Aging and Autophagy

When people think about aging, they think of your body and mind deteriorating based on time. THIS IS THE WRONG WAY TO LOOK AT IT.

Your cells also have ways of cleaning up after itself using a mechanism called autophagy. Autophagy can clean up intercellular viruses, damaged proteins, bacteria, and other things. Based on recent research, the typical negative symptoms of aging may be a result of reduced effectiveness of autophagy. Can you believe it? The mechanism for cleaning up our cells is likely to be causing aging related deterioration of our bodies (and minds).

Autophagy clears away damaged cells to use for energy (as opposed to apotosis which causes damaged cells to self destruct). Both of these processes help kill cancer cells.

One theory is that the benefits of intermittent fasting (as well as caloric restriction), caffeine, green tea, metaformin, exercise, and other natural and synthetic compounds benefits your system because of the effects of autophagy. There is much more evidence for a linkage between autophagy and longevity, so being smart, and increasing your autophagy effectiveness will be extremely beneficial for increasing your overall health and lifespan.

The idea about aging is that over time your body may not be able to heal and generate new cells as it used to. It’s not deteriorating and it’s the cellular regeneration that we want to maximize.

Intermittent fasting, or time restricted feeding, is a primary method for increasing your autophagy effectiveness. Humans used to be hunter gatherers, and fasting regularly is a natural condition for us. Now we have fast food and multiple regular meals a day. Feeding actually damages cells instead of repairing them. By forcing ourselves to fast intermittently, it helps to promote repairs on your body. If you have cancer cells in your body (which all middle age or older people do), autophagy (through some form of fasting) will help kill cancer cells, decreasing your changes for getting cancer, hence improving your chances for a longer life.

Green tea and caffeine do help increase the autophagy in your body through an mTOR (inhibits autophagy through an insulin pathway) dependent mechanism.

So here’s a thought. Look at what you’re eating and how often you eat. Time restricted feeding, and intermittent fasting may be a route to increased longevity.

As always, talk to your doctor before changing your diet or exercise regime.

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