Hormesis (from Greek hórmēsis "rapid motion, eagerness," from ancient Greek hormáein "to set in motion, impel, urge on") is the term for generally-favorable biological responses to low exposures to toxins and other stressors. A pollutant or toxin showing hormesis thus has the opposite effect in small doses as in large doses. A related concept is Mithridatism, which refers to the willful exposure to toxins in an attempt to develop immunity against them.
Favourable responses to stressors. That is interesting. One of the things that Erwan talked about this weekend was the benefit of occaisional hardship or challenge, for example exposure to cold or missing a meal (intermittent fasting anyone?) I've had stuff up here before about cold showers.
I thought of all this again when I saw this abstract.
Inflammatory modulation of exercise salience: using hormesis to return to a healthy lifestyle
The whole study is available as a pdf, but the gist of it is that mild stressors are good for you and control inflammation:
One general consequence of hormesis is upregulation of mitochondrial function and resistance to oxidative stress. Examples of hormetic factors include calorie restriction, extreme environmental temperatures, physical activity and polyphenols.Really interesting stuff