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Tags: stroke | hormesis | radiation | resveratrol

Hormesis Gaining Wider Respect

By Tuesday, 03 December 2019 04:35 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Hormesis is the use of small concentrations of substances that normally would be considered harmful, or exposure to a potentially harmful condition such as stress, to promote immunity.

Such distress can actually make cells, organs, and tissues more resistant to damage.

This follows the old adage: “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”

The idea of hormesis has been around a long time, but when it was first promoted by alternative medicine practitioners, orthodox medicine treated it like more crazy ideas from outside traditional medicine.

Growing evidence has now firmly defined its scientific basis.

For example, in higher doses, arsenic is toxic, but in very small concentrations it stimulates cells to gear up their defensive machinery.

This phenomenon of strengthening cells by exposing them to small doses of a toxic substance or stressor has now been demonstrated with a many toxic substances and conditions, including strokes, exposure to small doses of toxic metals, phytochemical exposures, exposure to radiation, and even stress.

All cells have a number of defensive systems, such as the antioxidant network, special defensive proteins, and protective enzymes. Those systems’ job is to protect the cell from dangers, both from inside the body and from the environment.

These protective systems can be induced — that is, geared up — when greater protection is needed.

For example, when a cell is exposed to stress, antioxidant enzymes are activated, special anti-inflammatory molecules (such as NrF2 and heat-shock protein) increase, DNA repair enzymes increase, and mitochondrial energy modulation is activated.

These things make cells stronger and more resistant to damage.

In many cases, the effects of hormesis extend not to just the toxic substance cells are first exposed to, but also to many other types of distress. This can include lack of blood supply, radiation damage, exposure to other poisons, and even trauma.

There is evidence that chemicals in many vegetables and fruits protect the body by being slightly toxic, and therefore stimulating an elevation in cell defenses.

This is thought to occur with substances like resveratrol (a grape skin flavonoid) and sulforaphane (from broccoli).

Every time the body is exposed to a stressor, a toxic compound, or even an intrinsic harmful substance such as glutamate, it makes the cell more resistant to future assaults that come from other toxic substances.

This may be the function of background radiation that we are all naturally exposed to from our environment — it makes our cells more resistant to higher doses of radiation.

For most harmful substances, there is a two-phase response: In very low concentrations, cells and tissues are strengthened; and in very high concentrations, the substances kill or severely damages cells.

This is also how exercise and low-calorie diets (as well as intermittent fasting) improve health. Exercise and intermittent fasting are very stressful and this gears up our cellular defenses and even protects our brain.

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Hormesis is the use of small concentrations of substances that normally would be considered harmful, or exposure to a potentially harmful condition such as stress, to promote immunity.
stroke, hormesis, radiation, resveratrol
Tuesday, 03 December 2019 04:35 PM
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