My Theory Of Stress - Which Is A Response To Peat's Critique Of Hormesis

Discussion in 'Stress' started by KalosKaiAgathos, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. KalosKaiAgathos

    KalosKaiAgathos Member

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    Hey everyone!

    Back at one of my favorite forums (apologies for not responding to all the previous threads I've created. Will do that now).

    Today I'm posting my theory about stress.

    The theory has several criticisms of Peat's position on hormesis, but paradoxically, I also take up arguments from Peat and integrate them into my own theory on the subject.

    Contrary to Peat, I think that hormesis is a genuine concept, and that it's essential for health to have stress in your life. To be clear, I'm mostly denoting biological stress here, such as exercise (if in good health), ultraviolet light exposure from the sun, cold (if in good health), hypoxia from working on your CO2 levels, etc.

    Where I agree with Peat is that most psychological stress is bad in modern society (especially chronic psychological stress). I also agree with Peat that some stressors are totally useless (such as excessive vegetable oil consumption, which I categorize as a non-hormetic stressor, and which I therefore advise to eliminate).

    There's a lot of nuance in my argument, and to see that nuance, you have to look at the full picture. Read:

    Conquer (Chronic) Stress: The Ultimate Guide To Stress Relief.

    (Btw, my work on stress is long, basically the size of an e-book. It's scannable though, and has a summary.)
     
  2. Amazoniac

    Amazoniac Member

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  3. OP
    KalosKaiAgathos

    KalosKaiAgathos Member

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    Thanks!

    I would have to rephrase my "accusation" towards Peat then, to avoid a straw-man argument. The way I interpret Peat is that he generally does not favor intentionally seeking out biological stressors, such as cold, heat, or exercise.
     
  4. skittles

    skittles Member

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    I've been thinking about hormesis a lot lately.

    I'm starting to get the feeling that it's the missing ingredient for a lot of people when it comes to their health. Including myself. Many of us in the modern age were raised in a very comfortable living situation, and rarely step out of our comfort zone even into adulthood. When a big acute stressor rears its ugly head, we can't handle it. It's not natural to have an anxiety attack over acutely stressful situations.

    Willingly subjecting oneself to gradually increasing doses of hunger, cold, sunlight definitely builds adaptation. But I think it goes even further. KalosKaiAgathos, you (and many others on this forum) would probably disagree with me, even sporadic sleep deprivation might be hormetic. Not chronic, but sporadic. I think things like alcohol or spicy foods are probably also hormetic. I'm not a smoker, but maybe smoking is even hormetic. Again, not chronic, but sporadic. Even just stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis, doing things that scare you a bit or make you a little uncomfortable. Gentle acute stressors that we can handle. And then we can gradually push it a little more with time (to an extent, of course). We don't think we can handle anything. But we're incredibly resilient - we just need to start small and work that muscle.

    Maybe biased speaking as a man, but I think that hormetic stress is /the thing/ that builds masculinity in men. In fact, I might even go as far as saying that masculinity /is/ being able to handle heavy accute stressors, and having the experience under your belt to do so. Do any particularly masculine men really ever get there without it?

    I think here in Peat-land a lot of us are a little too concerned with being completely stress-free, but I'm starting to wonder if the (chronic) psychological stress of constantly trying to avoid (acute) stressors does much more damage in the long run than just rolling with the punches.
     
  5. yerrag

    yerrag Member

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    Not to quibble, but hypoxemia (low blood oxygen) seems better than hypoxia (low tissue oxygenation).
     
  6. lampofred

    lampofred Member

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    I think sensory deprivation stress is very good for males, but not other types of stress such as social subordination, financial insecurity, etc.
     
  7. Tarmander

    Tarmander Member

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    This paradox pretty much sums up my experience with Peat:

    Keeping boundaries is stressful (challenge, rebuff)
    Having strong boundaries between you and stress, is stress-relieving
    Avoiding the stress of keeping boundaries leads to stress.
     
  8. Curiousman

    Curiousman Member

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  9. sugarbabe

    sugarbabe Member

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    This is an interesting topic. I have been through a period of chronic unrelenting stress and lost my health so I was pretty against anything hormetic for a long time. But I think health can be built up if you aren't consistently doing things to tear it down. I can now fast easily for 12 hrs, don't have anxiety if I don't eat, can stay up late as long as I get in my 7 hrs of sleep. I have also even been able to drink a glass of wine without feeling anything (I don't drink at all)... None of these things were possible after chronic stress. It had to be built back up again.

