Hormesis is the name given to the process by which lesser degrees of cellular stress and damage can result in long-term benefits to health. Cells react to molecular damage with greater repair and maintenance activities, and when that damage occurs transiently and minimally, the additional efforts to maintain function outweigh any detrimental effects. This can slow aging and extend life in a range of short-lived species. Hormesis depends on complex biochemistry, however, and similar approaches to triggering it can easily fall on the wrong side of the line, causing too much damage, or not enough of a maintenance response. Researchers here review the literature in search of a consensus in the matter of hormesis and aging in the widely studied nematode species C. elegans.
The concept of hormesis arouses great interest, because it is a near-universal and reproducible phenomenon. As a beneficial compensatory response triggered by mild stress, hormetic individuals generally exhibit better performance than the untreated controls, and the potential anti-aging effect of hormesis has attracted more attention. It seems promising to apply hormesis in aging intervention, which is evidenced by multiple studies, like the beneficial effects of moderate exercise-induced hormesis on body function and
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