Small molecules that regulate lifespan: evidence for xenohormesis
The concept of xenohormesis is gaining ground quickly in the medical literature. Basically, there exists evidence that our bodes can sense cues from our environment (usually via the GI tract) that can prepare us for hardship. If there are environmental stressors (draught, disease, etc…) that are experienced by organisms lower on the food chain (plants, wild game, etc..), these organisms produce stressor compounds that will allow them to adapt to these more stressful environment.
Take a plant under draught conditions–this plant may produce protective chemicals to allow it to survive the draught. When a higher organism eats the lower organism these protective chemicals then trigger protective mechanisms in the higher organism. Sort of like sending the message of “danger” upstream. The ramifications of this are massive–tiny molecules that can change our physiology either positively or negatively. With this knowledge we have to rethink greatly the concept of free range animal products, organic produce, etc.
Are we eating more than we think? Illegitimate signaling and xenohormesis as participants in the pathogenesis of obesity.
This editorial brings further to light the potentially drastic results of xenohormesis, to include damage from chronic stress, artificial sweeteners, abused livestock and chemically grown produce.