Recycle Your Cells

Autophagy: Eat Yourself

The term auto-phagy comes from the Greek meaning self-devouring.

Autophagy, or self digestion, is the process by which cells recycle non-functional proteins to repurpose them. Unwanted cellular parts are isolated within a membrane, which then fuses with an acidic lysosome, thereby liberating subunit building blocks. From Biophagy.com

Autophagy, or self digestion, is the process by which cells recycle non-functional proteins to repurpose them. Unwanted cellular parts are isolated within a membrane, which then fuses with an acidic lysosome, thereby liberating subunit building blocks. From Biophagy.com

Nooo my friend, I don't mean noshing on your fingers or toes. 

I mean recycling your cells.

Autophagy is the recycling program for your cells. 

Your cells are like used cars. At some point, old cells are stripped for their parts and recycled to form new parts.

Or, at least they should be...

Activating autophagy is the key to feeling great and looking young.

Autophagy: A Strategy for Survival

Autophagy is a survival mechanism, conserved across species from yeast to humans.

Stress activates autophagy.

Cellular stress--like lack of nutrients, lack of oxygen, high temperatures and overcrowding--activates autophagy, a pathway to survive extreme conditions (Levine & Klionsky).

What about the opposite?

Lack of stress inhibits autophagy (Bergamini et. al.).

High caloric intake resulting in an insulin surge blocks breakdown of ineffective cellular parts.

But why?

With a constant influx of caloric resources, the body prioritizes building new parts over recycling old ones. 

Why bother converting old parts into new parts when new parts flow in all. day. long?

Without a necessity to recycle, these parts are forgotten about. 

They get older and older and older.

The result?

Aging.

This makes you feel old and look old.

Autophagy promotes longevity.

[Autophagy, which] permits the cell to eliminate unwanted or unnecessary organelles and to recycle the components for re-use, is under a permissive control by cell nutrition. The tight coupling between nutrition and cell repair may be the Achilles’ heel of well fed people living in affluent western societies, who are prone to accelerated ageing and age-associates diseases.
— Bergamini et. al.

Autophagy: The Key to Longevity

In the setting of limited resources, the body must identify which cellular parts are functioning sub-optimally. These under-performing parts are degraded and recycled to produce new building materials.

So, how can you eliminate underperforming cells?

Caloric restriction is the only nutritional intervention which consistently extends life expectancy of animals (Bergamini et. al.)

Intermittent fasting is designed to induce autophagy.

Eat Less, Live Longer.

Autophagy plays a key role in preventing many diseases, ranging from cancer to dementia:

From Biophagy.com

From Biophagy.com


Resources

Bergamini E, et. al. "The role of macroautophagy in the ageing process, anti-ageing intervention and age-associated diseases" The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology" Volume 36, Issue 12, December 2004, 2392–2404.

Biophagy. "What is Autophagy?" <http://www.biophagy.com/autophagy/>

Filfan, Madalina et. al. "Autophagy in aging and disease" Rom J Morphol Embryol 2017, 58(1):27–31

Levine B, Klionsky DJ (April 2004). "Development by self-digestion: molecular mechanisms and biological functions of autophagy"Dev. Cell6 (4): 463–77.

Marie Curie Initial Training Network in Infection Biology. <http://www.inbionet.eu/outreach-news/autophagy_-the-cleaning-character-of-our-body/n>

Nexelcom. "Image Cytometry Method for Autophagy Activity Detection in Living Cells" <http://www.nexcelom.com/Applications/fluorescent-assays-4-image-cytometry-method-for-autophagy.php>