Autophagy is the natural, regulated mechanism of the cell that removes unnecessary or dysfunctional components. It allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components. Three forms of autophagy are commonly described: macroautophagy, microautophagy, and chaperone-mediated autophagy.
It’s also referred to as “self-devouring.” While that may sound like something you never want to happen to your body, it’s actually beneficial to your overall health.
This is because autophagy is an evolutionary self-preservation mechanism through which the body can remove the dysfunctional cells and recycle parts of them toward cellular repair and cleaning.
It is recycling and cleaning at the same time, just like hitting a reset button to your body. Plus, it promotes survival and adaptation as a response to various stressors and toxins accumulated in our cells.
The main benefits of autophagy seem to come in the form of anti-aging principles. II’s best known as the body’s way of turning the clock back and creating younger cells.
The benefits of autophagy include:
- removing toxic proteins from the cells that are attributed to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
- recycling residual proteins
- providing energy and building blocks for cells that could still benefit from repair
- on a larger scale, it prompts regeneration and healthy cells.
- Calorie restriction/Autophagy has been shown as an anti aging tool from Harvard Researcher Dr. David Sinclair.
Autophagy is receiving a lot of attention for the role it may play in preventing or treating cancer, too.
“Autophagy declines as we age, so this means cells that no longer work or may do harm are allowed to multiply, which is the MO of cancer cells.
Fasting is [the] most effective wayTrusted Source to trigger autophagy,.
“Ketosis, a diet high in fat and low in carbs brings the same benefits of fasting without fasting, like a shortcut to induce the same beneficial metabolic changes,” she adds. “By not overwhelming the body with an external load, it gives the body a break to focus on its own health and repair.”
In the keto diet, you get about 75 percent of your daily calories from fat, and 5 to 10 percent of
your calories from carbs.
This shift in calorie sources causes your body to shift its metabolic pathways. It will begin to use fat for fuel instead of the glucose that’s derived from carbohydrates.
In response to this restriction, your body will begin to start producing ketone bodies that have many protective effects. Khorana says studies suggest that ketosis can also cause starvation-induced autophagy, which has neuroprotective functions.
“Low glucose levels occur in both diets and are linked to low insulin and high glucagon levels,” explains Petre. And glucagon level is the one that initiates autophagy.
When the body is low on sugar through fasting or ketosis, it brings the positive stress that wakes up the survival repairing mode.
One non-diet area that may also play a role in inducing autophagy is exercise.