Chapter 2

Vitagenes and Hormetins: The Pills of Hormesis

Marios Kyriazis

Abstract

In the previous chapter I discussed the physiological basis of hormesis and given examples of how certain practical actions can have a hormetic benefit upon our health. Here I will examine examples of oral drugs, compounds or supplements which may exhibit a hormetic effect. These compounds are called hormetins and many of these act on vitagenes, genes which encode transcription factors that are necessary for maintaining health. Thus, I explore a direct link between information carried by chemical compounds, and physiological modulation, with resulting health improvement. Some of these hormetins are pluripotent agents, exhibiting benefits at multiple levels and tissues. Other compounds are mimics of hormetic physical actions such as calorie restriction and exercise. I will also discuss the phenomenon of xenohormesis, i.e. hormetic gains experienced by humans through hormetins which originate from a different species. The discussion here complements both the concept of hormesis and that of Environmental Enrichment which will be discussed in the next chapter, and the aim is to provide a comprehensive approach ensuring a better understanding of hormetic mechanisms in a wider sense.

Total Pages: 38-70 (33)

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