Hormesis – The Balancing Act of Nutrients

Here, I would like to introduce a new term that has faded out of the mainstream for a while, hormesis. It is important to mention this term now because everything will be based on the root of the word hormesis or to balance.

Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, said “sola dosis facit venenum” “Alle Dinge sind Gift, und nichts ist ohne Gift, allein die Dosis macht dass ein Ding kein Gift ist.” These words make the most impact on the study of toxicology and, in essence, life itself. The translation, “The dose makes the poison.” “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison, the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison.”

Read “Get the Scoop on Sodium and Salt” from the AHA blog site.

There a several articles suggesting everyone needs a large amount of this or a limited amount of that. For example, if I hear “drink more water” one mo’ time, Oh My! I generally drink on average a gallon of water per day, but if I get a headache the first thing people say to me is “you need to drink more water.” Yes, even water too can be a poison. There are toxic levels for everything, how xenobiotics (external compounds) are considered follow concentration gradients that are S shaped, J shaped, or U shaped. Which means substances are therapeutic at a certain level, toxic if the level falls too low, or increase beyond a safe range. Taking sodium for the reference here. Sodium (salt) has a tendency of increasing the total volume of water in the vascular system, increasing the pressure in which blood flows through the vessels. The increased blood flow contributes to hypertension (high blood pressure). The more water that enters the vessels the higher the pressure. Research has shown that individuals can be either salt sensitive or salt resistant; individuals are different necessitating varying nutritional needs based on genetic makeup. The body tells us what it needs. It is up to us to listen to what it is saying; for example, bloating, or yellow urine, or difficulty urinating. What does it all mean? Sodium is important for biological functions such as muscle contraction, nervous system function, and fluid balance via the kidney function to regulate the blood pressure. However, too much sodium leads to dysfunction in the body namely increased blood pressure and subsequently shear stress in the vessel walls. In the event of shear stress (where the blood is moving at a pace that is so rapid it causes damage to the vessel leading to an immune response. The influx of phagocytes, if oxidized, causes plaque buildup and blockages at vascular branches. With the changes in the American Heart Association (AHA) hypertension guidelines, more than 90% of American adults will develop high blood pressure. Let’s not deceive ourselves in thinking this is an adult disease; it is not. There are increasing numbers of children that are pre-hypertensive and a growing number of adolescents that have some form of cardiovascular disease. With that being said, think about which form of sodium you are consuming. For example, table salt is about 40% sodium and 60% chloride while Himalayan salt has 98% sodium chloride and 2% compilation of potassium, magnesium, and calcium giving the salt a pinkish hue. The AHA suggest getting sodium from natural sources (at least 75%) such as that residual in the preparation process not exceeding 2300 mg (~1 teaspoon) for normotensive and 1500 mg for hypertensive individuals per day.


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