Chemicals that can both help and harm


A weird way to put it, though; every drug that can help can also harm in larger quantities. I guess maybe there could be some you would drown in first. But generally the dose makes the poison, as Paracelsus said some five hundred years ago.


And warfarin’s precursor is useful in dye lasers.

I was kind of expecting nitroglycerin to make the list, but I guess that falls into a different category of harm.


just one of millions of chemicals that can both seriously fuck you up and save your life.


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I was referring to the article I linked to. I’ll go back and clarify that a bit.

Therapeutic index might be a useful term to throw in here. Yes, the dose makes the poison. But for some compounds that window is tighter and the onset of negative side effects is much more dramatic.


The rat poison example for help and harm actually has an interesting side. Dogs and cats and other pets will throw the stuff up if they eat some… but rats are incapable of vomiting, so it kills them. And hopefully only makes your dog sick for a little bit.

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That one blew me away :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


While those four are extreme examples, as others have pointed out there are many things that have beneficial properties at low doses and detrimental effects at higher doses. Fat soluble vitamins come to mind.


Hormesis Defined

My husband is now on Coumadin for the rest of his life, thanks to a genetic issue that resulted in a section of his aorta being replaced, as well as his mitral valve. Science, for the win!

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Thanks to a pacemaker, I’m now a cyborg and on blood thinners for life myself, although I’m on Pradaxa now, not warfarin. The side effects with warfarin were really getting to me. It would take a 90 degree day for me to feel comfortable, anything less would make me feel cold, and bundling up with layers and warm coats didn’t help much, I felt like I was freezing. Ohio winters felt warmer, and I live in north Florida. Now I don’t get tested monthly, I don’t bleed as much, and I’m comfortable at 69 degrees again.

Indeed, science for the win!

  1. Coumadin compounds are also used in expensive designer fragrance shower gels, as a kind of “vanilla like” aroma.

Of course, you wash all the coumadin off, so there’s NO CHANCE you will have a blood-thinner effect.

  1. There are a vast number of drugs that interact with blood-thinners, so it’s a common rookie mistake to kill a patient on blood thinners. IE. Science for the LOSE.
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Abridged That For You

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“Of course too much is bad for you! That’s what “too much” means!”

just like water…one of those crazy “chemicals” that you can either make into delicious beer, or drown in. people have to stop using the word “chemical” only when they mean something harmful, or made in a lab. everything is chemicals.


Can the original headline be restored AND be reused for every similar article? Same goes for the lede, but just have it be “X is found in Y, but it is also a key ingredient used in/to help/prevent/allow Z. Just a great example of how chemicals can both seriously fuck you up and save your life.”

I loved all of the original. :smile:

There will be less click-throughs if you aren’t able to say that chemical XYZ will do ABC to your JKL.

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