Health Fundamentals: Stress and Hormesis

May 1, 2022

Like most critical aspects of health, stress can be a double-edged sword. It’s necessary for physical and emotional growth, and we all know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. However, too much stress can do far more damage than even a poor diet or a sedentary lifestyle. The trick seems to be embracing the right kinds of stress in the right doses, and under those conditions, it can be a catalyst for improved strength and resilience.

Today for the second instalment of our Health Fundamental series, NBT coaches Megan Hall and Clay Higgins are examining stress and hormesis. They talk about simple biomarkers to help you measure your current allostatic load and then they discuss simple, practical things anyone can do to better manage emotional stress. They also discuss how to use hormesis - intentional and measured amounts of stressors like temperature, exercise, diet, and breathing, to boost your body's functioning while becoming better adapted and stronger.

To get all the details and studies supporting the information in this podcast, be sure to follow along with Megan's outline for this episode.

Here’s the outline of this episode with Megan Hall and Clay Higgins:

[00:01:23] Defining stress: allostatic load, eustress, distress.

[00:05:06] Dealing with negative stressors.

[00:05:20] Sympathetic vs. parasympathetic.

[00:05:49] Measuring allostatic load: Heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and other biomarkers.

[00:06:41] Podcast: How to Know if You’re Stressed, with Jason Moore.

[00:07:26] Mike T. Nelson, PhD.

[00:09:54] Simon Marshall, PhD.; Stress Audit (list of your problem-based and emotion-based coping strategies) - Podcast: How to Manage Stress.

[00:11:16] Panoramic vision/optic flow as the basis for EMDR therapy; Podcast: How to Develop Coping Resilience and Mental Toughness.

[00:13:05] Physiological sigh.

[00:13:31] Spending time in nature; forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku).

[00:14:35] Movement and exercise.

[00:18:00] Breathwork; Podcast with James Nestor: How to Fix Your Breathing to Improve Your Health; Book: Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor.

[00:19:55] Soma Breathwork; Podcast: How to Use SOMA Breathwork to Relieve Stress and Improve Your Health and Performance, with Nigel McHollan and Kara Lynn Kelly.

[00:21:41] Nasal breathing vs. mouth breathing; inhale vs. exhale duration.

[00:22:01] Circadian rhythm entrainment; DUTCH test; Doing a daily audit.

[00:24:30] Q1 interventions (Quadrant 1 from the 4-Quadrant Model).

[00:27:20] Podcast: Health Fundamentals: How to Get Great Sleep.

[00:28:51] Previous podcasts on sleep: Why Sleep Is Critical for Immune Health (2/12/21); Better Sleep for Athletes (1/3/20); How to Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (12/13/19); What to Do When You Can’t Sleep (11/22/19); Sleep To Win: How Navy SEALs and Other High Performers Stay on Top (10/25/19); Morning Larks and Night Owls: the Biology of Chronotypes (1/27/19); Why Your Diet Isn't Working: Sleep and Circadian Rhythm (9/3/18); How to Entrain Your Circadian Rhythm for Perfect Sleep and Metabolic Health (7/4/18); How to Get Perfect Sleep with Dr. Kirk Parsley, MD (4/15/16).

[00:29:14] Simon Marshall's traffic light system; Podcast: How to Stay Consistent (Minute 11:00).

[00:30:02] Community and social connection; Feeling lonely is associated with depression, anxiety, hopelessness, fatigue, poor life satisfaction. Finding a club, altruism.

[00:33:06] Podcasts on community: The Compassion Project: The Power of Hope and Human Kindness (4/9/21), The Community Cure: Transforming Health Outcomes Together (11/13/20), Building Compassionate Communities to Improve Public Health (1/10/19).

[00:33:26] Hormesis; Paper: Calabrese, Edward J., and Mark P. Mattson. "How does hormesis impact biology, toxicology, and medicine?." NPJ aging and mechanisms of disease 3.1 (2017): 1-8.

[00:35:54] Review papers on Hormesis - find them in Megan's outline for this episode.

[00:36:10] Temperature: extreme heat and cold.

[00:37:16] Clay's DIY sauna.

[00:38:50] Ben Lynch article on sauna: Sauna Benefits & How-To Guide, by Dr. Ben Lynch.

[00:41:23] Exercise.

[00:42:05] Lactate can improve cellular defense mechanisms; Study: Lactate and pyruvate promote oxidative stress resistance through hormetic ROS signaling.

[00:42:50] Food as a hormetic stressor: manipulating macros.

[00:44:46] Fasting and calorie restriction.

[00:45:28] Fruit and vegetable compounds that stimulate detoxification; NRF2 stimulated by sulforaphane and resveratrol.

[00:46:30] Hygiene hypothesis.

[00:47:26] Oxygen stress; Altitude/hypoxia, LiveO2.

[00:48:13] Getting a hormetic response from lower-intensity exercise; Study: Balestra, Costantino, et al. "Hypoxic and hyperoxic breathing as a complement to low-intensity physical exercise programs: A proof-of-principle study." International journal of molecular sciences 22.17 (2021): 9600.

[00:49:06] Wim Hof Method.

[00:50:15] Where to start.

[00:50:43] Simon Marshall's podcasts on habit formation: Nudge Tactics for Performance and Health, How to Get Motivated.

[00:53:22] More is not better - hormesis can have a cost.

[00:55:14] Article: Defining Hormesis, by Calabrese and Baldwin.

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