    I'm using a bit of hormesis to change my eyeballs too. Slowly decreasing the strength of my lenses to push my eyes to work a little harder. Without stimulus it can be hard to change right?
     
  10. Regina

    Regina Member

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    It is an interesting topic. As such, it can be misinterpreted to deleterious ends. Our aikido/zen master teacher makes a similar caveat as Kalos with respect to traumatized people. He says his programs may not be suited for traumatized people and also makes the recommendation for them to work on that first.
    All sounds good on paper.
    But in my experience, the selection bias is that traumatized people gravitate to these self-improvement arts.
    There ends up being a lot of the pot calling the kettle black.
    Nearly every high-ranking "winner" practitioner and teacher I encounter is the epitome of a deluded traumatized person. But they don't know it.​
     
  11. Ulysses

    Ulysses Member

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    Hormesis is useful in unstressed organisms, that is, with a baseline of non-stress so that recovery is possible. Organisms under chronic stress will eventually lose their capacity for adaptation and at that point even hormetic stressors, i.e. those that could benefit a healthy organism, are bad. The problem with applying antifragility/hormesis to modern life is most of us are stressed, metabolically deranged, and damaged. Cold showers can be beneficial for a person with robust health and thyroid function but when I was at my least healthy, even a few minutes of icy water would ruin me for the whole day.
     
  12. JustAGuy

    JustAGuy Member

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    Couldn’t agree more. I personally think being in a chronic state of comfort/relaxation to build/rest while introducing short bursts of stress (occasional exercise/cold shower/a fast) to trigger adaptation is the most ideal thing.
     
  13. yerrag

    yerrag Member

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    It's true that the general impression is that Peat's thoughts are centered around reducing stress. For example, if you do a search on his site on fasting, you will run across the stressful and not the hormetic effects of it. And when he talks of hormesis, it is wrapped around the subject of the selling by the nuclear industry of the hormetic effects of radiation, which he is very much against. The idea of hormesis put in a positive light, everything else other than radiation, is not discussed by him.

    I can allow Peat some license to not widen the scope of his subject matter. Explaining the concept of stress is hard enough without confusing beginners with the idea that some stress is good. He's painting things first in black and white. And once people understand the basic ideas - the baby steps - they can begin to tackle the more nuanced aspects of it. Your writing puts a lot of nuance into it, and I appreciate it a lot. It's nice that you're building on top of the foundation that Peat has established.

    Speaking of fasting, I'm finding it hard to see you eating the three meals so close to each other with the last meal at 2 pm, making supper obsolete. This certainly allows for a 16 hour fast daily. I haven't tried doing this, afraid that the gap between my last meal and sleeping would be too long for me not to be low in energy while asleep. But I'll try it on my pond of koi. I'll give them their last of two meals at 2 pm. I've not been in agreement with week-long fasts that are often used on koi, something which koi hobbyists like to do. But daily 16 hours I do. It would be hard for me to tell if they're really benefiting from it though. I would only know when after 10 years, my koi are still healthy and they look young still, with their color as vibrant as ever.
     
