A state of the organism called “autophagy”, a body’s way of cleaning damaged cells, is hosted in today’s article.
However, how many people know about autophagy and its benefits to the body?
How can we direct our body safely to the process of autophagy?
This article gives all the answers on this phenomenon and showing how this process could be integrated into our daily habits for gaining many benefits.
Autophagy – What it is
Autophagy is a mechanism used by the body to “cleanse” its cellular dirt, so eliminating old or problematic cells and enhancing the birth of new healthy cells.
Autophagy may be characterized as as an anti-aging mechanism caring for the health and proper functioning of the entire human body (every organ, every cellular tissue), at the same time.
It is an organized process (not accidental or uncontrollable) where the body “recycles” its cellular components for the purpose of renewal & rejuvenation.
The word “autophagy” sounds scary, however, it is a beneficial condition activated under certain conditions.
Autophagy Mechanism – How it is activated
To activate the mechanism of autophagy, the body must undergo a small “deprivation” of nutrients, or in short, it should be hungry.
Certainly, we do not mean a condition of extreme hunger, but about a controlled deprivation of food (a fast), to activate the body’s self-preservation mechanisms which eventually lead to the triggering of the autophagy mechanism.
So how autophagy is activated in the body?
What actually happens in the body at that moment to start the “cleansing” of cellular waste?
How we encourage this process?
First, when the body goes through a period of lack of food (fasting), a gradual decline of the hormone insulin starts. Along with the lower insulin, however, there is a gradual increase in another hormone, the glucagon.
Increasing glucagon hormone – as scientific studies confirm – stimulates the body in an amazing process, described as autophagy (a self-eating process to save energy during the fasting period).
As soon as the body enters the “starvation” phase, automatically begins to reduce insulin production and increase glycogen production.
Therefore, the increase in glycogen ultimately activates the body’s “internal cleansing” mechanism, while the body starts “scanning” every part to locate any old / damaged / problematic cellular material present.
Once detected, is removed and used as energy fuel.
So, the process of autophagy has clearly an anti-aging effect. Why we insist on the characterization “clearly”?
For the simple reason that autophagy starts another unique mechanism in the body by activating the production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
The idea that cells “eat” themselves may sound negative, but this is the most beneficial thing you can do for your body, having nothing to do with “cannibalism”.
It’s an internal renewal, including the recycling of all old “structural materials” of the body with new & healthier materials.
We could state autophagy as a form of body’s “self-healing” process. The organism driven to self-eating is forced into a control and cleansing.
In this way, it prevents organic dysfunctions or even serious diseases (such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, various neurological diseases, diabetes and many other serious diseases).
Is this Mechanism Dangerous?
No. It’s a controlled internal process of the body, reacting to the lack of food for a certain period of time.
The function of autophagy relies on the natural need of human body to consume protein on a daily basis. Around 300 grams of protein are necessary for the normal functioning of the body daily.
However, did you know that only 50-70 grams of them come from the diet?
What is the rest and how comes about?
The balance of protein needed is covered by “cellular waste”.
To make it more understandable, the organism consumes all the old proteins being damaged and problematic.
The body detects any problematic cellular material and traps it in membranes creating small vesicles. These vesicles – also known as “suicide bags” – are then forwarded to lysosomes where they empty their contents, that is, a form of “garbage dump”.
Autophagy Mechanism – How is stopped
Autophagy is activated by the entry of the organism in a state of starvation (zero calorie consumption and not a simple reduction) and is deactivated respectively very simply by consuming any food.
As the consumption of any food (regardless of caloric value) triggers an increase in insulin production and a decrease in glucagon, the process of “self-cleansing” of the body already in progress with the increase in glycogen due to lack of food automatically discontinues.
Even the infinitesimal amount of calories stops the process of autophagy and “resets the counter again”.
What “Controlled Starvation” means?
As already mentioned, autophagy results from a lack of food. Therefore, to activate this mechanism the process of “controlled starvation” is required.
It would be useful, nevertheless, to state how we can achieve it without compromising our health.
In order to have the body in a condition of autophagy, the person should abstain of all edibles.
No food, no soft drinks, no calorie intake.
Only water, tea & coffee (no sweeteners & no additives).
It is good to know how many hours of starvation it takes to activate the mechanism of autophagy.
The purpose is not to create problems in the functioning of the body, but to strengthen its natural mechanism for “cleansing”.
After all, man in nature had not always access to food. In this way, the body was forced to self-maintain itself through natural mechanisms such as that of cell autophagy.
A period of 16 hours starvation is required to have the body entering the autophagy phase. Time begins to count from the end of last meal.
The first 3 hours is the time the body needs to complete the meal metabolism and digestion.
Insulin levels rise due to food and glycogen levels are declining.
The same goes for blood glucose levels, reaching lower values due to a meal.
As soon as the digestive process is over, insulin falls gradually, while glucagon increases.
Following 9 hours after the last meal, the body has stabilized its insulin to a minimum and enters a state of “rest”.
This doesn’t mean its energy needs are running out. Every organ, cell tissue and cell require energy.
At this point, the glycogen, now at its maximum value, enters the process.
This is the “food” and “fuel” for the body at this stage.
As soon as 11 hours have passed since the last meal, glycogen stores have run out, forcing the body to start searching for a new source of energy.
In this phase, the fat burning begins. The body begins to burn body fat to produce energy. (This is also the reason why the Intermittent Fasting Diet is also used for effective weight loss).
At this stage the body begins the intensive production of 6 very important hormones:
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
- IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Groth Factor)
- Triiodothyronine (T3 Hormone)
At 12 hours after the last meal, the body goes through the ketosis phase (also known from the very popular diet: Keto Diet).
With the process of ketosis – a natural organism’s metabolic process – the liver is filled with fat (released by the body from its fat stores) and converts it into ketones.
What are the Ketones?
Ketones – during fasting – will serve as the food for many parts of your body. Due to lack of food, the body does not find carbohydrates to burn, so burns fat converted into ketones.
When you manage to reach 12 to 14 hours after the last meal, your body begins to eat itself.
That’s why experts are proposing a controlled fasting program (that is, a small amount of fasting) to trigger this mechanism.
With the program of 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of balanced diet you can obtain great benefits from the mechanism of autophagy, without upsetting your body with long starvation or submitting it in danger.
This intermittent fasting program ensures 2 – 4 hours of cell cleansing with the autophagy method. A cell renewal, an anti-aging treatment, for ensuring the body’s better and more efficient operation.