Fasting, dieting, and resisting fast food, all come with a cost. How would you feel when your body feels refreshed? You wouldn’t want that feeling to go away, right? Well, just like we clean our house, we need to clean our body.
Nobody wants pests lingering around the house and eat away the soft wood. That’s how bacteria and viruses affect our body when we don’t focus on the good food. Here’s an easy way to make you understand autophagy,
Your body cells accumulate the debris that is the leftover from the food we eat. These cells reuse the debris and use them in various bodily functions. What if we overload these cells? What if the cells don’t have time to recycle the previous debris and is introduced with new debris? That’s why autophagy is important.
What is autophagy?
Autophagy is the way of cleaning debris from the body through fasting and resisting junk food. The immune and digestive system cleans out all the jumbled up food from our body. That’s why we feel refreshed.
Technically, autophagy is a mechanism that degrades the damaged cells or unnecessary materials inside the body. Literally, autophagy means self-eating. It may sound like cells eating themselves away. But it is a general concept. Cells do not eat themselves; they eat away the debris or damaged cells surrounding them.
It is necessary to maintain the balance between death and birth of cells. There are two types of cell deaths, apoptosis and necrosis. The latter is the sudden cell death while the former is the programmed cell death. Autophagy is the mechanism that balances the death to birth ratio.
What is the process of autophagy?
The process of autophagy is a compression between the anabolism and catabolism. There is a metabolic part formed by autophagy that fuses cells and removes the unnecessary material by utilizing them for the metabolism process.
The human cell is surrounded by a semi fluid called cytoplasm. This fluid is enclosed in a cellular membrane that acts as the layer of protection around the cell. The cytoplasm contains cytosol, another fluid alongside some organelles. These are essential for cell’s survival and functioning.
Phagophore is formed during the process of autophagy and forms a layer around the organelles in the cytoplasm. This molecule is called autophagosome which fuses with lysosome. This organelle contains some digestive enzymes which break down the autophagosome. The debris is released into the cytosol and reused in the metabolic processes.
Autophagy occurs 24/7 inside our body, non-stop, stressed or relaxed.
Autophagy and Fasting
Intermittent fasting causes autophagy. That’s the relation between autophagy and fasting. When there are sufficient nutrients inside the body, autophagy causes death to the damaged cells. The components released are used in the metabolic process. When autophagy is caused by intense fasting, autophagy helps the cells to digest the components and undergoes processes that are necessary for survival.
There is a process called ketosis in which liver uses the stored glucose as glycogen. During fasting, the glucose levels drop. The liver uses the stored glucose to convert into glycogen and uphold the necessary amounts. The fat also breaks down into ketones that provide energy during the intense fasting.
The diet known as ketogenic can induce ketosis and autophagy. The diet controls the fats coming from the daily diet and converts the calories into fats, essential for survival. There have been studies that state intermittent fasting, calorie restriction and ketosis can cause autophagy inside the body.
How long do you need to fast for autophagy?
As soon as the insulin and glucose levels start to drop, autophagy begins. The process can take 24 to 48 hours depending on the metabolism of the individual. The doctors suggest to never overlook the body in rush of losing weight.
Autophagy can be induced through optimal diet plan and it cannot be rushed. Even a well-fed body can undergo autophagy but the intermittent fasting is the best way to induce autophagy without causing any harm.
How do you increase autophagy?
Autophagy can increase when stressed is caused to the cells. There are a number of ways to increase the stress for inducing autophagy and increasing the cleansing process of the body. Some of them include,
· Lack of nutrients
If your body has a lack of nutrients, the autophagy increases. The process fastens when there is a lack of energy and goes into energy mode by rapidly breaking down degraded cells. The components are then used for metabolic processes that can integrate the autophagy. Ideally, it can take twenty-four to forty-eight hours of no nutrients for integrating autophagy.
· Ketogenic diet
In the ketogenic diet, the body consumes almost 75% of calories as fats. The body is deprived of carbohydrates. It makes the body go into reserve mode and the liver starts to break down extra glucose into glycogen into ketones. The ketogenic diet is one of the fastest ways of increasing the autophagy.
· Physical exercise
During physical exercise, the body comes under stress. The process of autophagy is the fastest during this period. There is an increased amount of antioxidant capacity and improved autophagy.
There are some foods which increase the autophagy. Turmeric, ginger and garlic have antioxidants that increase the process of autophagy. Cinnamon, green tea, and coffee are anti-inflammatory foods alongside pomegranates, grapes, red wine and red grapes which also increases the process of autophagy.
Is autophagy good or bad?
Autophagy is just like cleaning our houses. We need to trash out the extra materials or recycle them for other purposes. The cells need to degrade the damaged cells, maintain the birth to death ratio and impersonate other cells.
The body needs to be cleansed out of the extra components released during degradation process. It is one of the many reason autophagy is important. Unlike other procedures, autophagy can also work under stress.
Here are some ailments in which autophagy is good,
Autophagy can kill the damaged cancer cells and stop them from uncontrollable growth. But there have been studies that show uncertainty towards tumor cells which can be protected by autophagy. It does not undergo stress that is prevented by autophagy. But the only certain types of tumors can be protected by autophagy.
· Infections & Neurodegenerative diseases
The bacteria and viruses are killed by autophagy since it is involved in the degradation period. In Parkinson’s and Alzheimer disease, the brain gets accumulated with damaged cells. Autophagy is helpful in this since it breaks down these cells and gets it working.
Stages of fasting by hour
The body undergoes a lot of changes during the stages of fasting by hour. The autophagy fasting timeline degrades damaged and harmful cells one by one. the autophagy fasting chart also maintains the integration levels.
Stage 01– high blood sugar
After four hours of having a meal, the liver starts storing the extra glucose. The body doesn’t feel any degradation in blood sugar level. Higher the carbs level in food, higher chances of feeling the appetite after four hours.
Stage 02– low blood sugar
After four hours and no food intake, the body starts to come back to the optimal amounts. the low blood sugar causes the liver to breakdown the stored glucose into glycogen and then into ketones. That is essential from rapid falling of the cell breakdown.
Stage 03– Blood sugar is normal
After twelve hours of no food intake, the blood sugar starts to normalize. Since there is no high carb level in the food, the body starts to feel refreshed and cell death to birth ratio is only normal.
Stage 04– Partial ketosis
There is partial ketosis where the body breakdowns high amount of glycogen into ketones and burns fats in place of sugars.
Stage 05– Ketosis and fat burning
Then the complete process of ketosis and fat burning takes place. Since the 75% amount of calories is taken in place of fats, the ketosis burns the extra fats. This process starts after eighteen to twenty hours of food intake.
Stage 06– Autophagy
After 24 hours, the process of autophagy starts. The body undergoes a lot of processes which includes glycolysis, ketosis, autophagy and metabolic processes.
Stage 07– Growth hormone rises
The intense eating then causes the rise in growth hormone and it degrades the body energy levels. The process takes place after 48 hours of hunger.
Stage 08– Insulin level normalization
The insulin level starts to normalize. The body starts to regenerate cells after 122 hours of hunger. After this, there will be no frequent hunger pangs hitting you at the middle of the night or requiring eating too much food. The body normalizes the insulin level, blood sugar and helps control appetite.
A Final Verdict
Autophagy and fasting have been in process for a very long time. During the stages of fasting by hour, the body starts undergoing autophagy after twenty four hours. Studies focused on autophagy claim that the process is highly essential for normal functioning of the body. It has also shown positive role in the treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.