What is Autophagy?
Autophagy is an ancient mechanism whose main function is to preserve your life. During times of extreme stress, infection or starvation, this process kicks in to maximise repair while minimizing damage. It is a critical part of the human immune system’s ability to battle illness and reduce risk of cancer.
The term autophagy means “self-eating”, and refers to the processes by which your body scans for damaged and elderly cells and reabsorbs them, as well as cleaning out various debris, including toxins, then recycles damaged cell components.
This process happens naturally when we are young but as we get older the process slows down and especially when we are eating all the time, the body doesn’t get a chance to do it.
The body then uses brand new stem cells which can be used anywhere in the body to replace the old ones. Healthier cells work more efficiently, as they behave like younger cells, so it slows down the ageing process.
Autophagy has many benefits including helping your metabolism to work better, thus supporting a healthy body weight, reducing your risk of neurodegenerative diseases, regulating inflammation, improving muscle performance, improving your digestive health, improving your skin and helping the body to fight infectious diseases.
Ways to Boost Autophagy
To give the body the chance to repair the cells through autophagy, it needs a period of fasting. This is as old as mankind, but also been lost with the popularity of modern medicine. There are many benefits of Intermittent Fasting whether they are just a few hours or a few days. An easy way to fast is by skipping breakfast or dinner, so long as there’s a period of 16 hours without food, leaving a window of 8 hours to schedule your eating.
There’s no reason you have to fast every single day and Science shows that there is no need for women to fast longer than 16 hours.
Choose what works best for your lifestyle.
Another way to boost autophagy is through exercise. Exercise creates mild damage to your muscles and tissues that your body then repairs, and by doing so makes your body stronger.
The amount of exercise required to stimulate autophagy in humans is still unknown, however it is believed that intense exercise is more effective than mild exercise. Research has shown that the greatest benefit for longevity is between 150 and 450 minutes of moderate exercise per week, spending at least 30% of your workout on high-intensity exercises which helps to further boost longevity.
3. Nutritional Ketogenesis
Switch to a High-fat-low-carb diet. To accomplish this you need to cut down on non-fibre carbs and increase the amount of healthy fat in your diet, along with a moderate amount of protein.
Eating large amounts of protein actually inhibits autophagy so it is best to limit your protein to about 40 to 70 grams per day, depending on your lean body mass and your age. Older people need more protein.
Many people consume harmful fats like processed vegetable oils, which will invariably make your health worse. Healthy fats come from seeds, nuts, real butter, olives, avocado and coconut oil.
So, the general rule is high-fat, medium-protein and low-carbs