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How Long Should You Fast for Autophagy?
27 Jan' 21

How Long Should You Fast for Autophagy?

 
What exactly is autophagy?
Autophagy is a natural cellular function that allows our cells to digest superfluous or damaged components within them. Autophagy is a cellular mechanism that aids in the cell's normal operation (homeostasis).. "Autophagy" literally translates to "self-eating." 

Though autophagy appears to be self-destruction, it actually helps cells clean out toxic debris and rejuvenates them. Autophagy can either fully destroy or recycle damaged molecules into new components that can be employed for cellular repair

Autophagy can provide an alternative source of energy from recycled cellular material to assist cells to survive when they are deprived of nutrition or oxygen. By clearing up poisons and pathogenic pathogens, autophagy can aid the immune system

 Autophagy can also cause programmed cell death under specific circumstances (apoptosis). In a nutshell, autophagy is a cellular process that maintains cell homeostasis by balancing the production and destruction of cellular components

  

What is autophagy and how does it work?
Autophagy is a metabolic process that assists cells in converting food into energy that they can use to grow and divide. Metabolism is a delicate balance of two opposing processes: anabolism and catabolism

  

Anabolism is the process of synthesizing chemicals and constructing cellular structures, whereas catabolism is the process of breaking them down. The catabolic process of autophagy is a catabolic process

  

A human cell consists of a nucleus surrounded by cytoplasm, which is semifluid and encased by a cellular membrane. The cytoplasm is made up of a solution called cytosol, protein molecules, and organelles, all of which are necessary for the cell's survival and function
  
A semicircular membrane known as phagophore forms and closes around part of the molecules and organelles in the cytoplasm during autophagy, transforming them into autophagosomes. The autophagosome joins the lysosome, a cellular organelle. Digestive enzymes in the lysosome break down the contents of the autophagosome. The resultant molecules are recycled and utilized in the metabolic process before being released back into the cytosol.

  

Autophagy is a normal cellular activity that occurs less frequently when the cell is well-fed and more frequently when the cell is stressed. Autophagy can engulf non-specific cell components or eliminate damaged components, as well as invasive bacteria and other pathogens, selectively.

  

What is autophagy and how does it affect fasting?  
Autophagy can be induced through intermittent fasting. Autophagy destroys damaged components in the cell under normal conditions when the cell has enough nutrition. When the cells are starved for energy, autophagy assists in the digestion of some of the cell components, allowing the cells to survive.

  

Excess glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen. The liver turns glycogen into glucose and releases it when glucose levels drop due to fasting. When the liver's stored glucose is depleted, it breaks down fat to produce ketones, which offer energy. Ketosis is the term for this process.
 
Many people utilize intermittent fasting and calorie restriction diets to lose weight. Ketosis and autophagy are thought to be induced by a common diet known as the ketogenic diet, in which fat accounts for 75 percent of daily calories. There aren't enough studies on the ketogenic diet's long-term consequences.

  

Autophagy can be triggered by intermittent fasting, calorie restriction, and ketosis, according to research. However, the vast majority of research so far has only been conducted on animals. It's also unclear which cell types trigger autophagy in response to fasting. Fasting, for example, can cause autophagy in any type of cell, not just fat cells.

  

For autophagy, how long do you have to fast?
Depending on the individual's metabolism, significant autophagy in humans may require two to four days of fasting. Autophagy is hypothesised to begin when glucose and insulin levels drop considerably. Animal studies have showed signs of autophagy after 24 hours of fasting, with a peak after 48 hours.

  

Autophagy has been reported in human cultured neutrophils after 24 hours (the most numerous type of immune cell in the blood). However, no definitive human studies have been conducted to determine the appropriate fasting period for achieving autophagy. However, do not try to induce autophagy by fasting without first discussing this method.

  

How can you boost autophagy?
According to research, autophagy may rise as a result of actions that stress the cells, such as:

  

Fasting for two to three days causes nutritional deficiency.
Autophagy is triggered by physical activity, which can cause cell damage.
The ketogenic diet, for example, deprives the body of carbs.
Autophagy is thought to be triggered by the following foods:
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Green tea
  • Coffee
  • Pomegranates
  • Peanuts
  • chocolate (dark)
  • Red wine
Is autophagy beneficial or harmful?
Current research does not provide a complete picture of autophagy's impacts or how to best activate it. Autophagy can be beneficial or harmful depending on the situation, according to research.

  

Here are some examples of how autophagy can be beneficial or harmful:
  • Cancer: Autophagy can assist tumor cells to survive under stress by removing damaged cell components, but it can also help tumor cells develop cancer in the first place. Only certain types of tumor cells that rely on autophagy for survival have been proven to die when autophagy is inhibited.
  • Autophagy has been discovered to be beneficial in some bacterial and viral illnesses while being detrimental in others. Certain pathogens are killed by autophagy, but some bacteria and viruses evade it in order to multiply and proliferate.
  • Autophagy may defend against neurodegenerative illnesses like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's by breaking down toxic proteins that build up in the brain. Autophagy, on the other hand, may make it easier for specific proteins to form inside the nerve cell, which can lead to degeneration
  • Autophagy is involved in cell death, however, research shows that different cells react differently. In some tumors, autophagy increases cell death when treated with chemotherapy, but it also helps the cell survive in others
  • Autophagy may one day be used to cure a variety of diseases, but more research is needed to fully comprehend the numerous aspects of autophagy and how it operates 

Read more What is dry fasting and does it really work?

The optimal strategies to activate autophagy, as well as its specific weight-loss benefits, are not well understood, and should not be done without first contacting your doctor. For patients with chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease, prolonged fasting, calorie restriction, and diets that restrict food groups may offer greater risk.

 

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