Autophagy is the natural, regulated mechanism of the cell that removes unnecessary or dysfunctional components. It allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components. Autophagy is an adaptive response to stress, promoting survival of the cell, but as we age this process becomes less efficient. Now the cells get clogged with dysfunctional parts and debris, slowing down cell processes and further weakening the cells. This process makes the cells fragile and more likely to fail completely.
Until recently we have considered this to be a normal part of aging process. It has been discovered is that we have the power to activate autophagy. As if that news wasn't good enough, the better news is that we don't have to go see a Doctor or go to the pharmacy to pick some drug.
There are several ways to induce autophagy. One of the most effective and most studied also happens to be the least expensive. It is fasting. Fasting up regulates the cells capacity to clean up, get rid of or recycle any dysfunctional intracellular parts.
There are multiple techniques or ways to reach a fasted state and up-regulate autophagy. My hope is to clear some of this up for you and inspire you to improve your health and longevity.
I am going to start with the popular term intermittent fasting (IF). This term is being used for periods of not eating for a certain amount of hours on a daily basis. As an example having your last meal of the day at 6 pm and not eating until the next day at 10 am is referred to as IF. This is NOT IF. This is time restricted eating. It helps and does have its place, but it is not fasting. If you have never fasted this is a good place to start. Start with doing this 8-16 type of fasting a couple of times a week, adding in more days each week.
Then there is a prolonged 5-Day fasting mimicking diet (FMD). Several studies are ongoing and have been performed on this at the University of Southern California Longevity Institute. The results have been nothing short of astonishing. This 5 day period involves eating only plant based foods for 5 days. Calories are not to exceed 1200 on day one. Days 2 - 5 calories can not exceed 800 each day. Depending on starting point and goals, it is recommended to be performed every 4 weeks for three months. For healthy individuals twice a year is recommended. I have personally performed this and recommended it to patients, clients, friends and family. I have posted other articles on my results, which have been amazing!
Water only fasting. This is the big one. I am planning to do this myself along with another Health Coach next week. We will compare notes and I will let you know how it goes. The name says it all on this one. We are planning on doing it for 3 days. I have read several other blogs, books and heard podcasts where they are going 5 to 7 days. I'm thinking baby steps on this one.
There a couple of things to watch out for. These don't always happen but its good to know if they do happen that your are not the only one. Some people experience headaches, this depends on how addicted to caffeine you are. Or if you even stop it. Next could be either constipation or diarrhea. The other common one is trouble sleeping. The good news all of these improve as soon as you are done. I have some tips on mitigating these.
I plan on keeping you updated next week. You can subscribe to this page and follow along. I also have a facebook group page for those who have done this with me as a group. Find me on Facebook at LiveHealthstrong Genomicguru let me know if you would like to join the group by either commenting below or on Facebook.
Remember to Live Healthstrong.