Two Doses, Not One


Wonder why there are two doses of the COVID vaccine, separated by a few weeks? One shot in the arm would make it a lot easier, right?

It’s Hans Selye’s fault.

What happens if you give a mouse a toxic dose of a drug? That was the question posed by Hungarian endocrinologist Dr. Hans Selye in 1950, who discovered that laboratory animals exposed to various stressors, like drugs, cold, or surgery, and individuals with various chronic illnesses, like tuberculosis and cancer, display a common set of symptoms and pattern of responses. From his observation of the stress response pattern, Selye developed the General Adaptation Syndrome, which represents the chronologic development of the response to stressors when their actions are prolonged.

For the first time in the history of science, Selye was able to elucidate the process of adaptation. That’s big-time Science with a capital S. Selye discovered that giving a rodent a small dose (one-quarter) of an alarming/toxic stressor (e.g., drugs, cold, exercise) prior to a full, alarming dose of the same stressor protected the rodent from the alarming/toxic dose.

And that’s why there are two doses of the COVID vaccine.

It’s also one of the secrets to becoming a better runner. Introducing a small dose of a specific type of workout is beneficial for adaptation before introducing a larger dose. The first time you do a new workout in a new phase of training, do just a small amount of that workout before doing more.

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