What Happens When We Fast? (Part 3)

In other articles, we talked about hormones, gluconeogenesis, and ketosis. This article will be all about autophagy. You can read other articles by clicking this.

You probably didn’t hear autophagy before. It’s actually the most underrated benefit of fasting. 

It is directly related to longevity, anti-aging, and overall health. Also, It may play a role in the prevention of serious diseases.

Let me explain to you what it is first.

What is autophagy?

Autophagy is simply a rejuvenation process that occurs within our cells.

When autophagy is activated, our cells start to recycle their old components like old organelles, excess proteins, etc. and use them to create energy.

So, it makes our cells more efficient. It’s like modifying your old Chevrolet. After the modification, your Chevrolet will be a monster. The same thing will happen for your cells, so to speak.

What is the relationship between autophagy and fasting?

Well, scientists discovered that fasting induces autophagy. You probably know that. And that is a huge thing for the medical world. 

Anyway, I don’t want to bore you. 

I mentioned mTOR in the first part of this article series. If you didn’t read it, I highly recommend you read all parts.

What is mTOR?

First of all, mTOR stands for the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin. It is basically an anabolic switch. 

And it is activated via insulin. And insulin is elevated whenever we eat. That means, we have an mTOR spike whenever we eat.

It is important for us to build muscle. But we don’t want it to be elevated all the time. Because it doesn’t grow only muscles, also fat tissue and even tumor cells.

And most importantly, it inhibits autophagy. So, if we want autophagy, we need to shut down mTOR. 

And how can we shut it down?

By not eating, which means fasting.

But you might ask, “If mTOR is necessary to build muscle, how can we avoid muscle loss during fasting?”

Don’t worry, a study has shown that autophagy is actually necessary to maintain muscle mass during fasting.  

Anyway, don’t worry about muscle loss during fasting. Even if you don’t work out. Your body is programmed to maintain lean body mass during fasting.

Why Autophagy is so important?

Well, my friend, it can potentially prevent serious diseases like cancers, Alzheimer’s, etc.

How can it prevent these diseases?

Let’s talk about cancer for instance.

Some cancer cells use the same growth pathway that triggered via mTOR and insulin. We need both for growing but we don’t want them to be elevated all the time because of that.

It can stimulate tumor cell growth as well as other tissues.

Think about a person who has cancer. If autophagy is activated within his body, what would you think his body is going to do? 

First of all, mTOR is deactivated. That means cancer cells cannot grow.

Secondly, their cells will start to recycle which means they eat useless components basically. And what is more useless than cancer cells?

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t cure cancer. But it can be a part of treatment.

For example, this study shows that fasting improves the quality of life and fatigue during chemotherapy in patients with gynecological cancer. 

It may enhance the benefit of chemotherapy and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.

I don’t want to bore you anymore but it prevents Alzheimer’s as well. 

There are many more different factors in Alzheimer’s. 

Simply, in Alzheimer’s disease, there are excess proteins in a person’s brain. And these proteins prevent neurons from communicating with each other.

Remember what I said before, the autophagy process allows our body to get rid of these excess proteins. Which is exactly what we want.

Don’t take this as medical advice but if you have family history about cancer, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, etc.

Consider giving fasting a shot. 

But if you have any medical issues, make sure to talk with your doctor first before giving it a shot.

I’m only a medical intern who’s trying to help people. 

So, thank you for reading this so far, you are great!

By the way, if you are interested in fasting, I wrote an e-book about Intermittent fasting(aka Time-restricted eating).

And if you subscribe to my newsletter, I’ll give you 3 chapters of it for FREE. 

You can click here to get your chapters.

Thank you! 

Until next time

Take care…


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