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Understanding Autophagy, Intermittent Fasting, and Supplementation | by Kunal | Jan, 2024

Autophagy, derived from the Greek term ‘self-eating,’ encompasses a range of processes through which cells digest and recycle their dysfunctional organelles, proteins, and other components. This recycling of damaged cellular components contributes to the formation of new cellular structures or serves as a source of energy.

The importance of autophagy lies in its crucial role in maintaining cellular health by preventing the accumulation of damaged proteins, thereby lowering the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. Additionally, this cellular recycling process enhances immune function, empowering cells to effectively combat bacteria and viruses, providing a valuable boost to the immune system.

Autophagy also plays a vital role in various organs, contributing to overall health. In the brain, it clears harmful proteins associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, while in the heart, it protects against damage, maintaining cardiovascular strength. The liver benefits from autophagy as it aids in detoxification and optimal functioning. In muscles, autophagy supports strength through repair and regeneration, and for the immune system, it helps combat infections and inflammation.

Moreover, autophagy stimulation has been shown to decelerate ageing. It serves as an important regulatory mechanism, and compromised or dysfunctional autophagy can lead to the accumulation of damaged proteins and organelles, causing premature ageing. Substantial evidence suggests that stimulating autophagy increases healthspan and lifespan in model organisms. Boosting autophagy through practices such as intermittent fasting, which triggers cellular renewal, regular exercise promoting overall cellular health, and adopting a keto diet, which lowers insulin, activates autophagy, and inhibits the mTOR gene. Additionally, oral supplementation of spermidine to mice induces autophagy in multiple organs and extends longevity by up to 25%, accompanied by reduced cardiac ageing. Spermidine emerges as a promising candidate for the prevention of significant age-related pathologies, emphasising its potential in health and wellness strategies.

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