modulation and domination

[Regarding this post, someone asked about CO2 and the immune system. Here is my reply.]

I don’t know what the mechanisms are, but, yeah, my impression from not-well-supported Buteyko practitioner claims is that low CO2 = overactive immune system. I think I read this in the context of eczema and autoimmune diseases. I don’t know if this is true, but it’s plausible to me because low CO2 = generalized autonomic arousal. I can imagine that an overstimulated sympathetic system = overactive, over-general immune response. But, I can also imagine the exact opposite and lots of mechanistic qualifiers. I just don’t know off the top of my head.

I do put a bit of weight on Buteyko practitioner and teacher claims.


I have a lot of thoughts about when and whether to act on particular claims.

One thing to keep in mind is the concept of “modulation versus domination.” What I mean by this is that, yes, doing X might help with Y. That is modulation. But, doing Z might fix Y completely. That is “domination.” Furthermore, X might only help temporarily until homeostasis rebalances Y right back to where you don’t want it.

When I’m exploring interventions, and lots of people of people are recommending things, I try to separate out what’s wrong, what will move the needle temporarily (modulation), and what will move the needle permanently (domination). In other words, what’s the move that I can pick that will completely take my body out of this regime, possibly fixing a bunch of other stuff at the same time?

That’s really general, so, for example, I prefer experimenting with macronutritents to micronutrients. I prefer experimenting with micronutrients to experimenting with random plant extracts. I prefer upstream metabolic supplements to downstream metabolic supplements (i.e. I give my body more opportunities to make it’s own decisions on how to utilize whatever I ingested). I prefer full-body movements to single-joint movements. I prefer HIIT to Buteyko.

The above are generalizations, though. Sometimes you need the latter of all those cases above to give your body the first initial nudge. Sometimes you need to sequence little interventions to prepare your body for the big interventions.

I had to fix all sorts of little stuff in my muscles and joints, and I had to change my diet for energy and healing rate, before I could safely sprint. And, I had to do some initial Buteyko breathing so that I didn’t just continue to over-breathe during sprinting.

Sometimes the actual fix you should make is very counterintuitive or “remote” from where you think you should intervene, based your current understanding.

Like, a magnesium deficiency makes one more stressed out and stress can exacerbate all sorts of immune stuff (via causal links I haven’t looked into at this time). Sometimes someone will exercise, meditate, do breathing exercises, go see a therapist, and it all seems to work a little bit, for a while–when maybe instead they can just take a magnesium supplement and maybe eat some more protein or something–and that just solves it, without all that other expensive and time-consuming stuff. Basics first.

In any case, I think about homeostasis, regression to the mean, hormesis, positive and negative feedback loops, upstream and downstream in metabolic pathways, metabolic regulatory cycles, biochemical mechanism chains… And what will actually move the needle, and what do I need to do to set things up so I can move the needle…


2 thoughts on “modulation and domination

  1. Great stuff, thanks. It seems we’re thinking along similar lines. Also, thank you very much in general for this here blog. Your combination of breadth and depth and thoroughness makes for a lot of fascinating content.

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