Living a longer life requires more than feeding the body the right nutrients. The right amount matters, as much or more.
Scientists have found a simple way to explain the dynamics of human healthful nutrition. The Letter “U” serves adequately to simplify and generalize their findings. As a summary, the target point for optimum human health is somewhere about midway along the bottom of the letter “U”. On the left side of the letter “U” we have low dosages and low exposures or low frequency of occurrence for most substances and activities. On the right side larger dosages, longer exposures, and higher frequencies of occurrence. Also, the arms of the letter U would be adjusted based on potency.
For example the human body needs about 15% of its caloric intake to be in form of protein. Some researchers recommend that to be closer to 10% or even 5%. You’ll have to study the various papers and arrive at your own best judgement and then discuss your selection with your own doctor. If people consume too much or too little protein they may develop health issues.
Take another example. Ingesting a poison. In that case the optimal dosage will be zero so there’d be no arms on the U whatsoever. Instead, you’d have a flat line since you can consume zero and there is no low dosage, no higher dosage and certainly no optimal dosage for any poison.
Exposure to radiation. Small dosages, infrequently, and for a brief time when you are exposed may not hurt you in the short term. But it may trigger slow-acting diseases that manifest after 4 or 5 decades?
One last example for U. Too little sleep will cause the body to slide away from optimal health and mess up one’s short and long-term memory. Too much sleep will deprive the body of muscular activity which it needs to help keep the skeletal structure in sound condition.
Scientists are discovering, and have been over the past decade or so, that taking vitamin and mineral supplements are positioning people too far to the right side of the “U” curve unless someone has been diagnosed, by their medical doctor, to be deficient in that vitamin or mineral.
The “U” curve is a visual representation of the adage, “Some is good, too little or too much is harmful.”
As humans striving for a long, healthy, happy life with a healthy body, you just might benefit by targeting, with the help of your own doctor, the optimal point on your U curve. Let this image of the U curve spring to mind each time you make a choice relating to your health and nutrition. Especially when it comes to food and supplements, you really must know where “Optimal” is on your own U curve.