This blog entry contains the PowerPoint presentation I gave in Honolulu at the Hawaii Institute for Molecular Education Symposium Investigating the Future of Medicine which was Webcast on March 16, 2013. The presentation is more graphical and less technical than the discussion in the previous blog entry Multifactorial Hormesis – the theory and practice of maintaining health and longevity and goes much further in explaining the universal nature of hormesis. I also offered a version of this presentation on March 25 2013 at a science symposium at Montana State University. The audience overflowed the auditorium and the resulting discussion was very lively. Below, links to the presentation follow a revised abstract for it.
Abstract: Multifactorial Hormesis II
Hormesis is about how biological systems respond to stress in a nonlinear fashion. In a certain “hormetic” range of dosage of virtually any stress, a biological system responds by more than accommodating the stress, e.g. by putting itself into a more-healthy and protected state than it would be without the stress. While a stress dosage greater than in the hormetic range can damage a biological system, many kinds of health-producing biological impacts can be induced by applying stress in the hormetic range. Although hormesis has been long-known, its universal nature and vast practical importance is only now becoming appreciated. Hormesis exists on various levels of biology from the sub-cellular to the social functioning of organisms in their environments. It affects virtually all body systems and major subsystems, and it operates through multiple molecular pathways. Extremely important applications of hormesis have long been practiced, but such applications have been mainly seen and studied each as separate matters. So, the ubiquitous nature of hormesis and its general properties and potentials have remained largely unexplored. Further, hormesis is required by the systems nature of biological processes and is essential for the evolution of species and survival of individual organisms. This presentation reviews the history of hormesis research, some familiar examples of hormesis, hormesis and aging, key molecular pathways that mediate hormesis, our emerging understanding of general properties of hormesis, hormesis and dietary substances, hormesis and systems dynamics, hormesis as a component of a unified theory for biology, and the possibilities of developing new hormetic therapies and preventative interventions for diseases and for countering aging. A few simple personal health-producing practices that involve hormesis are also mentioned.
Because of its large size, I had to break the presentation up into two pieces to put it on this blog. Click on a link to download a Part. It will open in PowerPoint in your computer. The presentations are most easily read using the slide show presentation option.
Part 1: Multifactorial Hormesis slide show
Part 2: Multifactorial Hormesis slide show
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I began working with a friend with Parkinson’s in early September, 2012. He has suffered with Parkinson’s-like symptoms for the last 15 years. In December, 2012, following a DAT test in September, he was told by his neurologist that he definitely had Parkinson’s (as opposed to Parkinsonism, Multiple Systems Atrophy, White Matter Disease, etc.).
As his motor disabilities “progress”, so too do his non-motor disabilities: anxiety, frustration, depression, despair, and apathy. Because no one else seemed inclined to help, or was in a position to offer him any help, I assumed his former role as a full-time, amateur, Parkinson’s researcher. In the course of my “investigations”, I happened onto your blog.
As you might imagine, it has been a fairly steep learning curve for someone not-schooled in the physical sciences. Nevertheless, thanks to blogs like yours, Pubmed, and the fact that research “abstracts” and “conclusions” are reasonably decipherable, my understanding of Parkinson’s Disease has developed to point where I can appreciate your various theories on aging and disease.
I have a couple of questions I would like to ask. In one of your posts having to do with hormesis, you mention a maximum response limit and cite the way in which this would come into play in a variety of scenarios.
One example you offer is of a friend who has smoked pot for many years who appears to have developed what used to be called a “tolerance” for THC. More than a “tolerance”, however, you suggest that his self-reported clarity as a result of smoking pot every day is likely due to a hormetic effect. (You’ve no doubt weighed the argument that “but for” smoking pot he might be clearer.)
My first question is this: Assuming that your friend’s smoking pot impacts both his physiological homeostasis and mental acuity, does chronic ingestion of a hormesis-inducing substance (e.g. THC, Resveratrol) eventually result in a “flat-lining” of the hormetic effect such that rather than producing new benefit it simply prevents the loss of benefit (and may therefore appear not to have a benefit)?
Elsewhere (in the same post) you use as an example of exercise related hormesis, a long distance runner. You compare the runners muscular and cardiovascular capacity to the non-runner to illustrate the longer term impact of regular, exercise induced, hormesis. My second question is:
Can one compare the effects of “chronic hormesis” to, for example, “compound interest”? While the hormetic dose response is subject to a theoretical maximum, it may nevertheless operate as a fixed percentage of an increasing capacity to respond. Or, to put it another way, if the first hormetic dose-response produces a measurable benefit (e.g. sense of well-being, improved mobility) with an upper limit of 30% from baseline, does the second dose response, also limited to 30% from baseline (but from the second day baseline), produce a measurable benefit that is thirty percent greater than the first response?
Lastly, I am working on a series of health recommendations for my friend with Parkinsons. In addition to cardiovascular exercise, meditation / mindfulness training, yoga, detoxification (Xeolite?), I will propose the ingestion of substances to induce a hormetic response / benefit. These include: Reseveratrol, (and Quercetin, for synergies with Resveratrol), phytosomal Green Tea Extract (and EGCG, separately, in liposomal or phtyosomal form), phytosomal Curcumin, organic freeze dried broccoli sprout powder (sulfurophanes), organic freeze dried blueberry powder, PQQ, Ubiqiunol, (possibly with Shilajit?), and Ginseng.
My last question(s) has to do with dosing. I have not been able to locate information on the optimal hormetic dose for the above named substances. My instinct is to err on the side of too little. However, I wondered whether a comparison to exercise is valid in this instance. That is, stress responses seem most effective when administered “periodically” rather than “continuously”. Would the same be true for supplements? If so, would loading up with higher doses for a couple of days, then resting for a couple of days, loading, and resting, be preferable to a regular, continuous, supplementation at lower doses? If true, then at what higher dosages and at what intervals?
I thank you in advance for any response you may provide,
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