  14. ilikecats

    ilikecats Member

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    @KalosKaiAgathos lol your "work" on stress. We got the next Hans Selye over here folks. We gotta get this to Peat ASAP he needs to be aware of these breakthroughs. Ray also needs to be aware of your revelations on the importance of PUFA in the diet too. Its interesting (and shameful) how you use this forum (and consequently Rays work) as a means of advertisement and self promotion when you disagree with him on such basic points. That article could have been written by a child, a hypothyroid child at that. @yerrag " It's nice that you're building on top of the foundation that Peat has established", Are you kidding me? And Peat never paints things in black and white. Peat never talks about the benefecial "hormetic" effects off fasting because there are none. The benefits come from reducing stress on the gut by taking a break from digesting stressful foods and this can easily be replicated by avoiding said foods. Any of the other perceived benefits of fasting are due to the anti-inflammatory effects of cortisol and this is really the exact opposite of hormesis since it only has limited short term beneficial effects and in the long run it leads to a long list of degenerative problems and just generally damages the organism. I saw this first hand from doing IF for 6+ months (obviously anecdotal but for the record I was consuming a lot of calories and carbs). Anyone who says they're doing good with IF for longer periods of time probably isn't lying but they're just generally robust organisms and I don't see any difference between them and the massive amount of people who eat tons of PUFA or gluten or work under flourescents for 10+ plus hours a day and *seem* to be doing fine. There can still be degenerative processes happening behind the scenes and it WILL catch up to them. And just because someone (or some part of someone) makes an adaptation does not make it "hormetic" (in the way that the OP is using the term i.e. a stressor improving an individuals health over time). Just because someone trains themselves to lift ridiculously heavy things does not mean its improving their health... the opposite is true most often. The beneficial effects of UVB light have nothing to do with "hormesis". The benefits of UVB are due to its ability to cause the body to produce vitamin D when 7-dehydrocholesterol, which is present in the skin, interacts with the UVB rays. The effect that UVB has on our cell's ability to produce energy (it suppresses it) and the increase in nitric oxide it causes are still problematic and damaging. In the context of sunlight the red light that the sun gives off protects from some of the damage of UVB rays. But even in the context of isolated UVB rays the damage will most likely be very minor, minor to the extent that the increase in vitamin D probably out weighs the problems that come with the UVB rays. The body most likely quickly heals from this damage but damage is still done and the whole process has nothing to do with hormesis. If someone seems to be "thriving" in a stressful environment its not due to hormesis but do to the fact that they are healthy enough to regularly heal from the damaging effects of stress. Another factor that comes into play in a situation like that are the dopaminergeric effects of feeling like you have a purpose. And even more of those people are not actually thriving and despite the fact that they might not even manifest any of the psychological or aesthetic symptoms of declining health there can still be significant degenerative things going on internally. I think we've all known or heard stories of seemingly robust ubermensch type guys who get heart attacks or cancer in their 30s.

    " It's nice that you're building on top of the foundation that Peat has established" thats just so ridiculous to me. Is a student who manages to scrape through the moonlight sonata building on the work of Beethoven?
     
  15. OP
    KalosKaiAgathos

    KalosKaiAgathos Member

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    First of all, thanks for the compliments...

    Secondly, clearly you're not impressed by the article in the slightest, which can happen. I'm going to respond to some of the points you made though:

    If I remember correctly, I specifically describe excessive PUFAs as a useless stressor in my article, that does not give off any hormetic stress response, and is therefore not beneficial as a stressor.

    I disagree that there are no benefits to fasting. There are, such as increasing autophagy. However, I do think that fasting is one of the more dangerous hormetic stressors to apply and that fasting should not be applied as a first, second, third, or even tenth health strategy qua priorities.

     
  16. OP
    KalosKaiAgathos

    KalosKaiAgathos Member

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    Interesting point. I had to look this one up!

    There's different research on whether breath holds induce hypoxemia or hypoxia:

    Breath Holding – A Promoter of Cancer? | Disease, Death and Dying

    But looking at other more credible sources, it seems you are right: the better term is hypoxemia.
     
  17. OP
    KalosKaiAgathos

    KalosKaiAgathos Member

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    Yes, I also advise to first master psychological stress, for which I consider proper meditation the best technique that I've found so far, as well as spending time in nature, sex, social relationships (really appreciated in the health care world) and other strategies.

    Of course, there's no one size fits all here. BUT: psychological stress is so omnipresent that most people should not apply great hormetic stressors to their bodies because they'll dig a deeper hole.

    I know many people - some of those who are close to me included - who sleep poorly and yet still go out and exercise heavily on an empty stomach in the morning. Bad strategy IMO. Fix sleep and recovery first, and then add hormesis - and watch your recovery.
     
  18. OP
    KalosKaiAgathos

    KalosKaiAgathos Member

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    True :)
     
  19. OP
    KalosKaiAgathos

    KalosKaiAgathos Member

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    Haha! Maybe people should respond to Haidut's lab suggestions as "I've tested supplement x on my pond of Koi" instead of talking about their rats.
     
  20. sugarbabe

    sugarbabe Member

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    Yes digging deeper holes is no bueno. I absolutely had to get control over psychological and also physical stress like sleep deprivation. Waking up to nurse a baby all night was not hormetic!
     
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