Daily Intermittent Fasting Benefits | Fasting and Autophagy
What Is Autophagy and Intermittent Fasting?
We are first going to define what autophagy is, and then we’ll dive into exactly what is the purpose of intermittent fasting as it relates to autophagy. We’ll then learn how to induce autophagy, and then we’ll look at what some daily intermittent fasting benefits are and how to do intermittent fasting effectively.
What Is Autophagy and When and Where Does Autophagy Occur?
You can break down the word “autophagy” into two parts: the Greek words “auto”, meaning “self”, and the word “phagy”, meaning “eating”. Autophagy is the body’s process of repairing itself by your cells “eating” the old, damaged and dysfunctional parts of themselves so they can be renewed.
This recent article I wrote on How to Have Healthy Skin Naturally | 10 Foods for Healthy Skin explains how to have healthy skin naturally, by way of autophagy and intermittent fasting, as well as mentioning some other benefits.
When and where does autophagy occur in the body? Autophagy happens in the cells of our organs, and is always happening, but it is significantly intensified after 12-16 hours without eating. This is because liver glycogen is then depleted, and your body can begin to burn fat for fuel. There is also a protein called IGF-1 that needs to be depleted (and is, after about 12 hours of fasting) for autophagy to really kick in.
Autophagy may kick into high gear later than the 12-16 hours if your dietary habits are bad, and you eat a lot of carbs, particularly.
Autophagy for Alzheimer’s
An article from PubMed based on studies states that, “Autophagy is a key homeostatic mechanism whose physiological importance is reflected by its preservation throughout the eukaryotic phylogenetic tree, from yeast to mammals. In recent years, autophagy has been recognized as a crucial defense mechanism against malignancy, infection and neurodegenerative diseases.”1–5
The suppression of autophagy in brain cells has been shown to cause neurodegenerative disease in mice. Yes, autophagy can be key in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, and likely other forms of dementia.
Here is a more technical and in-depth look at autophagy.
When Does Autophagy Peak and How to Induce Autophagy
Autophagy peaks after the 16-hour point of fasting. Depending on your diet prior to the fast and how physically active you are, the peak could be closer to the 24-hour point or even further along, depending on who you ask. However, a 16-hour fast 5 days a week can prove significantly beneficial for weight loss and overall health.
If you are wondering how to induce autophagy beyond a regiment of intermittent fasting, try some intense physical exercise for an hour or so to trigger autophagy in the brain.
Autophagy of the mitochondria is shown to be triggered by curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric).
How to Enhance Autophagy
If you are wondering how to enhance autophagy, drinking coffee is known to help, due to its polyphenol content. Green tea has also been shown to enhance autophagy, but good luck finding green tea that doesn’t have 10 times the fluoride content of unfiltered tap water.
Melatonin enhances autophagy while you sleep. It is secreted shortly after sundown, and begins to enhance autophagy shortly after you drift off. This is good news, because if you are hungry while you are sleeping, you likely won’t notice it!
Taking resveratrol and berberine can also be very effective methods of how to enhance autophagy, as well as being amazing supplements for good health.
A keto diet will also enhance autophagy, by its depleting your body of carbohydrates / glycogen, so that your body alters its metabolic process to begin transforming fat into ketones, and then burning those as fuel.
7 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting and How to Do It
The health benefits of intermittent fasting are as follows:
- Weight loss. We’ll go into this shortly.
- Slowed and healthy aging.
- Reduced oxidative damage / inflammation that causes type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, cancer, heart disease, fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (proven only in mice, thus far), and more.
- Improved metabolism.
- Lowered Insulin levels. Blood levels of insulin drop, facilitating the burning of fat (1Trusted Source).
- Lowered blood pressure.
- Extended lifespan.
As for how to do intermittent fasting, if you do all of your daily eating within an 8-hour period, you will see benefits. But since people are different, you might want to learn what kind of fasting program might be best for you. There are a few factors to consider determining what will be most effective for you and whatever issues you want to target. Here is a website that lays out a few different internet fasting plans. It lays out what foods to avoid eating during each schedule, as well as good foods to eat prior and after your fast.
First of all let me say that if you are doing all of your eating within an 8 or ten hour span, and are eating high-calorie junk, your intermittent fasting efforts will not only be in vain, but likely you will even gain more weight.
Let’s now move into how to lose weight with fasting. Or, dare I say, how to lose weight fast, fasting!
- Don’t fast for longer than 24 hours at once if you are taking medication to lower your blood sugar levels.
- Start off easy and work your way up to at least a 12:8 schedule, and go from there.
- Eat enough protein during your eating time to not lose muscle mass.
- Add resistance training to your weekly exercise routine.
- During your eating window, don’t overeat or under eat. Just eat well!
- Drink enough water.
- Be consistent! Do not break your fast once you have started. Even cheating very slightly could prove counterproductive.
If you want a more detailed and in-depth guide for how to lose weight by intermittent fasting, here is a great one.
Should You Take a Break from Intermittent Fasting, and If So, When?
If you weren’t aware of the benefits to skin health from daily intermittent fasting and autophagy, the article I wrote prior to this one is specifically about the skin benefits of intermittent fasting. Do check it out! It contains a list of healthy foods to eat every day and why, as well as listing foods that are bad for the skin, free radicals and the skin, and other ways to have healthy skin naturally. And of course, it goes into detail about the skin benefits of intermittent fasting and autophagy.
This previous article also touches on some facts about the sun and our skin, which are quite interesting.
That’s a Wrap
To summarize: We have learned what is the purpose of intermittent fasting, adding a list of 7 daily intermittent fasting benefits, as well as having touched on how to do intermittent fasting.
We have also answered the questions, “What is autophagy and when and where does autophagy occur?”, and “When does autophagy peak?”.
We have learned how to induce autophagy, how to enhance autophagy (in addition to intermittent fasting), how to lose weight with fasting, and some specific benefits of autophagy and intermittent fasting for various other things.
So, you can see why intermittent fasting has become so popular in recent years. I have been doing it for about a month, and I feel great!
I look pretty good too, if I do say so myself!
Please leave any questions, comments or suggestions below. I always read and respond!