Autophagy and cancer have a complex relationship. We break it down in layman’s terms with links to relevant studies so you can make sense of it easily.
If you want to induce autophagy, tea is a great idea. But there’s a big problem with tea: you never know how much of its healthy EGCG you’re getting.
A recent study confirmed a link between autophagy and coffee. The mechanism is very similar to how resveratrol activates autophagy.
Autophagy and loose skin: what does the science say? Two groundbreaking studies show that autophagy could help combat loose skin and aging.
Whether you believe that saturated fat, cholesterol or carbohydrates are to blame for heart disease, how often you eat may be as important as what you eat.
Our metabolism is like a finely tuned, high-performance engine. Learn here how autophagy will keep it running smoothly into old age.
Learn how intermittent fasting and autophagy work together to recycle and reuse your cells’ worn out parts and waste products for energy and longer life.
Scientific Glossary on Autophagy
Below is a list of scientific concepts we believe those interested in optimizing their metabolic function should be familiar with.
Autophagy is a cellular process that removes damaged organelles or cellular constituents and provides energy under starvation conditions or repairs damage under stressed conditions. The autophagic process is of great interest because of its high association with various diseases, including cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases, myopathy, and cardiac disease. Aberrant regulation of autophagy has been observed in various diseases, and activation of autophagy is known to alleviate symptoms and perhaps even cure these diseases.
Caloric Restriction Mimetics
One of the physiological triggers of autophagy is nutrient depletion. It results in depletion of intra-cellular acetyl co-enzyme A (AcCoA) coupled with the deacetylation of cellular proteins. These effects can most likely be replicated by following three strategies:
- AcCoA depleting agents: decreasing intra-cellular levels of AcCoA by preventing its production in the first place
- Acetyltransferase inhibitors: inhibiting the enzymes that transfer acetyl groups from AcCoA to other molecules, mostly leucine residues in cellular protein. These enzymes are called acetyltransferases
- Deacetylase activators: increasing production of deacetylases, which facilitate the removal of acetyl groups from the above-mentioned leucine residues
There are several example of non-toxic, natural compounds for each of the classes above that produce the desired effect. It is highly likely that consuming these compounds will lead to experiencing many of the health benefits of caloric restriction by triggering the same molecular pathways. Some example compounds for each category:
- AcCoA depleting agents: hydroxycitrate
- Acetyltransferase inhibitors: curcumin, anacardic acid
- Deacetylase activators: nicotinamide, resveratrol, pterostilbene
The ketogenic diet has been gaining much popularity over the last several years. It consists of following a diet that is low in carbs (about 25 grams a day, or 5% of caloric intake), moderate in protein (up to 20% or 25% of caloric intake), and high in fat (from 70% to 75% of caloric intake). The diet was initially developed as treatment for patients suffering from drug-resistant epileptic seizures. It was later discovered that the diet has many benefits, the main one being the ability to seemingly reverse the effects of Type II diabetes. There are even military applications, relating to the ability of ketone bodies to prevent CNS (central nervous system) oxygen toxicity in deep sea divers.
While on the diet, the metabolism switches from using glucose as a source of energy to using fatty acids. The body produces ketone bodies – mainly acetoacetate and beta hydroxy butarate – as a source of energy. What little glucose is necessary for the body to function can be produced by the liver during a process called gluconeogenesis.
Some people mistake nutritional ketosis, a perfectly safe, normal and healthy state, with diabetic keto-acidosis, which occurs in diabetes sufferers and is very dangerous.
The practice of restricting your food intake to a relatively narrow window – typically between 8 and 10 hours in a 24 hour period – is called intermittent fasting. Doing this while keeping the same caloric intake has helped many people lose weight, often allowing them to break through a plateau they had previously been unable to get past. Another benefit from this practice is that it helps initiate the state of autophagy.