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Nutritional hormesis

Abstract

Objective:

Hormesis, the biological and toxicological concept that small quantities have opposite effects from large quantities, is reviewed with emphasis on its relevance to nutrition.

Results:

Hormetic and other dose–response relationships are categorized, depicted, and discussed. Evidence for nutritional hormesis is presented for essential vitamin and mineral nutrients, dietary restriction, alcohol (ethanol), natural dietary and some synthetic pesticides, some herbicides, and acrylamide. Some of the different hormetic mechanisms that have been proposed are reviewed.

Conclusions:

The credence and relevance of hormesis to nutrition are considered to be established. The roles of hormesis in nutritional research and in formulating nutritional guidelines are discussed.

Sponsorship:

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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Acknowledgements

I wish to acknowledge the stakhanovite efforts and services of the staff of the William Hallock Park Memorial Public Health Library of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Health Hygiene and the technical assistance of my colleague Raymond Ford. I have no conflicts of interest that are either directly or indirectly relevant to the content of this article.

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Hayes, D. Nutritional hormesis. Eur J Clin Nutr 61, 147–159 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602507

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Keywords

  • hormesis
  • dose–response relationships
  • dietary restriction
  • alcohol/ethanol
  • pesticides
  • acrylamide

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