Benefits of Autophagy


Today, biohacker and longevity seekers are turning towards methods of inducing autophagy for anti-aging benefits by putting our cells under a certain amount of stress and sending them into survival mode.

With spring just around the corner many of us are fantasizing about those spring cleaning projects. Top on my list is to finally sweep out every last leaf that swept into my garage last fall!

But what if there was a way to perform a spring cleaning on ourselves? To be more specific, a cleaning of the cells that make up our body? Believe it or not, studies are now showing this to be possible. The term Autophagy “auto” meaning self and “phagy” meaning eat, literally means self-eating and it can be thought of as a cellular recycling system in order to improve health span and live longer.

Autophagy’s importance in medicine was recognized by biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi, PhD, which led him to winning the Nobel Prize in 2016. During autophagy our old and damaged cells are broken down and their components are then recycled into new healthy ones. The cells in our bodies tend to become stressed by a variety of ways such as via pathogens, toxic compounds, living an unhealthy lifestyle and even just through the natural effects of aging.

Autophagy’s purpose is to promote metabolic homeostasis and cell survival. Studies are showing that impairment to normal levels of autophagy are linked to almost all age-related degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and muscle loss. Just like so many other processes in our body, age plays a part in the decline of autophagy which contributes to the aging process. Today, biohacker and longevity seekers are turning towards methods of inducing autophagy for anti-aging benefits by putting our cells under a certain amount of stress and sending them into survival mode.

So, how do we induce autophagy and what are these so-called “stressed” conditions? Here are just a few ways:

Switching to a high fat, low carb diet (a keto diet)
This form of eating creates a shift in our body’s metabolic pathways, causing our body to begin to use fat for fuel and has been shown to have positive effects on disease states. In fact, Dr. Terry Wahls created The Wahls Protocol® with three different levels in order to promote metabolic resilience based on a high fat diet along with fasting strategies. According to board-certified cardiologist, Dr. Luiza Petre “ketosis, a diet high in fat and low in carbs brings the same benefits of fasting without fasting, like a shortcut to induce the same beneficial metabolic changes,” she adds, “by not overwhelming the body with an external load, it gives the body a break to focus on its own health and repair.”*

Intermittent Fasting
In a fasted state, our cells are deprived of nutrients forcing them to induce energy by other means such as through autophagy. There are many different ways to go about this. Alternate-day fasting means eating your normal diet on day one followed by a fast or a meal of less than 500 calories on day two. Another way is to restrict eating to a 6-8 hour window each day where perhaps your first meal begins at noon and final meal by 8pm. Still, for some people a 12 hour fast is the most comfortable.

ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet
This scientifically researched five-day plant based meal program promises support to the body’s natural process of cellular clean-up and metabolism reset by improving the bodies response to insulin. In precise quantities of micro and macro nutrients, the body is receiving nourishment that isn’t recognized as food, and therefore mimics the fasting state. This diet was created by Dr. Valter Longo, Ph.D, Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California and is the only clinically tested fasting mimicking diet that triggers autophagy in the body followed by a period of renewal.

Since autophagy is still being studied, there no doubt is much more that we still have to learn. In the meantime, consider trying one of the above methods and see how your body responds. It’s never too late to try and turn back the clock on your body’s aging at the cellular level. Remember to always consult a doctor before starting a new diet program.

*Healthline article Autophagy: What you Need to Know



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L.O.V.E for 2023

It’s already mid-January and I’ve just arrived home from back to back vacations.  I rang in the New Year in San Francisco with my extended family celebrating my father’s 80th birthday, then came back for two short days and whisked off for a relaxing vacation with my boyfriend down in sunny Florida.  I’m happy to be back home now sitting at my cozy computer doing what I love and connecting with others!