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What is Autophagy?

Author  Ayomiposi Kingsley

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Kimmy Y

What is Autophagy?

Humanity has longed for the desire of eternal youth for centuries. Our body is able to renew itself or, more precisely, its own cells, in a completely natural way. This process is called autophagy or autophagocytosis and means from the Latin translated “auto” itself and from the Greek “phagein” to digest.

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for research into the mechanisms of this phenomenon. The Japanese Nobel Prize laureate, Yoshinori Ohsumi, used yeast cells to investigate what exactly happens in autophagy and what role they play in human health. In this way, the cell biologist was able to demonstrate the effect of cell renewal.

But how exactly does your own “cell rejuvenation” work?

Your organism does not waste resources. Building blocks that are damaged or defective, such as incorrectly folded proteins or individual components of your cells, are specifically broken down and reused. So you have an internal recycling system in your body.

Autophagy is a completely natural process for your cells and is responsible for “maintaining quality”. Imagine that within one of your cells, a certain component is no longer working properly. This cellular “garbage” is broken down and its chemical residue is reused. A small bag is formed around this cell waste within the cell and channeled into a double membrane. The resulting structure is called the autophagosome.

The autophagosome then connects to a lysosome. A lysosome is a vesicle within the cell that contains certain enzymes and is used to break down foreign substances or the body's own substances. These enzymes break down the cell waste. The recycled material is then used to produce urgently needed nutrients or other molecules for cell metabolism.

What does autophagy do?

In addition to quality control of your cell , autophagy has the task of making new molecules such as amino acids, fatty acids or carbohydrates available to your body. For example, a protein is broken down into its individual parts, the amino acids , and can be used as a building material for new proteins. Consequence: Your body renews and cleanses itself.

Your immune system also benefits. Thanks to this phenomenon, pathogens or foreign substances that have penetrated the cell can be rendered harmless. The self-healing of cells is an important topic, especially in the field of medicine. Research is carried out in this area in order to be able to counteract various diseases.

When does autophagy start?

Recycling processes take place continuously in your body. However, under normal circumstances there is little activity, but certain factors can increase it. Above all, stressful situations, such as severe cell damage, serve as autophagy triggers . This can activate autophagy or even lead to apoptosis, the programmed cell death. Among other things, this destroys potentially harmful cells 3.

The phenomenon also occurs more intensely when there is a lack of nutrients . The lack of amino acids in particular contributes to this effect. If there are enough amino acids in the organism, a certain protein complex, also known as the TOR complex, is activated and autophagy is inhibited 2. Among other things, the TOR complex sets muscle protein synthesis in motion.

But can we specifically activate autophagy in order to benefit from the renewal and self-cleaning of the cells? The spirits argue about this. This question is currently being investigated and actively researched in science. Here are factors that some studies have found to stimulate autophagy.

Autophagy fasting

You have probably heard of intermittent fasting before. If not, this is a temporary abstinence from food. There are different forms of this. The best known is the 16/8 method. You do without food for 16 hours and only eat food within the 8 hours. There is also the Warrior variant, which is a little more extreme, as well as other forms of fasting. With the Warrior Diet, you only eat in a time window of 4 hours and fasting for the remaining 20 hours.

My tip: Regardless of whether it is intermittent fasting or simply a balanced diet, it is always important to provide your body with enough vitamins and nutrients. If you find it difficult to eat enough fruits and vegetables every day, try our Daily Vitamins capsules! They can help you meet your needs. Also get this book ( [intermittent fasting formula](http://withkoji.com/@porsiekings) ) it will help you get started on intermittent fasting.

How are fasting and autophagy related?

If you skip eating for a long period of time, your insulin levels will remain consistently low. The body is signaled that it is not getting enough energy from outside and it begins to use up its own energy reserves .

In this way, the glucose stores in muscles and in the liver are depleted and the fat cells are also used. Then it is the turn of the damaged cell structures and this is where autophagy begins. By reducing these structures, new reserves are made available. Conversely: Frequent food intake inhibits these processes.

What happens when you fast for 16 hours?

Most people who have discovered intermittent fasting opt for the 16/8 method. It often fits best into everyday life and is easier to implement. Here, for example, breakfast is left out and the time window of 8 hours is easily adhered to. But is 16 hours enough to activate cell renewal?

The exact number of hours at which autophagy begins cannot be clearly answered. While some are of the opinion that the process starts after 12 to 16 hours without eating, others claim that the process is only fully completed after 72 hours.

One study links autophagy to the aging process. It is claimed that autophagy, because of its great physiological role in processes such as cell cleansing, could also slow down aging. Again, the importance of meals and their frequency is pointed out. Depending on how long you go without food, autophagy is stimulated or inhibited.


What is Autophagy?

Readersketch | Ed. Daramola Dolapo

© 2022 Ayomiposi Kingsley. All Rights Reserved.

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