Surprising Benefits Of Autophagy, Coffee, and Fasting
Autophagy, coffee, fasting, and longevity are all interconnected. Coffee is a staple beverage in most of the world. For many, the day hasn’t really begun until they’ve had their first cup of coffee. Some people even feel like they don’t start functioning properly until that precious dose of caffeine has been delivered to their bloodstream. Others just enjoy the taste of it. And recently, we have started becoming aware of the fact that coffee even has beneficial properties as it relates to our health.
The relationship between autophagy, coffee, and longevity have been widely researched. Studies that have followed large numbers of people have shown that coffee consumption is inversely correlated with both total mortality and cause-specific mortality (i.e. the more coffee consumed the less people died). Both in men and women. A few examples of diseases that showed these improvements: cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, and infections. The benefits are even dose dependent (i.e. the more you drink the less likely you are to develop these diseases). Up to a point though: after 6 cups a day, no additional benefits were observed. For the decaffeinated aficionados, do not worry: caffeine content was not relevant to enjoying the benefits of autophagy. Coffee and caffeine content seem to not be correlated.
Given that the benefits seemed to affect everyone, and in a wide variety of diseases, a team of researchers decided to investigate whether coffee induces autophagy in mice, and published their results in this paper. Spoiler alert: it does.
Study Links Coffee and Health Benefits
To discover the link between autophagy, coffee, and longevity, coffee was administered in different concentrations in the mice’s water supply for 16 days: no coffee, 1% coffee, 3% coffee and 10% coffee. All of these in both caffeinated and decaffeinated variants. The first discovery: the body weight of all the mice stayed almost constant, except in one case: 10% caffeinated coffee. The researchers decided to use the largest does not associated with changes in body weight, 3%, in order to prevent caffeine-associated effects from excessively affecting the results.
The results were conclusive. Inspecting heart, liver and skeletal muscle, signs of increased autophagy were detected using multiple methods. An interesting detail is that heart and liver showed these signs 1 hour after coffee administration, and skeletal muscle around 4 hours. The mechanism by which coffee acts is similar to that of compounds known as caloric restriction mimetics, namely the deacetylation of cellular proteins (which is exactly how our Autophagy Stack works, which you can check out here). It is likely that in order to induce autophagy, coffee polyphenols work in a similar way to resveratrol, for example. There are also indications that coffee inhibits mTOR Complex 1, similarly to how rapamycin works. Finally, the data suggests that AMP Kinase, another energy sensor involved in autophagy, was not activated by long term coffee administration.
Now you can rest easy knowing that your morning coffee “addiction” promotes an important biological process, in addition to all the other benefits you get from drinking it. And if you practice intermittent fasting, both work synergistically where autophagy, coffee, and longevity are concerned.