glycine isn’t a bad option. In fact, I’d argue that perhaps collagen plus supplementary glycine could offer the best bang for your buck.

Mark, can you please do a post examining the different amounts of glycine in actual foods, i.e. pork rinds, chicken skin, connective tissue rich cuts of meats, etc? I’d really like to get my collagen and glycine from food sources and know how much of the foods I would have to eat in order to get the 10g you mention.

I’ll do a quick answer.

An ounce of pork rinds gives you 3.38 grams of glycine.

An ounce of roasted chicken skin gives you 1 gram of glycine.

A pork tail of about 4 ounces will give you almost 3 grams of glycine. Oxtail should be about the same.

So getting your glycine from food alone is entirely doable, but you’ll probably have an easier time if you like chicharrones/pork rinds and animal tails. There are some higher quality pork rinds out there these days, like the Epic brand ones.

Hi Mark – thank you for all of your great information!!!
I make homemade Greek yogurt at home – I strain it in a fine mesh strainer and get an incredible about if whey as a result. I generally mix about 1/4 cup back into the yogurt to get the right consistency. I throw the rest out. Is this consumable as whey for the diet?

It is consumable. But keep in mind that liquid whey isn’t as protein-dense as whey powder. It’s still good to eat and a great source of probiotics.

Thanks for your questions, everyone. Take care!



Figueres juher T, Basés pérez E. [An overview of the beneficial effects of hydrolysed collagen intake on joint and bone health and on skin ageing]. Nutr Hosp. 2015;32 Suppl 1:62-6.

Shaw G, Lee-barthel A, Ross ML, Wang B, Baar K. Vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017;105(1):136-143.

The post Dear Mark: Collagen vs Whey Follow-Up appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions.

First, why did I leave out soy sauce from the Primal Kitchen® No Soy Teriyaki Sauce? Second, what slackline do I recommend beginners buy? And third, is keto safe for people with type 2 diabetes?

Let’s find out:

Hey Mark,

How come you didn’t use soy sauce in the new teriyaki?

The response to our new Primal Kitchen No Soy Teriyaki sauce has been overwhelmingly positive. I can’t blame them. The stuff is delicious. But, like you, a few have wondered why we decided to omit the soy. After all, the soy in traditional teriyaki sauce is soy sauce—a fermented product—and I’ve spoken positively about fermented soy in the past. I support the consumption of natto, a fermented soybean product with the highest vitamin K2 density of any food out there. Miso’s pretty good. Even tempeh is better than un-fermented soy. And traditional soy sauce fermentation is so thorough that several different gluten assays are unable to detect any gluten present in the finished product, despite wheat being a vital ingredient. Why not include actual soy sauce, or at least tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), in the PK teriyaki?

First of all, I make this stuff for you guys. For the people who’ve been there from the beginning. For the people who got into this Primal/paleo stuff because they had unexplained rashes, weird weight gain, gut issues, even though they were eating the conventionally “healthy” diet. And many of you (as many of you have told me over the years) have figured out that you have intolerance issues with soy—even if it’s fermented to high heaven. The last thing I want to do is exacerbate an autoimmune issue, especially if the ingredient in question isn’t actually necessary.

And two, I knew I could make something delicious and unique without soy. I didn’t need it. Maybe it’s not exactly like teriyaki sauce you’ve known and loved. For one thing, it has far less sugar. But it’s really, really good. It serves the same purpose as teriyaki sauce. It even manages to give the appearance of sweetness (at least, if your taste buds haven’t been deadened by decades of sugar baths) without actually having any added sugar—just balsamic vinegar. Soy simply wasn’t necessary.

Believe me: we tried different formulas that included soy sauce. They were fine, sure, but they weren’t necessary to get the result we wanted. And so we left it out. Why not leave out a potential allergen, one that a disproportionate number of our customers seem sensitive to? It was a no-brainer.

There are plenty of decent teriyaki sauces out there (although you might have to whip it up yourself to limit the sugar). Ours is just unique.

