What is Autophagy or Intermittent Fasting?
Throughout the history of mankind and the evolution, fasting has been a reliable and efficient way of maintaining health and also used for healing purposes and there are health benefits of autophagy or fasting. This holds true for virtually every region of the earth and also all parts of the world. The formal roots of this healing tradition are supposed to lie in the sub cellular cleansing process named as autophagy. This is being unraveled by science just now. There are a lot of autophagy benefits for both body and brain. Autophagy is considered to be one of the most conserved pathways found to exist evolutionarily, and it can also be seen in most of the multi-cellular organisms and even in many single-celled organisms. Autophagy generally refers to the natural body’s response to a lack of food (commonly called fasting) which stimulates a better degradation pathway of the sub-cellular components inside the body. Thus, Ayurveda treatment has fasting as one of its core methods to make the healing.
Mechanism of Autophagy and Fasting
By digesting and degrading its own parts, the cells in the body does two things. First, it gets rid of the unnecessary proteins that might have been damaged or malfunctioning, by itself. Secondly, it helps in recycling the amino acid into new and healthy cellular components. This is treated as one of the big misconceptions of the protein turnover mechanism. It is assumed that these new broken down proteins will be just flushed out of the body, even though they are completely malnourished. This leads to the myth that Fasting will burn muscle. And, so people either start to eat too much to avoid dying of exhaustion or them fast to burn the muscles.
But the reality is that our bodies are very intelligent in handling the newly created proteins. Once the old proteins are degraded into their respective component amino acids, the body will decide whether to flush these proteins out into the kidneys in the form of waste products or to retain them to make new proteins. It is well known that Proteins are made up of lots of smaller building blocks known as amino acids. It looks like a Lego block. So, it is possible to break down the old and unhealthy weirdly shaped Lego block to build a newer and fresher one using the same blocks. This can be made to happen in our bodies too We can break down the unhealthy old proteins into smaller component amino acids or smaller molecules and then use them to rebuild active and newer functional proteins.
Intermittent fasting also termed as Autophagy, the practice of abstaining from food for some period of time provides many health benefits. In general, it can help to prevent heart disease, speeding up the fat loss, and also aids in slow or decrease the body from ageing fast. Other benefits include:
● Lower Insulin leads to greater Fat Loss
A number of physiological mechanisms are involved in this process. Autophagy reduces the inflammation and the oxidative stress inside of the body, leading to increasing the numbers and the quality of the mitochondria. And this is the overall benefit of the cellular self-cleaning process. Thus, autophagy and diabetes disease prevention go hand in hand. All the benefits of autophagy start to happen because of the lower levels of insulin and in controlled levels.
The Insulin helps in promoting energy storage and also the growth of the organism. But, when the insulin levels are increased, fat gets stored as fat cells, and then the other cells start to take up glucose and other nutrients from the blood. So, when the insulin is increased, the lipids cannot leave the fat cells and making the body worse.
● Autophagy an emerging Anti-ageing mechanism
It can be observed that many of the anti-aging effects that happen by calorie restriction and the intermittent fasting happen because of the increase in the autophagy process.
A high rate of autophagy is one of the main characteristics of young organisms. With time and ageing, the autophagy mechanism decreases which results in cellular damage to accumulate. Thus, by fasting intermittently, the autophagy rates can be made to reset to that of a healthier younger person. Ageing is just the accumulation of cell damages. When we age, we can no longer be able to recycle the damage as quickly. Thus, the constituent of the cell turnover decreases. Thus, when ageing autophagy is followed, its health benefits are enormous.
● Autophagy promotes Heart health
Heart disease is currently considered to be the world’s biggest killer. It can be seen that the various health markers are linked with either decreased or an increased risk of heart disease. A regular practice of Intermittent fasting has proven to decrease the growth of numerous other risk factors like LDL cholesterol, including blood pressure, blood triglycerides, blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers.
● Intermittent Fasting helps prevent Cancer
Cancer a terrible disease is caused by the uncontrolled growth of cells. Research and latest test results show that Fasting has several beneficial effects on the bodily metabolism which leads to reduced risk of cancer and other related diseases.
Much of the studies are based on the evidence obtained from animal studies and thus can work for humans as well in most of the cases. Thus, it indicates that the intermittent fasting activity may help prevent cancer. Another evidence based on research done on human cancer patients shows that the fasting reduced various other side effects of chemotherapy. Ayurveda doctors in Bangalore has shown the same results to a lot of patients and highly recommend the same.
● Intermittent Fasting is Good for your Brain
One of the main benefits of fasting autophagy is that it is good for the body and is thus good for the brain as well. The Intermittent fasting done regularly improves metabolic features which are considered to be important for our brain health ans overcoming brain fog. This also includes reduced levels of oxidative stress, reduced cell inflammation and also a reduction in blood sugar levels. Recent studies in rats have proven that intermittent fasting helps to increase the growth of new nerve cells, that improves the brain functionality.
● Intermittent Fasting Helps to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is considered to be the world’s most widely found neurodegenerative disease which has no cure available yet. Thus, preventing it from happening in the first place is very critical. A recent study shows that intermittent fasting helps to delay the cause and onset of Alzheimer’s disease and also significantly reduce its severity.
Though, fasting can be done in the comfort of our home. It is best advised to consult with a doctor to know about our body and the correct practice of fasting to get optimal benefits of autophagy.