A quick overview of Hormetism

Posted 23 Dec 2016 in Uncategorized

A recently did a podcast interview with Christopher Kelley, author of the website Nourish Balance Thrive.   Chris is a competitive cyclist who got interested in health and biohacking.  His site provides information and interviews to help athletes (and non-athletes) optimize their health and performance.  His generally Paleo approach combines testing, supplementation and lifestyle changes.  NBT also has a team that provides personal consultation.

I got to know Chris from discussions at several Ancestral Health Symposium meetings, and this led to the podcast interview.

I’m putting up the interview here on my main page because Chris somehow managed to get me to weave together a broad range of topics in a conversational way,  succinctly and concretely illustrating the essence of hormesis and its application to improving health and well-being — what I call “Hormetism”.

I’m also including here his minute-by-minute outline of the topics covered so you can jump in or out on at points that might interest you, and you can also follow up by clicking some of the links.  Enjoy!

Chris Kelley Interviews Todd

Outline of the podcast:

[00:00:24] Myopia: A Modern Yet Reversible Disease.

[00:00:53] AHS16 – Todd Becker – Living High and Healthy.

[00:01:48] Hormesis.

[00:02:35] Low-carb and intermittent fasting.

[00:03:58] Going on holiday and forgetting glasses.

[00:04:40] Print pushing.

[00:05:02] Exercise.

[00:05:29] Immune system.

[00:06:07] UV.

[00:06:13] Overcompensation.

[00:07:28] Lactose tolerance.

[00:08:35] Unnecessarily avoiding the sun.

[00:10:05] Finding the perfect amount of stress.

[00:12:15] Learning to fast blog post.

[00:13:00] Heart rate variability or even just resting HR.

[00:14:02] Cold showers.

[00:14:43] Alcohol.

[00:15:53] Metabolic flexibility.

[00:16:08] Allostasis.

[00:17:07] Wood smoke.

[00:17:25] Evolutionary mismatches.

[00:17:41] Is charred meat bad for you?

[00:18:29] Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.

[00:19:02] Phases of detoxification.

[00:19:17] CYP3A4.

[00:19:42] Superoxide dismutase.

[00:20:01] Sulforaphane and Its Effects on Cancer, Mortality, Aging, Brain and Behavior, Heart Disease & More.

[00:21:28] Low-dose dioxins.

[00:21:53] Hormone analogues.

[00:22:14] Gluten.

[00:22:40] IgE emergency response.

[00:22:50] An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases.

[00:23:36] Peanut allergies

[00:23:56] Karelia (historical province of Finland).

[00:25:00] Reversing peanut allergies.

[00:25:22] Poison ivy and oak.

[00:26:49] Peanut oil in diaper cream.

[00:27:06] Oral vs topical exposure.

[00:27:23] Epstein–Barr virus infection at certain ages.

[00:28:09] Altitude.

[00:28:24] Boulder has the lowest obesity rate in the US.

[00:29:28] PGC1-a via hypoxia.

[00:30:16] Barry Murray on my podcast.

[00:31:36] Altitude masks.

[00:32:02] Train high race low.

[00:32:24] Jeremy Powers on this podcast.

[00:34:43] gettingstronger.org

Happy listening.


  1. John

    Hello Todd!

    I wonder if you have any idea or opinion regarding the application of hormetic principles to cognitive-based processes, in particular
    – Learning and
    – Intellectual creation.

    To put it in a more down-to-earth way: can hormetism make you smarter? I am talking specifically of cognitive training. Let me provide an example of that.

    In Peak, Ericsson describes his experiment in teaching a graduate student to commit long sequences of digits to his short term memory. One of the tricks he used to break through plateaux was to increase the length of the sequences, for example if the student was not able to get 12 digits right, Ericsson would ask him to memorize 14 digits. The student would then fail, but coming back to 12 digits he would be successful.

    • Todd

      Yes, indeed. Any learning benefits from practice and “pushing the boundaries”, whether that be memories, athletic training or whatever. Although with memory, there are well known mnemonic tricks like “chunking” (breaking a long sequences into short sequences of 3 or 4 digits) or using the “Major” system to translate numbers into words and constructing sentences form those works. Check it out.


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