I definitely feel that procrastination is a mechanism of self-defense. After a long day of “mental work”, when I come home it’s not that “I’m tired” is more “I need to decompress”. One of my go-to phrases: “I’ll do it in the morning”. I still haven’t gotten myself one of those slacklines… is there a particular one you recommend?

I’ve always loved the Gibbon slacklines. The basic one is more than enough for most people.

A few beginner tips I always give to newcomers:

  • Focus on standing on one leg. Get comfortable there. Then spend even more time on one leg before trying to take steps.
  • Use trekking or ski poles to get comfortable. If you aren’t making any progress at all, there’s no shame in using a little assistance.
  • Know that the line won’t swing out from under you when you take a step. It feels like it will, but it won’t. Trust and have faith (kinda like life).
  • Let your arms swing where they may. Keep them fluid (like a gibbon), not rigid.

Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged. The first couple hours on a slackline is really humbling for almost everyone. I have a long history of board and “balance” sports (snowboarding, standup paddling, etc), and my first time on the slackline I could barely stand up. Your leg will wiggle more than you ever thought possible. Keep going. Even though it won’t feel like you’re making progress, you are. Your brain is taking notes, drawing new paths between neurons. It’s learning. Giving up gives your brain the message that this task is too difficult for you, and it’ll stop learning.

Is Keto dieting ok for us type II diabetics?

Most signs point to “yes.”

Type 2 diabetes has been described as a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. If that’s true, then removing or severely restricting the thing you’re intolerant of seems logical. What happens when you do that?

Very recently, a large study came out that supports the use of keto in this population. Two groups of type 2 diabetics were placed either on a very low carb ketogenic diet or a standard diet for two years. The ketogenic group:

  • Lowered their HbA1c.
  • Reduced their diabetes medication usage.
  • Lost visceral body fat.

The control group experienced none of these benefits.

Furthermore, 55% of the keto group reversed their diabetes and 18% went into remission.

I’ve heard some people make the point that because keto doesn’t necessarily give a type 2 diabetic the ability to eat a big baked potato and have normal blood glucose, it’s not actually a “cure.” Maybe. But would you say the same thing to an alcoholic who no longer drinks? Is sobriety not a viable treatment for alcoholism because if the alcoholic took a drink he’d fall off the wagon? No. That’s ridiculous.

That’s it for today, folks. Happy 4th to all my U.S. readers out there. Enjoy a safe and healthy holiday weekend.



Cao W, Watson D, Bakke M, et al. Detection of Gluten during the Fermentation Process To Produce Soy Sauce. J Food Prot. 2017;:799-808.

Athinarayanan SJ, Adams RN, Hallberg SJ, et al. Long-Term Effects of a Novel Continuous Remote Care Intervention Including Nutritional Ketosis for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes: A 2-Year Non-randomized Clinical Trial. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019;10:348.

The post Dear Mark: Why No Soy in PK Teriyaki, What Slackline to Buy, and Type 2 Diabetics and Keto appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. First, what’s the deal with the new Harvard study claiming that eating more red meat increases the death rate? Does it actually prove this? Second, how about the one claiming that reduced carb diets also increase death? Should you worry? And finally, why do I recommend eating locally farmed farmer’s market produce, even if it isn’t organic?

Let’s go:

Hi Mark,

What’s your take on this Harvard study?

“those who increased their daily servings of red meat over an eight-year period were more likely to die during the subsequent eight years”

It’s total nonsense with very little applicability to MDA readers.

Red meat eaters were more likely to be smokers.

Red meat eaters weighed more.

What else did people change as they added or removed red meat from their diets over the eight years?

The study doesn’t say much.

What we know:

Those who ate more red meat as time wore on also ate more calories per day—roughly 400 more. Those who ate less red meat as time wore on tended to reduce their overall calorie intake.

Those who ate more red meat as time wore on also gained more weight.

The simplistic urge is to assign blame for these changes to the increase in red meat, since that’s what the study is studying and that’s what they keep mentioning throughout the paper. But there are a million other variables that could have caused it, that likely did cause it, because that’s how cause-and-effect works in this world. Or rather, causes-and-effect.

