Autophagy: Everything You Need to Know

Autophagy is the cleaning function of the body, a cellular activity aimed at removing toxins, repairing damage, and prolonging life. It is related to intermittent fasting. Autophagy is critical for your skin, weight, and longevity, as well as other crucial organs and variables in optimal health. 

It’s actually fairly simple. Every day, there are various strategies to activate autophagy, including antioxidants, macronutrient ratios from a keto diet or low-carb lifestyle, and changing the time you eat breakfast. 

By reading this article, you’re going to find out more about and understand the autophagy practice, how it may help you, and how to try it yourself.

What Is Autophagy?

The word “autophagy” comes from the Greek word “autophagos,” which means “self-eating.” The process includes removing and replacing diseased cell pieces or cells, resulting in cleaner, more efficient ones. Autophagy can also be understood as the body’s biological cleanup crew, in charge of clearing out waste and toxic accumulation, which is a normal result of cellular regeneration and repair.

What Is the Process of Autophagy?

The autophagy process itself helps keep typical functioning in the cell, also popular as homeostasis. 

It literally supports cleaning up any harmful components inside the body cells and helps rejuvenate those cells. Autophagy is powerful enough to destroy injured molecules completely or transform them into absolutely new components that the body can use for further cellular repair.

During stressful times, when body cells run down oxygen and nutrients, autophagy may deliver an additional alternative energy source from the transformed cellular material we mentioned before to assist them in surviving. Autophagy can clean all infectious agents and toxins, and with that, it can help the immune system.

If necessary, the process is able to induce apoptosis or programmed cell death. It means that it is a key part of a cellular process that supports cell homeostasis by finding a true balance between breaking and making cellular components.

Autophagy and Fasting

Autophagy can be triggered by fasting. When someone fasts, they intentionally go without eating for a certain length of time – hours, days, or even weeks. Traditional calorie restriction is not the same as fasting. When a person restricts their calorie intake, they reduce their typical meal consumption.

When Does Autophagy Start With Fasting?

When glucose and insulin levels decrease significantly, autophagy is thought to commence. This process has been identified in human neutrophils after only 24 hours of fasting.

There are four phases of fasting, including the easily fed state, early fasting state, fasting state, and long-term fasting state (also known as a starvation state). Each varies according to the major source of energy used for the body and how it actually affects the whole metabolism as well as levels of some hormones. That’s why it is extremely important to track the fasting process. 

The best way to choose the ideal fasting method that perfectly fits your lifestyle is to try the trendy fasting app. It is a modern 3-in-1 solution for weight loss that will also help you learn how to prepare completely healthy meals and implement simple workouts that match your fasting method.

How to Induce Autophagy?

There are a few things you may do to support autophagy’s natural process and help it get started. 

1. Ketogenic diet

To control glucose, the keto diet follows a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Rather than relying on sugar for energy, it relies on fat as its primary fuel source. When the body is deprived of glucose from food, it attempts to produce its own via glucogenesis before resorting to stored fat to maintain key metabolic activities. 

When it burns stored fat, it produces ketones on its own. Ketones have been found to have neuroprotective qualities when in ketosis. The body promotes autophagy as a strategy to maintain energy homeostasis as it transitions from being glucose-dependent to becoming fat-adapted and utilizing ketones. Ketosis can help with weight loss, possibly reduce epileptic seizures, and have a therapeutic effect on conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and acne. 

2. Intermittent fasting

Knowing that autophagy is strictly regulated by nutrient deficiency, one of the easiest ways to try it is by practicing intermittent fasting. It provides the same health benefits of autophagy as a lengthier fast, but it’s easier to implement into your daily routine. The 16:8 fasting method is when you do not eat for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours in a 24-hour cycle.

3. Moderate exercise

Exercise, like fasting, causes a good sort of stress on the body. As it works to mend micro-tears and injured muscle tissue, it has been found to activate autophagy. 

On the other hand, exercise has consequences that go beyond muscle tissue restoration. According to studies, autophagy is initiated by exercise in the brain as well as other organs taking in metabolic regulation, including muscle, adipose tissue, pancreas, and liver.
Learn more about the process of autophagy and the benefits of it, and the autophagy and fasting relationship.


What Is the Diet Plan for Autophagy?

Autophagy is boosted by elderberries, pomegranate, some mushrooms (reishi and Chaga), garlic, ginseng, ginger, turmeric, green tea, coffee, and Ceylon cinnamon.

If you feel ready to start with autophagy, follow the simple diet meal plan for one week:

Day 1

Morning: Veggie and egg muffins with tomatoes

Afternoon: Chicken salad with olives, feta cheese, olive oil, and a side salad

Early evening: Salmon with asparagus 

Day 2

Morning: Omelet with spinach, tomato, and basil

Afternoon: Spinach, almond milk, peanut butter, and sliced strawberries

Early evening: Cheese-shell tacos with garlic, ginseng, and ginger

Day 3

Morning: Chia pudding topped with elderberries and coconut

Afternoon: Avocado shrimp salad with turmeric

Early evening: Salad and pork chops with broccoli and Parmesan cheese

Day 4

Morning: Omelet with onion, peppers, salsa, avocado, and spices

Afternoon: A few nuts and a few celery sticks with salsa

Early evening: Chicken stuffed with cream cheese and pesto, and some grilled zucchini

Day 5

Morning: Sugar-free yogurt with berries, cocoa powder, and peanut butter

Afternoon: Beef and lettuce wrap tacos

Early evening: Mixed veggies and loaded cauliflower

Day 6

Morning: Cream cheese pancakes combined with blueberries 

Afternoon: Zucchini salad

Early evening: Whitefish and toasted pine nuts

Day 7

Morning: Fried mushrooms with eggs 

Afternoon: Broccoli and low-carb sesame chicken

Early evening: Spaghetti Bolognese

Note: Rotate the vegetables, fruits, and spices as they all provide different health benefits.

Is Autophagy Good or Bad?

Despite its numerous benefits, autophagy isn’t necessarily a good thing. Excessive autophagy has been linked to various heart abnormalities in studies, and scientists have linked it to cell death in the heart.

What Are the Benefits of Autophagy?

Autophagy is crucial to many biological functions like cell differentiation, development, and defense against pathogens and has emerged as a possible modulator of disease progression. So the health benefits of autophagy are numerous:

  • Promotes a healthy aging process
  • Activates antiviral and antibacterial processes 
  • Defends against mental illness
  • Aids in energy increase
  • Aids in the fight against cancer
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Promotes the health of the brain
  • Fights inflammation
  • Enhances muscle performance
  • Provides defense against neurodegenerative disorders
  • Increases metabolism
  • Enhances the appearance of smoother, healthier skin
  • Promotes heart health
  • Defends against age-related disorders

Key Takeaway

A healthy cardiovascular function, skin health, the ability to better fight infection and inflammation, and the potential to promote longevity are all benefits of an active autophagy process – a cell’s internal housekeeping function. 

Following a ketogenic diet, moderate exercise on a regular basis, drinking green tea, and supplementing with berberine and bergamot are all good ways to support autophagy.