Hormesis/Eustress Is The Key To Achieving Optimal Health

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Hormesis is a biphasic or triphasic response to increasing levels of a chemical or condition observed in many biological systems. [1] There is often a beneficial physical response to mild toxicity levels and other stresses within the hormetic zone. The term hormesis is derived from the Greek hórmsis, which means “fast motion, eagerness,” and from the ancient Greek hormáein, which means “to set in motion, propel, urge on.” For the study and science of hormesis, the term hormetic has been proposed.

Hormesis is a dose-response phenomenon to xenobiotics or other stressors that are characterized by low dose stimulation, zero doses, and high dose inhibition, resulting in a J-shaped or inverted U-shaped dose-response (e.g., the arms of the “U” are inhibitory or toxic concentrations, whereas the curve region stimulates a beneficial response.)

[1] In general, hormesis studies the benefits of toxins such as radiation or mercury (possibly comparable to health paradoxes such as the smoker’s dilemma, but distinct due to dose-dependent effects). Microdosing and, to a lesser extent, homeopathy are frequently viewed as hormesis applications. [2]

Hormesis can be depicted as a hormetic curve in physiology and nutrition, featuring deficiency, homeostasis, and toxicity zones. Physiological concentrations that deviate above or below homeostasis concentrations harm an organism; hence the hormetic zone is also known as the region of homeostasis in this respect. [3] The hormetic zone is analogous to the therapeutic window in pharmacology. Some psychological or environmental conditions that appear to elicit pleasant responses have also been labeled “eustress.”

The hormesis concept of dosage response is hotly contested in the field of toxicology.

[4] The physiological mechanisms by which hormesis works (especially in practical scenarios involving behavior and poisons) are still in the early stages of investigation and are not fully understood.

[1] It is not usually believed that hormesis is a significant policy consideration for chemical risk legislation.

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