Well Org

Hormesis: Hacking Your Body For Strength And Energy

What is hormesis and how can it give the body a boost in energy and strength? Learn more about this biological process here!

RELATED: Healthy Lessons From a Vegan

In this article:

  1. How Can You Get More Energy?
  2. What Are Hormetic Stressors?
  3. The Myth About Antioxidants
  4. Keep Your Body Guessing

Making the Body Stronger with Hormesis

How Can You Get More Energy?

Ari Whitten was buried in scientific literature for two years looking for an answer to a nagging question: Where does energy really come from in the body?

Along the path, he discovered a concept called hormesis which is rooted in a new scientific understanding of cellular biology. Essentially, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is alive and well in the human body.

When the body is exposed to low doses of agents that would have lethal consequences if ingested at higher doses, the cells react positively instead. This exposure makes the cells stronger and more resilient to other stressors and improves the body’s immune response.

Hormetic stressors stimulate the body to produce mitochondria which, in turn, produce more energy for us. This means more powerhouses to burn calories and charge our lives.

What is mitochondria? This is the power generator of a cell. It converts oxygen and nutrients to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the main energy carrier of living organisms.

What Are Hormetic Stressors?

Exercise is the most notable one. It taxes the body, which stimulates growth and positive epigenetic expression. This is all over the literature and most people know about it. So what are the others? Heat, cold, and certain phytonutrients also act as hormetic stressors.

Phytonutrients Definition: These are substances in plants that can improve human health. They can also help prevent diseases from forming or progressing.

Calorie restriction and intermittent fasting can also cause mild stress in the body that induces age-related biological processes. The effects of both diets not only help with weight loss, but they also can improve the quality of life and possibly extend a person’s lifespan.

Ari spent two full years researching this concept (he’s in good company with other experts) and has been implementing hormetic practices in both diet and exercise with people around the world.

RELATED: The Deep Breathing Detox: Could Better Breathing Lead To Better Health?

The Myth About Antioxidants

A woman rock climbing outside

What I found particularly interesting about the interview was the way it challenges the dominant theory of aging which revolves around oxidative stress. If this were the case, then antioxidants would offset tissue damage and cellular aging.

Oxidative Stress Definition: An imbalance in the body where  the body fails to detoxify the body from free radicals fast enough through antioxidants is called oxidative stress.

Essentially, the thinking has been that the fallout from oxidation drives the aging process, but according to Ari, most serious aging experts have already moved on from that thesis. Why? Because experiments have found that post-exercise use of antioxidants has not shown the promised results.

The principal of hormesis dictates that some external stressors need to stimulate endogenous pathways/processes which trigger the body’s inane ability to heal.

The ARE (Antioxidant Response Element) makes magic happen in the cells. It turns out this system helps make the cells more resilient. It triggers the release of internal compounds which essentially perform the “promise” of antioxidants and actually works.

In fact, this system has helped us evolve and meet challenges for thousands of years.

Keep Your Body Guessing

A man balances while walking on a tightrope over the sea.

It’s kind of like hormone replacement. Once you start, the body slows its own production and gets lazy. It turns out this is the same rough concept with hormetic stressors.

Keep the body guessing and it’ll continue to grow and adapt…

I highly recommend listening to the interview and hearing it from Ari himself. I’m going to dig into the research and test these principles in my own life. So far so good!

Hormesis may be a new concept to some, but it has been helping us boost our energies since the beginning. Hacking your body using this process will help you fight oxidative stress, increase your energy, and boost your immune system.

You’ll also be able to hold off age-related diseases like cardiovascular disease by improving your body’s cellular stress response. Whatever stressor you decide to work with, it will help your body use more energy and resist diseases better.

Enjoy the interview and here is a link to Ari’s program if you’re interested in learning more.

Are you familiar with hormesis? What hormetic stressor does your body respond to the best? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Original story with transcripts can be found at The Urban Monk.

Up Next: 

Editor’s Note: This post was published on September 20, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.