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By pushing ourselves too hard do we cause irreparable harm?

A common cause of irreparable cell damage seems to be being pushed too far. When a cell is pushed a little beyond its limits, it grows stronger when allowed to recover. Yet, push them really far beyond their limits, and there seems to be a threshold above which many cells sustain damage they can’t fix.

This was implied in my previous article on training your skin against cancer. Chronic back problems also come from weak back muscles being made to support the upper body’s weight. This leads to scar tissue formation.

I thought of an explanation. Essentially, it’s about protecting the cell’s DNA. As the cell blueprint, DNA represents its only record of how to fix itself. If this is damaged, the cell has no hope of repair.

Each cell has ways to protect its DNA from damage, but these cost the cell energy, so the strength of the defences has to be balanced against the perceived need for them.  Essentially, the body is always adjusting to fit the current requirements at a cellular level.

So, when a cell is pushed a little beyond its limits, the chance of irreparable damage to the cell’s DNA is limited. Yet when it’s pushed far beyond its limits, damage to the DNA is almost inevitable.

If the activity itself doesn’t cause damage, like the act of sun light hitting cell DNA, then the cell contents may be affected such that they cause damage, like the indirect DNA damage mentioned in my article on Melanoma.

The lack of protection for the cell DNA leaves the cell vulnerable to viruses and other organisms that may take over the cell by injecting their DNA into the cell DNA. At best, the cell doesn’t work as well.

At worst, the cell becomes an aggressive cancer. As usual, this is my theory. I’ll see if it bears out. It implies that pushing our cells too far is dangerous and that building up our tolerance to things is always important. I have a feeling that this can also explain the development of allergies in some way.

It seems natural to think that the ageing process may be accelerated by the kind of DNA damage I’ve just discussed. So, training the cells of our body to protect their DNA could, in fact, slow down the ageing process—at least, that’s the theory.

We’ll see.

Pushing ourselves too far. Do we do irreparable harm? first appeared on my original blog.

Further references

Structural and functional features of central nervous system lymphatic vessels  The central nervous system has a lymphatic drainage system linking the CNS with the immune system. Explain how poor functioning of the immune system or these lymphatic vessels will, therefore, cause problems.

cycling to extremes: Are endurance athletes hurting their hearts by repeatedly pushing beyond what is normal? a common tale among once incredibly fit athletes is early heart problems in later life, possibly from the way they treated their bodies when they were young.

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