You may have read articles about resilience recently. It’s a bit of a buzzword, particularly in the field of psychology, where it denotes the mental ability to cope with adversity and bounce back to a normal pre-crisis state. But resilience has a physical manifestation that is equally important. People who are physically resilient have bodies that are able to withstand the stressors that humans routinely experience, without the outward symptoms and ailments others might experience. You know these people. You might even be one of them. People who don’t get sick, who heal and recover quickly, who have strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, who look younger than their age. Ultimately, resilience has both mental and physical dimensions that can be cultivated.
One of the surprising findings in redox biology is that your body has what are known as ‘redox pools’ that are recycled between oxidized and reduced forms. You may have even heard of the most common ones—glutathione and NAD+. These redox pools are intimately linked to your resilience because they protect you from toxins and pathogens, detoxify free radicals, and keep your cells’ energy-producing mitochondria healthy and optimized. Keeping these redox pools healthy is part of an overall strategy of designed to keep you resilient and restore resilience when it has taken a hit.
Resilience is dynamic. You are more resilient at 10 am after a good night’s sleep than you are at 10 pm after a hard day of work. You are less resilient when sick, injured, inactive, over-training, stressed, sleep-deprived, or eating a crappy diet.
At an intuitive level, you know your resilience state. But how do you measure it objectively? This is where the biomarker Neutrophil Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR) comes in. Big Idea #4 in the Redox Health Proposition is that NLR tracks resilience. Having biomarkers for redox stress, inflammation, and resilience is a big deal.