What is Hormesis and How Can it Affect Your Dog?
By Apricot Power
What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger
It is interesting (and disheartening) that our fur babies today are far less healthy than they were 30 years ago! Cancer, obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases were not common when I began practicing 34 years ago. Cancer rates in dogs are currently 1:1.65 (exceeding human male rates of 1:2) and 1:3 in cats.
Mitochondria – The Key to Health
The key to health lies in the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell that produces the energy for the body to function. The number of mitochondria and the efficiency of energy production are directly linked to aging and longevity. The more robust the mitochondria, the slower the aging and the more long-lived the individual will be. How can we generate the best functioning mitochondria – hormesis!
What is Hormesis?
Animals (and people ) who are exposed to transient metabolic stressors (extreme temperature, fasting, exercise and toxins ) undergo hormesis. Hormesis is when the body is stimulated to adapt and be proactive, becoming stronger, more resilient and more powerful. This principle explains why the body responds to intense exercise, developing muscles that become stronger and endure longer.
Hormesis stimulates the body to generate energy more efficiently by increasing the number of mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) and their energy producing capacity. It causes the body to increase the production of antioxidants, reducing free radicals (the cells that damage the body).
We Need More Natural Stressors!
Our modern world lacks natural stressors, for us and our fur kids. We and our pets live in controlled environments, with air conditioning and heating minimizing our exposure to extreme temperatures. We have jobs that lead to sedentary lifestyles. Pets lack the active lifestyle their wild ancestors experienced. Wild animals had to forage for food, undergoing periods of fasting when they failed to kill their meal. They were also exposed to weather extremes.
Lack of stressors leads to mitochondrial dysfunction. The mitochondria not only shrink, they shrivel and die, reducing the overall numbers available for energy production. To live the longest healthiest life possible, have the best functioning mitochondria! Mitochondrial biogenesis is the process by which we make more mitochondria.
Mitochondrial biogenesis can be stimulated through ARE (Antioxidant Response Element). Try to incorporate these transient hermetic stressors into your lifestyle and your pet’s life.
- Exercise that varies in progression and intensity.
- Expose you and your pet to extremes in temperature (infrared sauna, the sun, cold water showers or snow)
- Consume antioxidant foods that stimulate the ARE, which include blueberries and pomegranate. It is critical to vary the foods eaten and eat foods that are in season.
- Offer a wide variety of species-appropriate foods to your pet. Wild predators ate whatever they were able to kill that in turn were eating various seasonal grasses.
Dogs and cats should live well into their 20’s, with vibrancy! For more information on how to heal your pets holistically, download this free E-Book www.holistichealingvet.com
Dr. Marlene Siegel