Benefits of Creating a Hormetic Stress Response

Hormesis is basically an adaptive response to stress stimulus. Quite literally, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. A better understanding of hormesis mechanisms at the cellular and molecular levels is leading to novel approaches for the prevention and treatment of many different diseases previously not thought possible. Designed within our bodies are deeply embedded adaptive processes meant to allow us to not only survive, but to thrive, even in the harshest of conditions.

Examples of this surround us; when you exercise intensely your body adapts by building muscle and endurance. When you intermittently fast(calorie restriction), your body jumps into action by boosting stem cell production, releasing HGH hormone, and this practice is shown to actually slow down aging making you live longer.

So should it surprise us that new research is coming out showing that CWI (Cold Water Immersion) stimulates the release of previously unknown ‘Cold Shock Proteins’? These Shock Proteins have a plethora of benefits including a neuroprotective result that can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s, while being an effective anti-depressant, among other things.

Although the concept of deliberately inducing a stress response in the body from extreme temperatures may seem counterintuitive, this type of stress creates what is called a Hormetic response. Hormetic stress is about providing an optimal level of a certain stressors or stimulus, not too much and not too little, to encourage the body to adapt, become stronger and build resilience. This type of adaptive hormesis can be produced by many things like exercise and is a key physiological response that has a plethora of health benefits, fighting disease effects and links to increased lifespan.