Autophagy and Fasting

Last Christmas my wife bought the DVD movie The Science of Fasting for me which I found very fascinating especially on its potential effect on cancer cells.   In the movie, biogerontologist Professor Valter Longo with the University of Southern California asked the question what happens to healthy cells and to cancer cells during a water fast.  He discovered that healthy cells adapt positively to no food but cancer cells experience apoptosis. They die!

In researching the effects of water fasting I discovered that fasting can trigger a process called autophagy. (au-toph’-a-gy) Autophagy literally means ‘self-eating’. This is the body’s fascinating system of cleaning house. Think of it as a recycling program within your own body! The body rids itself of old, damaged and diseased cells and stops metabolic dysfunction like diabetes, obesity and even cancer. The aging process slows down and magically new cells are regenerated. Experts even say new stem cells are produced on water fasts.

If you are interested in reducing inflammation, losing weight, improving gut health, fighting cancer, chronic pain or to just improve general health consider doing a water fast (or intermittent fasting).  Consider starting with a 24 hour fast where you drink only water and consume no food. Most experts recommend working up to a 5 day fast which is where notable benefits are achieved such as cancer cell apoptosis.  The first 2 or 3 days are often the most challenging but many people say they feel really well with more energy by day 4. 15 day to 30 day water fasts are common. Keep in mind this is not starvation. Water fasts are easier to do if you are in ketosis prior to the start of the water fast.

If you have a serious health condition it is recommended to work with a qualified health practitioner.  If a water fast is too challenging consider learning about a bone broth fast or do what is called a Fasting Mimicking Diet made popular by the above mentioned Professor Valter Longo.   Please contact me at rickATgeorgetownmarket.com if you are interested in listening to a podcast with Professor Longo and Chris Wark. If you want to learn more about autophagy search on YouTube for “autophagy fasting”. Let me know if you have questions or comments!

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