Posted On 04 Apr 2019
Too much stress can literally be a killer. Why? It weakens the immune system. That can allow some other disease to kill you.
Many people are so highly stressed that their lives are actually dysfunctional. Given the epidemic of low self-esteem in the west, perhaps it’s not surprising that many highly stressed adults actually do little about it.
This explains why the statistics about stress can be misleading. They often only list the other disease as a cause of death even though it was stress that made death caused by that other disease possible.
The reality is that stress has been implicated in the prevalence of all the major diseases popular here in the west.
Two Important Questions
Here are two questions worth asking yourself.
First, do you seriously value the quality of your life?
Second, if so, are you too stressed?
If both answers happen to be ‘yes,’ what can you actually do?
An obvious first step is to reduce the deleterious effects of common environmental stressors in your life. These include heat, cold, lack of nutrient intake, lack of nutrient absorption, UV light, insufficient caloric intake, and toxins.
Here’s what’s really interesting: in small doses, some stressors are actually helpful!
Researchers have a concept for this: “hormesis.” This refers to the favorable responses of an organism to low doses of stress that would be harmful in higher doses. (This is evidence that there’s a least one clear sense in which Nietzsche’s famous quote is correct.)
Here are two good examples of hormetic stressors:
Alcohol intake creates bodily stress.
Small doses of alcohol are beneficial, whereas larger doses are harmful.
What’s a small dose? One drink daily for women and one or two drinks daily for men. A “drink” here is one shot of spirits, one beer, or one 5 oz. glass of wine.
Of course, if you happen to be an alcoholic, this is not a license to drink.
Ketosis creates bodily stress.
When digested, all carbohydrates become glucose (sugar). When we consume lots of carbohydrates, our bodies produce energy by utilizing glucose. As long as we consume lots of carbohydrates, our bodies will continue to burn sugar.
When we restrict dietary carbohydrate intake sufficiently to induce ketosis, our bodies shift from burning sugars to burning ketones, which are a fuel derived from fats. If you have ever deliberately put your body into a state of ketosis, you already understand that it’s difficult and stressful.
However, the mitochondria in your cells actually prefer burning fat and, of course, if you burn fat for a while instead of burning sugar, you’ll reduce your percentage of body fat, which most of us should do.
So, as with other hormetic stressors in appropriately low doses, what is bad or stressful for you is actually good for you.
Furthermore, in this case there’s actually more to the story. In general as we age, our organs become less efficient. This is true of our immune systems; as we age, the weaker it becomes.
Our bodies produce stem cells, which are undifferentiated types of cells that can turn into almost any other kind of cell. As we age, stem cells tend to lose their ability to regenerate unless we stimulate them. Even though ketosis stresses the body, it also signals stem cells to regenerate. So, like caloric restriction, ketosis in this way really is a hermetic stressor.
Judging from their behavior, most adults don’t seriously value (physical) health and longevity. If so and you happen to be an exception, I encourage you to read Gundry’s THE LONGEVITY PARADOX, which is the best book I’ve ever read on those topics.
It has never made any sense not to learn from experts. This is why it’s foolish not to be a reader. Making all the mistakes yourself is simply more harmful than learning from the mistakes that others have made as well as shortening your learning curve by emulating their successes. People who don’t read suffer the unnecessary consequences of being intellectually dead. Literacy is useless unless used.
I was a real estate investor for over 30 years. If someone were to complain to me that they tried being a landlord and found it too difficult, my question would be, “How many books did you read about being a landlord before you began?” (I myself read two thorough ones and never had a single serious problem with a tenant. For example, I never had to evict anyone.)
If you care about physical well-being, how many books have you read recently about it? If your answer is obviously unsatisfactory, why not start with Gundry’s most recent one?