For the last few years, I have been hearing a lot about fasting from friends, family and the media. I am sure you may have been as well. The words like intermittent fasting, time-restricted eating, etc. have been becoming common place terms.
Until recently, I have pretty much ignored this topic as simply yet another fad. As you can see from my blog post, I have not even mentioned this topic even once. There has been absolutely no mention of these terms in my posts, although I did mention that when to eat and how often to eat do play part in good health and longevity.
Well, over the last few months, I took a deep dive into fasting. I really got intrigued when I learned about the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine award of Yoshinori Ohsumi. Here is the summary of his work from the Nobel Prize website, highlights are mine.
“In the lysosomes of our cells its components are processed for reuse. The mechanisms of this process were mostly unknown until the early 1990s, when Yoshinori Ohsumi conducted a series of groundbreaking experiments with yeast, where he detected autophagy and identified genes important for the process. Yoshinori Ohsumi’s discoveries laid the foundation for a better understanding of the ability of cells to manage malnutrition and infections, the causes of certain hereditary and neurological diseases, and cancer.”
There is a lot here, so let me unpack it.
Autophagy is an amazing process for healing our bodies using its own intelligence that led me to the journey through this rabbit hole.
The term ‘autophagy’ is derived from the Greek meaning ‘eating of self’. The term was first coined by Christian de Duve over 40 years ago, who received his Nobel Prize for discovering subcomponent of cells (aka organelles) called lysosomes. He showed that lysosomes were the garbage collectors for the cells. Even better yet, lysosomes convert the cellular garbage into amino acids for the body to reuse just like it would protein you would eat through food. Amazing, isn’t it?
Ohsumi’s Nobel Prize brought this concept of autophagy to the forefront and unleashed renewed interest in this topic.
Autophagy is a very important aspect of human cell’s ability to collect garbage and then allow the body to rebuild the damaged parts from stem cells. So, let us say, you break a part in your car, you leave the car alone for a little while, and it takes the old broken parts, converts them into the basic material they were made of, turns them into any usable parts or disposable garbage, and then grabs some brand-new material off-the-shelf and 3D prints a brand new part. And, it is off and running again just like new. Sounds, just like in the movie Transformers.
If you up-regulate autophagy, i.e., you get body to do more of it, then you get lots of healing. If you down-regulate it, i.e., your body does less of it, and you get all kinds of diseases.
So, what does fasting have got to do with all this?
Turns out, fasting is currently the only sure way known right now, to put body into the state of autophagy. And, hence my intrigue with fasting.
In the next post, I would discuss how fasting induces autophagy, other benefits or side effects of fasting, different methods of fasting and my experience so far.
- In autophagy, lysosomes in our cells collect garbage and covert those for reuse.
- Do more of autophagy and body heals itself. Less of autophagy leads to diseases.
- Fasting is currently the only way to get the body into autophagy.
What do you think?
Have you an experience with fasting? Have you learned about autophagy?
I and the readers of this blog would love to hear from you and learn from you.
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