Enough is Enough
Minimum effective dosage defines the least amount of something to achieve the intended outcome. In pharmacology, this is particularly important because the amount will determine whether a substance will be a remedy or a poison. For example, most of us know that water has life-sustaining effects. However, there is such a thing called water poisoning – that is, we drink too much water which leads to toxicity.
In the use of pharmaceutical products, like opioids, particular care must be taken not to overprescribe because of their addictive qualities. Even with our best efforts, there is still a reliance on opioids for daily functioning, so much so, that North America now considers their opioid problem an epidemic.
Minimum effective dosage is also important in other aspects of our life. Sleep, is usually heralded as a good thing. However, oversleeping (individual to all of us) leaves us lethargic. In fact, there is evidence to show that above or below a range of 6.5-7.5 hours a night is associated with higher risk of mortality.
The same must be said for exercise/training. Unless you’re a professional athlete, there’s a balance that needs to be struck between how much and how little you should be doing to achieve your health goal. For example, if you’re a busy person that has time constraints – it would be a prudent strategy to discern how little you can do to retain maximum benefit.
Furthermore, we have to appreciate the human body’s recovery process too. As we know, positive adaptation only occurs when we are able to recover from the stimulus presented to us. For beginners, doing ‘a lot’ is largely ineffective because progress can be made by ‘doing very little.’ Beginners also have an inability to recover from high amounts of training because their bodies have not developed the recovery adaptations necessary to recuperate. So, our ability to recover from stimulus improves as we become fitter, stronger version of ourselves. Therefore the fitter we become, the more we have to do in order to keep making progress.
Minimum effective dosage would therefore increase, the stronger we become.
Minimum effective dosage would conversely decrease, the weaker we become.
Let us now apply a macro view on the health industry as a whole. The overall message is ‘do more’ and ‘work harder’, but this should only be relevant to some. The truth is, some people already do so much in their lives that they barely have the time to sleep and cook properly. For these people, perhaps the message should be to find balance. Let’s find the minimum amount that you should be doing in order to get you healthier.
So much of the current marketing around fitness is that of more. Run faster. Lift heavier. Push harder. By keeping minimum effective dosage in mind, we remember that enough really is enough.