THIS is Hormesis in action!

Updated: Mar 27


This email is especially important now because we are smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season, not to mention dealing with the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic. So, I am hoping you take the time to read this all the way through, as this information is very important.

Some of you are aware that I have spent many, many years touting the enormous benefits of daily investment in the immune system. Indeed, several dedicated students have been participating in the Daily Prehab Therapy program, which has been going since 2017, and this excites me to no end. I am so tired of fighting against "The Man". Actually, no I am not! It is my raison d'etre! Here is my point, and do hear this: Viruses, bacteria, pathogens in general, do not effect everyone equally. It is asinine to think so. A Big Mac doesn't affect everyone the same, does it? A bottle of Coke Cola; a piece of chocolate cake...all of these things have an effect which varies depending upon the robustness of the immune system of the person in question. This should be obvious, but it seems "The Man" has so many folks convinced that everyone is somehow equally susceptible, and if you aren't scared out of your wits then something is wrong with you. If "The Man" were on top of you with his hands wrapped around your throat, attempting to strangle you unconscious, you would likely panic, and feel it appropriate to do so. You may even consider it foolish for someone else to not panic in such a serious situation. But what if you had spent years training for just such a situation? Of course you may still find yourself unconscious. However, isn't it clear that the odds of survival would be so much better for a trained person? I say all this to press home the point that consistent training is the key. Note that I emphasize the word "CONSISTENT". Not everyone is equally prepared -- physically, psychologically, emotionally -- for any given threat

Speaking of training, I'd like to share with you a recent log from a Prehab Therapy student. I share this with permission from the student, Christine "Holdinnuthinbeck", who has rededicated herself to daily Prehab Therapy. My purpose for this class is to encourage students to spend a little time each day investing in their health. It pays off! Now, the overarching principle behind these deep breathing exercises is HORMESIS. This simply refers to the idea that "A little bit of bad does a lot of good". For example, hyperventilating and holding one's breath can lead to wild swings in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. In the process of adapting to these swings, the immune system learns to be more efficient and robust. Also, you may physically feel the effects in the brain and body. Well, let's check out Christine's description:

"First outhold had to breathe with 4 sec to spare! Second one 45 sec easy peasy. I just LOVE this stuff!! First 1/2 lungs full definitely felt the tingling floating feeling as well as a permagrin on my face- like I couldn’t not smile. Second time, much more pronounced floating feeling- not like I had that first time, but still wonderful. And a big smile on my face. Ears again went from ringing to an almost waterfall like sound before fading out. No wonder you don’t need to drink or do drugs my head feels amazing…"

Wow! Isn't that cool? "floating" feeling. Ringing in the ears. All temporary signs that the brain and immune system are thrown off and adapting. Students regularly report oxygen saturation going down into the 70s, 60s, or lower during a Prehab session. As a reference, anything below 90% would concern any physician. 70% would indicate horrible COPD. But, temporarily dipping down? That is HORMESIS!

Same thing goes for a cold shower. 40 degree water will kill you. But if you shower in 40 degree water for just a few minutes...it makes your immune system stronger!

I want to finish with a story that I've told several students, and decided I should share here. It is a story of just one aspect of how a healthy immune system responds to a viral attack. It is helpful for you to understand this, so I hope you read: A virus is useless unless it is safely inside a cell of a living host. Unlike bacteria, a virus can not survive for long outside of a host cell. If a virus is inside your body, but not safely inside a cell, it is bare and very vulnerable to being destroyed by the immune system. The "spike" of a virus is like a key, which fits a very specific lock. The surface of your cells can have thousands of locks, or receptors, which can be unlocked by specific shaped "signals" (e.g. hormones, or viruses). If a virus fits a lock on a cell, it gains entry. Its job is now to hijack the cell's protein production mechanism (ribosomes) to replicate itself. Once it has made a few thousand copies of itself, these copies burst out of the cell, each one hoping to invade another cell. Within hours, hundreds of thousands of cells will have been invaded, and produced millions of virus copies. Moreover, each time a cell is killed in this way (lysis), it is considered an "unnatural" death, which causes inflammation. Inflammation in the lungs is not a good thing; it can be in fact deadly. However, a healthy immune system has an answer to stop this, interferons. When a cell recognizes that it has been invaded, it produces interferons and releases it out so all other cells in the area get the message that a virus is present. Interferons tell a cell, "temporarily shut down your protein production mechanism, and strengthen your cell walls." So, then if a cell is successfully invaded, the virus is trapped inside the cell with no way to copy itself. Meanwhile, Natural Killer cells get the message of the invasion and in short order arrive to cause apoptosis (natural cell death) of infected cells. Unlike "unnatural" cell death, apoptosis neatly kills the cell and all viruses inside of it, not causing inflammation. Then, Macrophages come along and eat up the dead cells and viruses, digesting them into proteins that can be used by the body for other purposes. If there is a robust interferon response, the virus is stopped in its tracks, and you may never even know you were invaded (so called asymptomatic infection). Now, what is unique about the novel coronavirus is that it seems to have the ability to block the release of interferons from within invaded cells, which allows it to spread more quickly, killing more of your cells. This is bad..unless your body can make use of other pathways to release interferons, such as through TNF alpha. This can get very complicated very quickly! The short of it is, train your immune system so that yours will have robust responses, like that of someone is her 20s!

Until next time...

To Your Health!

Jeff

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