Autophagy : Autophagy in Health and Disease - Learn How to Activate the Self-Cleansing and Anti-Ageing Process, Lose Weight and Reduce Inflammation Hardback
by Pamela Ogden
What is autophagy?
Autophagy is the body's way of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells, according to Priya Khorana, PhD, in nutrition education from Columbia University.
"Auto" means self and "phagy" means eat. So the literal meaning of autophagy is "self-eating."
It's also referred to as "self-devouring." While that may sound like something you never want to happen to your body, it's actually beneficial to your overall health.
This is because autophagy is an evolutionary self-preservation mechanism through which the body can remove the dysfunctional cells and recycle parts of them toward cellular repair and cleaning, according to board-certified cardiologist, Dr. Luiza Petre.
Petre explains that the purpose of autophagy is to remove debris and self-regulate back to optimal smooth function.
"It is recycling and cleaning at the same time, just like hitting a reset button to your body. Plus, it promotes survival and adaptation as a response to various stressors and toxins accumulated in our cells," she adds.
What are the benefits of autophagy?
The main benefits of autophagy seem to come in the form of anti-aging principles. In fact, Petre says it's best known as the body's way of turning the clock back and creating younger cells.
Khorana points out that when our cells are stressed, autophagy is increased in order to protect us, which helps enhance your lifespan.
Additionally, registered dietitian, Scott Keatley, RD, CDN, says that in times of starvation, autophagy keeps the body going by breaking down cellular material and reusing it for necessary processes.
"Of course this takes energy and cannot continue forever, but it gives us more time to find nourishment," he adds.
At the cellular level, Petre says the benefits of autophagy include:
removing toxic proteins from the cells that are attributed to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease
recycling residual proteins
providing energy and building blocks for cells that could still benefit from repair
on a larger scale, it prompts regeneration and healthy cells
Autophagy is receiving a lot of attention for the role it may play in preventing or treating cancer, too.
"Autophagy declines as we age, so this means cells that no longer work or may do harm are allowed to multiply, which is the MO of cancer cells," explains Keatley.
While all cancers start from some sort of defective cells, Petre says that the body should recognize and remove those cells, often using autophagic processes. That's why some researchers are looking at the possibility that autophagy may lower the risk of cancer.
While there's no scientific evidence to back this up, Petre says some studiesTrusted Source suggest that many cancerous cells can be removed through autophagy.
"This is how the body polices the cancer villains," she explains. "Recognizing and destroying what went wrong and triggering the repairing mechanism does contribute to lowering the risk of cancer."
Researchers believe that new studies will lead to insight that will help them target autophagy as a therapy for cancer.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 112 pages
- Publisher: Pamela Ogden
- Publication Date: 06/06/2020
- Category: Dietetics & nutrition
- ISBN: 9781649840042
- Paperback / softback from £15.49