Autophagy. Our Body’s Natural Recycling Program

by Dr. Fareen

Our body has a beautiful and innate ability to heal and regenerate. As long as we give our body the right environment, it is self-maintaining. Autophagy is our body’s innate recycling program. It is the body’s ability to recycle cellular components that are damaged or malfunctioning. This in turn helps protect against cancer, dementia and other aging related degenerative processes. Over time our cells accumulate dead organelles, damaged proteins and oxidized particles that stagnate the body’s optimal functioning. This accelerates aging. Our bodies have developed this maintenance as a way to protect against the aging process.

Our bodies are constantly trying to maintain homeostasis or balanced cellular function. Disease develops when we lose homeostasis. By sensing the metabolic by-products that cause cell damage (ie: reactive oxygen species) there is a protein p62 which activates to induce autophagy. P62 proteins remove damaged cells that have accumulated in our body so that we are better equipped to handle biological stress. This is one of many factors that contributes to keeping us young and healthy. 

Suggestions to trigger autophagy and slow the aging process, reduce inflammation and boost your body’s natural ability to regenerate:

  • Fasting — 24 hour water fast four times per year with the changes of the season
  • Regular cardiovascular exercise–increases autophagy related markers of gene activity
  • Tumeric — curcumin is a phytonutrient in turmeric that induces specific type of autophagy in mitochondria (power house of our cells)
  • Get restorative sleep

Posted by Dr. Fareen

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