Autophagy- The Dietary Trend That Devours All Other Diets

Damir Regoc

Intermittent Fasting Your Way To Health

Unlike many fashionable diets, intermittent fasting seems to produce some actual benefits. This is true, that is, if the dieters stick to the program, which usually means limiting eating to an eight-hour window throughout each day. 

Autophagy is a truly essential biological method that plays a key role in the regular functioning and survival of your brain cells. The word autophagy comes from the Greek words “auto” and “phagein”. Auto translates to “self”, and phagein translates to “devouring”. So autophagy basically means “self-devouring”, or “to eat oneself”.  This may sound scary and something that you would want to avoid at all costs, right? But, actually, it’s something you’d want to embrace and incorporate into your dieting plans. 

Autophagy is a self-cleaning mechanism within our cells, which helps our brain detoxify, repair, and regenerate itself. It destroys the old, damaged, and malfunctioning components of our cells – and rebuilds new and healthier ones instead. By inducing autophagy, we are clearing out worn-out and defective cellular parts within our brain cells. Our brain cells need to last us a lifetime, so autophagy is our body’s amazing way of naturally rejuvenating them and protecting them from disease. 

Autophagy Has Some Serious Rep. Does It Live Up To It?

The claims about autophagy may seem outlandish: people swear by it, call it “the anti-aging miracle”, and claim it strengthens our immune system and can help us lose weight.

These are some of the promises of autophagy, the silver bullet wellness influencers are saying is backed by Nobel-winning science.

Autophagy allows your body to break down and reuse old cell parts so your cells can work more efficiently. It’s a natural cleaning-out process that starts when your cells are stressed or denied nutrients. Researchers are studying autophagy’s role in potentially preventing and fighting disease.

In many cases, influencers communicate to their followers that the best way to stimulate autophagy – the body’s way of recycling molecules – is with a product available from their online store.

While autophagy sounds almost too good to be true, the scientific reality may meet the hype – at least in laboratory mice and some other organisms.

Autophagy Supports The Central Nervous System

Research shows that autophagy sustains the central nervous system, enhances brain function, and reduces neurological cellular breakdown. And studies indicate that autophagy is a built-in protection mechanism that detoxifies and cleans the central nervous system. The autophagy process becomes slightly less efficient as we grow older.

Over time, our brain cells collect a variety of busted organelles, abnormal and pathogenic proteins, and oxidized particles. This clogs up the brain, revs cognitive aging, and even contributes to the development of dementia.  But autophagy doesn’t just drop in the bodies of older individuals.  Even younger individuals with depression and schizophrenia have been demonstrated to have deficiencies in autophagy pathways.

How Can Autophagy Help Us Feel Better

Researchers have discovered a link between autophagy dysfunction and many neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental, and neuropsychiatric disorders, including: 

  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Mood disorders 
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression 
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Behavioral change

Some More Science Behind It

There are a couple of ways to do intermittent fasting that doesn’t necessarily involve caloric restriction or taking any special supplements. In fact, combining autophagy fasting with the ketogenic diet can guide the procedure smoothly.

Juice cleanses and detox teas are nothing compared to intermittent fasting. One of the ways your body detoxes itself is through a natural process called autophagy. This is how your body cleans up cellular junk and helps maintain your system humming.

Autophagy-related proteins (ATGs) are what make autophagy feasible. ATGs cause structures called autophagosomes to form. Autophagosomes take the junk cell pieces to a part of the cell called a lysosome. A lysosome’s assignment is to digest other cell parts.

Picture lysosomes — part of a cell — eating other parts of the cell.

Lysosomes eat the junk cell parts and then discharge the reusable bits and pieces. The cells use these raw materials to create new parts.

The function begins with the cell labeling undesirable or impaired organelles for disposal.

These marked organelles are then enclosed by a special membrane, locking them inside like in a garbage bag. This is what then becomes what scientists like to call an autophagosome.

The autophagosome then shifts closer to another organelle called a lysosome, a small acidic bag filled with powerful enzymes. When these two fuses together, their contents mix. The enzymes break down the junk into recycled nutrients your cells can now reuse.

Breaking The Fast

Autophagy is the ultimate detox.

Autophagy will surely continue to earn awareness as researchers run more analyses on the effect it has on human health. Nutritional and health experts point to the fact that there’s still much we need to learn about autophagy and how to best promote it.

If you’re interested in attempting to promote autophagy in your body, we suggest starting by adding fasting and routine exercise into your daily habits.

Nonetheless, you need to talk to your doctor if you’re on any medications or have a chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes.

At the end, when you’re ready to break your fast, can we recommend you do it with a warm cup of bone broth?

Beauty & the Broth

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