Author Topic: Potential Hormesis Experiments  (Read 11974 times)

Offline dee

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Re: Potential Hormesis Experiments
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2011, 09:05:36 AM »
Extremely interesting about smoking. I was wondering the same thing as well, since smokers who quit eventually do recover, which implies that the body has a built in mechanism for recovering from mild smoking. Same thing for trans fats from vegetable oil. Unfortunately, Robert Rountree addressed both of those in his talk (from the link in Todd's antioxidant post), and basically he says that it's pretty bad for your body. He was probably referring to a normal dose, so the dose necessary to maximize the beneficial reaction without the chronic problems would be probably be less than normal, at least initially. (Probably a fraction of a cigarette?)

About CO2, you should check out the writings on Win Wegner and Dr. NakaMats. They both believe that going into hypoxia/hypercapnia leads to increased blood flow to the brain, resulting in boosts in intelligence. Another obvious example would be high-altitude or hypoxia training for athletes. They train with a constraint to compete at a higher level.

It really seems like the only beneficial things for our body are resulted from hormesis (or homeostasis, never "benevolent" interventions).

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Potential Hormesis Experiments
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2011, 09:04:57 AM »
It really seems like the only beneficial things for our body are resulted from hormesis (or homeostasis, never "benevolent" interventions).

dee,

I think the reason most people find the possibility of a benefits from smoking implausible is that they see all around us the negative health effects of heavy smoking, and they assume a "Linear No Threshold" model of toxicology.  They just can't imagine that a small or infrequent exposure could be beneficial.  And yet the evidence of hormesis is incontrovertible in so many areas.

Unlike what you call "benevolent" interventions, which are always direct, hormetic measures act indirectly.  While direct interventions help us out in the short term, they weaken us in the long term.  The opposite is true for indirect hormetic interventions, which momentarily impair us, but strengthen us for the long term by building our defenses.  This suggests to me that the indirect approach is superior.


Offline aelephant

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Re: Potential Hormesis Experiments
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2011, 03:09:47 PM »
With the anti-hormesis / linear threshold theory bias so strong, is it even possible to design or get funded a study designed to find the benefits of low exposure / hormesis? I can't imagine a safety review board in this day and age giving the okay to expose a group of healthy people to even low levels of something they believe (perhaps incorrectly) to be harmful (like cigarettes).

It is quite a pickle.

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Potential Hormesis Experiments
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2011, 03:10:23 PM »
aelephant,  I'm intrigued by your experiment eating hot peppers with capsaicin.  I found this blurb that recites some studies reporting anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and weight loss benefits:

http://ushotstuff.com/medical.htm

I'm trying a variant of your experiment. Reading that red bell peppers might contain some of the same beneficial compounds including lycopene, carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and vitamin C (but not the hot capsaicin), for the past week I've tried eating red bell peppers including the part of the red bell pepper I normally discard:  the seeds and the spongy white parts.  I've especially focused on chewing the slightly bitter seeds.

After my first "dose" I found I had a slight buzz and some mild nausea a few hours later.  But on my second and third "doses", several days apart each, this effect diminished to barely noticeable. And I found myself liking the seeds in an odd way.

I'm not sure what benefits I'm looking for, but going forward I think I'll consume all parts of the red bell pepper in salads and omelets.

If I'm brave and your experiment with hot peppers bears out, I may follow your lead there.  I've been wary of really hot spices because they are thought to be excitotoxins with potential to cause damage to the brain and nervous system, but perhaps that concept needs to be reconsidered in light of hormesis -- perhaps there is an optimum dose that deliver benefits and sidesteps the neurotoxicity.  I also found this article suggesting that intermittent fasting may help prevent excitotoxic neuronal damage -- so if you want to eat a lot of hot peppers, you might consider combining that with IF:

http://www.pnas.org/content/100/10/6216.full

Again, thanks for pursuing this interesting idea!
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 04:30:42 PM by Todd Becker »

Offline dee

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Re: Potential Hormesis Experiments
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2011, 08:17:08 AM »
Todd,

I have no doubt that the indirect approach is superior. I was more curious if the direct approach ever works long term.

