Concepts & Science

The endocrine system has evolved to optimize efficient energy handling at the organismal level



Daily life is often compromised by improper nutrition, disturbed sleep patterns, lack of exercise and inability to manage stress. People frequently disregard simple everyday activities that may help attenuate the constraints imposed by strict work/family schedules which pose a threat for a healthy lifestyle. An unsuitable lifestyle compromises work productivity and progressively deteriorates health. But even more importantly, an unhealthy lifestyle replaces the joy of life with uncontrolled stress.

  • People who exercise regularly have improved brain function and productivity
  • People with disturbed sleep cycles show predisposition for obesity and compromised metabolic health
  • Uncontrolled chronic stress poses a severe threat for overall health
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Hippocrates concluded that both nutrients and exercise are essential for life. He suggested that if we knew the exact amount of food and exercise necessary to avoid excess or surplus we would offer great service to human health. The medical community presently advises a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, spread over 5 days or more and 2-3 sessions of resistance exercise per week to maintain health. While this is an evidence-based guidance, further research is underway to define additional exercise elements that can help optimize health. 

  • Defining a specific exercise regiment is an important aspect of guidance often overlooked
  • Exercise regiments should be customized according to people’s goals and functional capacities
  • Exercise should be progressively implemented
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The Hippocratic quest for appropriately balanced food consumption and exercise is concordant with the ancient Greek principle of life “Nothing in excess”. Unbalanced nutrition poses a threat to health. Indeed, every human has a largely predetermined capacity to store energy in an efficient and safe manner. Evolution has developed a variety of mechanisms to allow organisms to adapt to variations in food availability. People particularly capable to survive under severe energy restriction may be more prone to the adverse effects of a sedentary life style especially when food is readily available. In other words, efficient energy use may save us in hunger but puts us in danger in food excess. 

  • We need to understand how each person responds to variations in energy availability
  • Each one of us has individual nutritional needs in response to our individual energy expenditures
  • It is important to accept our biological characteristics and state of balance and adapt our nutritional behavior to our needs
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Biological stress that exceeds a certain threshold drives adaptive responses. However, the ability to adapt is not unlimited and depends on the stress not exceeding safe limits. Similarly, an appropriate amount of psychological stress will motivate us to act to the best of our ability. However, an excessive amount of stress that chronically persists despite taking action or because of failing to act, has substantial psychological and biological detrimental effects. Consequently, we need to built personal and societal defense mechanisms to protect us from chronic stress.

  • Chronic excessive psychological stress should be recognized as a severe threat to human health
  • We need to actively reduce chronic exposure to harmful stress
  • Personal and societal mechanisms are necessary to manage stress
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