Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy – How Fasting Cleans Your Cells

Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy feature

Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy – How Fasting Cleans Your Cells

Intermittent fasting is a useful and proven tool for fat loss, but it also has health benefits.

When intermittent fasting, your body has an opportunity to clean up dead cells and debris through a process called autophagy.

This process has been credited with everything from slowing aging to better heart health.

Intermittent Fasting Cleans Your Cells – Autophagy [Video]

Intermittent fasting is not just for weight loss. It also promotes a self-cleaning process in your body known as autophagy. In this video, I explain…

  • What autophagy is
  • Why it is important for everything from anti-aging to heart health
  • How you can use intermittent fasting to improve autophagy

What Does Autophagy Mean?

The term autophagy is the combination of two words ‘auto’ and ‘phagia’, which literally translated means ‘self-eating.’

Intermittent fasting and autophagy - words

“Self-Eating” is exactly what is happening with autophagy.

It is a process in which your cells eat themselves when they die of natural causes or sustain some type of damage.

Autophagy is also activated when your body needs the cell’s components to make something else, like energy.

Autophagy is Your Body’s Self-Cleaning System

You want autophagy to happen because if it doesn’t, then the dead cells and debris just sit there and essentially rot.

When this happens, the decaying cells give off harmful substances called inflammatory cytokines that spread the damage to more cells.

Think of it like a rotten apple causing the whole bushel of apples to go bad.

Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy - rotten apples

As you can imagine, as this cellular damage spreads, larger tissues and organs sustain damage. This causes aging to accelerate and biological processes to get “gummed up”.

At the end of the day, your body does not work as efficiently when cell debris is not cleaned up.

How Does The Autophagy Process Start?

Autophagy is temporarily shut down when you eat.

That’s because eating requires energy.

Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy - woman eating

Your body has to divert resources to digestion when you take in nutrients, so it doesn’t have time for cellular clean up.

A Simple Way Of Understanding Autophagy

The back-and-forth dance between digestion and autophagy is regulated by complex nutrient-sensing processes in your body.

However, to understand this in a simple way, it helps to think of your body like a restaurant.

When the restaurant is full of customers, the workers are busy.

Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy - restraunt busy

With their time occupied with serving customers, the workers have no time for clean-up.

Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy - restraunt worker

In fact, it’s not until after the restaurant closes that the workers have sufficient time to take care of the mess.

Of course, having that clean-up time is important because otherwise, there would be uneaten food rotting all over the place, and disease would spread.

Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy - woman cleaning

Well, it’s the same with your body.

How Are Intermittent Fasting and Autophagy Connected?

When you’re eating, your body is too busy to clean up, but when you’re intermittent fasting there is no food coming in.

At this point, autophagy gets turned on, and your cells get cleaned up.

So, if you are not practicing intermittent fasting, then reaping the benefits of autophagy is another reason to give it a try.

Where Can I Learn More About Intermittent Fasting?

I have a couple of blog posts on how to do intermittent fasting. One of my most popular posts is, Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50 – Is it Good or Bad?

There are a few different ways to do intermittent fasting.

Click here to learn about the easy method of intermittent fasting.

The easy method is simple to put into practice and means very little disruption to your normal routine.

About the Author

Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.

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