About the diet thing, based on my understanding of Robert Rountree's talk, which isn't much by the way, all these defensive mechanisms work through the same mechanism (activating Nrf2). Since the phenols (and possibly other pro-oxidative stress such as intermittent fasting) work by the same mechanism, it would seem unwise to over do it. Since this pathway could be activated, and possibly overloaded every time we eat, it seems closer to a chronic stress than an intermittent one. For example, I would be led to believe that not consuming capsaicin for 3 days necessarily means that the capsaicin defense mechanism had 3 days to recover (the approach should theoretically work without any other interferences). Since these adaptive responses seem to work on J-curves of beneficial vs damaging, some studies have led me to believe that the current average intake would already be beyond the threshold for being benevolent. (I'm a huge fan of Hyperlipid: http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2007/08/vegetables-damage-your-dna-latest-study.html & http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2007/12/fruit-and-vegetables-re-post.html) I do recall Barry Groves mentioning that a study was done that showed fruits and vegetables twice a week was incredibly beneficial as opposed to no fruit and vegetable consumption. So I'm thinking optimal intake is somewhere in between. Another possibility instead of the mere amount of Nrf2 activators in our food (pro-oxidants), they could work synergistically to be more harmful to the system. This makes sense because vegetables are usually mixed together in salads or soups, and having 2 servings a week would probably spread those 2 servings into different days. Also, I don't see any reason why our bodies would be adapted to the simultaneous toxins of multiple different kinds of plants when variety probably wasn't an option when humans evolved (no supermarkets then), and it would make sense that the defense mechanism would be ready for every meal. This is consistent with what Dr. Rountree suggested that a pound and a half of broccoli would be optimal (this would be more phenols than average consumption, but with less negative effects).

I've been playing with a paleo diet (egg, butter, cheese, meat, potato) and absolutely love it. To supplement my diet with phenols, I allow myself 1 type per meal (like pepper, garlic, chili, wine, green tea). Let's see how I feel after a while.

Either way, if the adaptive response does work on a J-curve, less is more for stressing the body.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 08:19:05 AM by dee »

Offline thomas_seay

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Re: Potential Hormesis Experiments
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2011, 04:17:23 PM »
. (I'm a huge fan of Hyperlipid: http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2007/08/vegetables-damage-your-dna-latest-study.html & http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2007/12/fruit-and-vegetables-re-post.html) I do recall Barry Groves mentioning that a study was done that showed fruits and vegetables twice a week was incredibly beneficial as opposed to no fruit and vegetable consumption.

Owsley Stanley, who passed away last week, stopped eating vegetables in the 1960s.  I can't bring myself to go that far with it.  At some point pleasure has to figure into things.  I enjoy eating vegetables and would be bored (and quite frankly constipated) if I didn't.  I don't eat them often, but I enjoy the occasional sweet.  Surely, if there is anything to the notion of hormesis, my body can handle those things.

By the way Aelephant, I am on board with you.  I started introducing hot pepper into my diet this past weekend.  In my case, I am using Jalapenos.

Offline dee

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Re: Potential Hormesis Experiments
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2011, 04:19:20 AM »
The Bear (Stanley) is a hero of mine. Plus did you see pictures of him. He looked over 30 years younger than he was (he claimed that insulin makes you age). I honestly prefer meat to most vegetables, so I'm not complaining, plus with my one "toxin" per meal, I can eat whatever vegetable I want. (I do love onions and tomatoes).

Offline thomas_seay

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Re: Potential Hormesis Experiments
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2011, 08:50:56 AM »
The Bear (Stanley) is a hero of mine. Plus did you see pictures of him. He looked over 30 years younger than he was (he claimed that insulin makes you age).

Yes, he is a hero of mine, also.  He was a genius and obviously very far ahead of his time.  Most health nuts of the time were moving toward vegetarianism, a trend that would continue well into the 1990s.