What Is Autophagy? Revealed, A Process That Can Make You Lose Weight And Live Longer
A little-known scientific process is being heralded as the new way to lose weight, look younger, and prolong life.
Autophagy is a process of natural regeneration that occurs at the cellular level in the body, reducing the likelihood of the onset of some diseases, in addition to increasing longevity.
In 2016, Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his findings on the mechanisms of autophagy. These mechanisms led to a better understanding of diseases such as Parkinson’s and dementia.
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Since then, pharmaceutical companies and scholars have been racing to find drugs that will stimulate the process, and diet and wellness experts have tapped the wave, claiming that the process can be naturally induced by fasting, high intensity exercise, and restricting carbohydrate consumption .
So what do the scientists say?
“Certainly the evidence from experiments on mice suggests that this would be the case,” said David Rubinsztein, a professor of molecular neurogenetics at the University of Cambridge and the UK Dementia Research Institute.
“There are studies in which the process has been activated using genetic tools, drugs or fasting, and in these cases the animals tend to live longer and be in better general shape.”
The teacher said that it is not yet clear, however, how this is translated for humans.
“For example, in mice, you see the effects of fasting on the brain in 24 hours, and in some areas of your body, such as the liver, much faster. Even knowing that fasting is beneficial, we do not know exactly how much humans would need to fast to see the benefits, “Rubinsztein said.
He added that fasting stimulates autophagy and that its benefits have also been proven by other studies.
What is autophagy?
- The word autophagy comes from the Greek and means “to eat itself”
- It is the process by which cells degrade and recycle their components
- It provides fuel for energy and essential components for cell renewal
- After an infection, autophagy can destroy bacteria and viruses
- The cells use autophagy to get rid of damaged proteins and organelles, to counteract the negative effects of aging on the body. The organelles are structures within the cells that produce the vital characteristics associated with each of these.
Autophagy was first discovered in the 1960s, but its fundamental importance was only recognized after Yoshinori Ohsumi’s research in the 1990s.
“What we found out is that it protects against diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and certain forms of dementia,” Rubinsztein said.
“It also appears to be beneficial in controlling infections as well as in protecting against excessive inflammation.”
New lifestyle books are saying that the process can be “activated” by changes in our diet and lifestyle, such as fasting – already popular among many followers of the Diet 5: 2 or Fasting Diet.
A new book, Glow 15 by Naomi Whittel – claiming to be a “wellness explorer” – establishes a 15-day program that includes 16 hours of fasting three times a week, reduced protein intake in a few days, carbohydrates at the end of the day and periods of high intensity exercise.
In basic testing of the volunteer program at the University of Jacksonville in Florida, she says she found several benefits.
“Some people have lost weight, up to 3 pounds in 15 days. Others have noticed changes in blood pressure and improvements in lean muscle mass,” she says.
Rubinsztein states that none of these lifestyle recommendations will do any harm to a person.
“And if you have a bad lifestyle, if you’re always” nipping “between the main meals and eating poor food, then you would not have the opportunity to activate it,” he says.
Of course, overeating is not a good idea and anyone who wants to make major changes to their diet or lifestyle should first consult a doctor.
Rubinsztein is optimistic about the future benefits of autophagy for the treatment of diseases.
His laboratory discovered that proteins form in clusters in the nerve cells of people with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
“We found that if you activate autophagy, it removes these proteins quickly and protects against neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s and forms of dementia.”
He hopes that one day there may be medicines available to intensify autophagy. A hope, apparently, shared by many people.
It was recently announced that a new company in the United States, Casma Therapeutics, received $ 58.5 million to research new drugs to intensify autophagy.