And remember: this wasn’t an interventional study where one group was told to avoid red meat and one group was told to eat more red meat. This was data pulled from two different studies done decades ago, gathered by asking people what they ate on a typical day and then following up with them at a late date to see who died, who got cancer, who gained weight. It wasn’t explicitly about red meat. So, this is a mishmash of remembrances of what some people think they might have eaten, and the researchers from today’s particular paper homed in on the red meat and tuned out everything else.

This isn’t about individual people. These are abstract numbers.

One of the more interesting notes in the discussion section of the paper was this line:

Unprocessed meat consumption was only associated with mortality in the U.S. populations, but not in European or Asian populations.

I’ll be revisiting that line in the near future. For now, though, any ideas what could be going on?

Mark, do low-carb diets increase all-cause mortality? Hearing from lots of people about this latest one…

He’s talking about this one.

This is another piece of nonsense. Instead of studying legitimate low-carb diets like keto, Atkins, or basic Primal Blueprint, it separated people into four tiers of “low-carb” intake.

  • Tier one got 66% of their energy from carbohydrates.
  • Tier two got 57% of energy from carbohydrates.
  • Tier three got 49% of energy from carbohydrates.
  • Tier four—the one with the highest mortality risk—got 39% of energy from carbohydrates.

Now, I could probably hit “send” and stop the post right now. I mean, that about says it all. In what world is 39% of calories from carbohydrates a low-carb diet? How is that the “lowest-carb” diet? Pure madness.

The study also didn’t discuss diet quality. What kind of fats, carbs, and protein are these people eating? What exactly are they omitting and including? How’s their omega-3 intake? They eating mostly chicken, mostly beef, or plants?

All we know, in addition to their macronutrient ratios, is that people in the “low-carb”/39% carb group:

  • Smoked the second most.
  • Ate the least saturated fat.
  • Drank the most alcohol.
  • Exercised the least.

Really what this study is saying is that eating the high-fat, high-carb Standard American Diet will increase your mortality. This is no surprise.

As I’ve said before, you should pick a macronutrient—fat or carbs—to focus on and go with it. Sure, Michael Phelps could eat 10k calories of McDonald’s and maintain optimal performance, body comp, and health because he’s burning through it all, but you’re not him and you’re not training at an Olympic level for five hours a day. Trying to hang out in no-man’s land where you’re kinda high-carb, kinda high-fat is a bad idea for most people. You could make a 39% carb diet “better” by going with Perfect Health Diet principles, sticking to healthy Primal sources of starches and fats, but that doesn’t work for everyone.

You mentioned going to Farmers Markets every week. I would love someone to explain to me the push for buying local and going to Farmers Markets. Every time I hear them mentioned I cringe a little. I certainly understand buying local, and I agree with that, IF the fruits and vegetables are organic. Usually they are not, so I stay away from local and avoid the toxins/pesticides.
I can only assume that those who buy local don’t mind the pesticides, and if they juice, drinking a glass of chemicals.
What am I missing here? I would love to buy local, but sadly it’s rarely organic. I’d rather buy non-local organic.

Have you ever talked to the supposedly non-organic farmers?

In my experience, the vast majority of vendors at the farmers markets are using organic methods even if they aren’t certified. Reason being, organic certification is quite stringent to attain. It’s a multi-year process.

They have to go chemical-free for years. If they’re at year three of the conversion to organic, they can’t advertise “organic” but for all intents and purposes they’re there.

It costs money. Farming is a hard way to make a living. Going legit might represent a big chunk of cash that they can’t quite justify at the moment.

Go to a market, and go frequently. Get to know the people there. Look the farmer in the eyes and ask how they grow. The majority of the ones I’ve met are doing things right. They’re small operations. They’ve got their kids pitching in and helping out. They’re using man/womanpower and precision and know-how. They aren’t flying crop dusters to carpet bomb the entire field with chemicals.

Another (big) advantage of local produce is the freshness. Fruit and vegetables that travel fifty miles after being picked the day before are a world of difference from produce picked last week and shipped halfway across the country (let alone world sometimes).

That’s it for today, folks. If you have any questions or comments about today’s questions and answers, write in down below.

The post Dear Mark: Increased Red Meat, Reduced Carb, Increased Death? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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