Author Topic: Controlled Bodily Impact-Trauma As Hormetic  (Read 8254 times)

Offline JohnG

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Re: Controlled Bodily Impact-Trauma As Hormetic
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2010, 05:47:13 PM »
Quote from: jared33
Quite intriguing, John.  Kirkwood's 'disposable soma' theory of aging has been gaining quite a bit of credence lately.  It makes sense that the organism has to make a compromise in whether to allocate resources to reproduction vs. maintenance and growth, etc.   This Wikipedia article gives some more background:

However, the article also mentions that it is not easy to reconcile the benefits of caloric restriction with the disposable soma theory:

Actually there's a rather common(and I think very reasonable) argument that fits caloric restriction neatly within the Disposable Soma theory.

The basic argument is that caloric restriction simulates starvation. The forces of evolution ultimately work to enhance the chances of successful reproduction for each species, and starvation, evolutionarily speaking, has been a state that reduces the chances of successful reproduction. Scarce food conditions are generally not beneficial to successfully producing healthy offspring.

Since starvation was probably often periodic and not chronic(due to seasonal food shortages etc), the best bet for successful reproduction is for the organism to temporarily move energy away from reproductive mechanisms and toward survival and repair mechanisms, the hope being that they increase their chances of surviving the starvation period and living until conditions become more conductive for reproduction.

It's also known that caloric restriction can significantly lower fertility levels(when severe, even to the point of some genital atrophy) which matches this theory perfectly too.

Do you see an analogy between bodily impact and caloric restriction as far as how they might affect aging?

I see a lot of commonality between the two. Injury and starvation would likely both have been harmful to the chances of successful reproduction, and in both cases evolution may have created mechanisms which switch the organism toward repair and survival, at the expense of the reproductive system, so that the organism could have a higher chance of reproducing at a later time - when the starvation and/or injury had passed.

It's obvious that evolution has created repair mechanisms for injury, and if we assume that ultimately evolution is all about maximizing reproductive success, then these repair mechanisms are nothing more than attempts to get the organism back into maximal reproductive fitness.

Basically, evolution only cares for the organism itself(such as repairing it and maintaining health) to the degree that caring for it increases reproductive chances. If, on average, an animal will die anyway from external causes(predators, accident, infectious disease) by age 30, then evolution "weighs up the odds" and decides it's only worth engaging in repair and maintenance mechanisms to survive in decent shape until 30 - thus freeing up more energy for reproductive activities.

From this perspective, both caloric restriction and physical trauma/injury may act as a signal to evolutionarily conserved mechanisms which essentially say "I'm in a poor position to reproduce at the moment, the best thing to do would be to stop wasting energy on my reproductive systems and route energy toward repairing myself and surviving until a later date when conditions for reproduction will hopefully be better."

Or, one way I like to see it is "Up yours evolution! I, as an individual, am more important than my ability to reproduce, and I'm going to short-circuit your system and place emphasis on my survival not my sperms' survival."

« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 06:01:08 PM by JohnG »

Offline JohnG

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Re: Controlled Bodily Impact-Trauma As Hormetic
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2010, 06:47:45 PM »
Another thing: my hypothesis regarding bodily trauma/injury doesn't rest on the Disposable Soma theory being true, even though they can fit together nicely.

It seems pretty well accepted that the degeneration and decline of aging are largely the result of lifelong damage accumulating. I'm proposing that the basic problem may be that the very slow, low intensity, incremental nature of the damage that occurs during aging may not sufficiently activate the bodies natural repair mechanisms.

This is could, for example, be what is occurring with ageing-associated muscle atrophy(sarcopenia.) And we know that with age-related muscle atrophy, that subjecting the muscles to sufficient intensity traumatic injury(ie resistance exercise) can reverse the atrophy - apparently because the body starts to engage in "overcompensating repair."

My hypothesis is very comparable to High Intensity Training in this regard - we may have to induce high intensity damage in order to sufficiently activate the bodies natural repair mechanisms, whilst keeping the damage short enough in duration so as not to overload the repair capabilities.

So my hypothesis can work on a more basic level, that does not rely on unproven evolutionary aging theories.

On a related note, I also think my hypothesis would tend to favour intermittent fasting(short duration high intensity starvation) over caloric restriction(continuous low intensity starvation.)

YouTube: 79 Year Old Man Doing Heavy Bench Press
« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 07:08:11 PM by JohnG »

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Controlled Bodily Impact-Trauma As Hormetic
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2010, 08:29:21 PM »
Good points, John.  I think you are right on both counts - the organism puts off reproduction until the body is in good enough shape to reproduce (which includes being secure enough to raise offspring, in the case of mammals).  The ship can't sail the sea until the leaks are repaired, so the voyage is extended.  You are also right that we don't need an evolutionary argument to understand the fundamental connection between the activation of repair mechanisms and the resultant strengthening of the organism.

By the way, your link to the 79 year old man working out was awesome.  That guy just won't give up!  Another great example of this is Jack LaLanne. As you may remember, he was a fitness icon of the 1950s. He performed incredible feats, swimming handcuffed from San Francisco to Angel Island, towing several boats.  He is still around -- 95 and going strong.  He lifts weights for 90 minutes a day, swims half an hour, and only eats two meals a day -- basically fresh vegetables, fruit and some protein.  

This is what he looks like today at 95, in his gym:

And Mike Eades has a great post comparing Jack Lalanne at 95 to Ancel Keys:
« Last Edit: October 05, 2010, 08:34:49 PM by Todd Becker »