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Autophagy benefits

7 Autophagy benefits

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This is day three of my 108 days of content creation challenge. 

The topic today is autophagy benefits.

I will be finding answers for the questions

  • What is autophagy?
  • How long to fast for autophagy to set in?
  • How to know if you are in autophagy?
  • What are autophagy benefits?
  • What are the negative aspects of autophagy?

First, let me update my progress.

Day 3 OMAD challenge

Let me first start with the summary of day two.

I did not complete 16 hours fast. I ended my fast in 14:15 hours.

I was not hungry, it was just a lack of discipline on my part. 

Here again, my mind deceived me, my mind is in control of me.

I am sure this will change, but it is a bit frustrating. 

Yesterday again, I had a slight headache. Though It was quite manageable.

The other thing I have started is doing is Surya Namaskar Yoga poses before I sit down to write the blog post at 5:00 am.

Hopefully, I will complete 16 hours of fast today.

Autophagy benefits

What is autophagy?

When you fast for a long period, it has been observed that the body turns on genes that tell the cells to preserve resources. 

That is the body switches to famine mode.

In famine mode, the cells become more resistant to disease or cellular stress.

Also, the cells enter into a process known as autophagy.

Autophagy literally means “self-eating”.

At this stage the cells begin to clean out any cellular material, it deems as old or unnecessary. 

They also start fixing and recycling damaged parts.

This in turn can be considered as the reason for the anti-aging properties associated with fasting.

How long to fast for autophagy to set in?

It is generally believed that the cellular autophagy process initiates in humans after 18 to 20 hours of fasting. 

And the maximum autophagy benefits happen at around 48 to 72 hours of fasting. 

As you can see it is not an easy task to initiate autophagy. 

Before any longer fast it is always advisable to consult your doctor. 

How to know if you are in autophagy?

It is very difficult to measure autophagy outside of a lab environment.

Some signs indicate autophagy, like:

  • Low blood glucose: When fasting leads to blood sugar drop, our body responds by raising growth hormones, cortisol, and ketones. 

Our body starts breaking down stored fat and ketosis sets in. 

Ketones in the urine can be measured with ketone sticks.  

This can indicate you are in autophagy.

  • Low level of insulin and IGF-1 signaling: While fasting the level of insulin and IGF-1 signaling reduces, as there is no food in the body to break down. 

Blood sugar levels can be measured with diabetes sticks.

This can be indicative of autophagy setting in.

  • Elevated Ketones: As the body starts breaking down stored fat for fuel, the level of ketones goes up, which may indicate autophagy.
  • Weight Loss: As the body breaks down fat and muscles for fuel, you will see the difference in your weighing scale.

Bodyweight exercise, mobility exercise, and kettlebell exercises are very good to maintain your muscle mass while fasting. 

Do as much as you can and don’t push your self too much.

  • Reduced appetite: When your body starts producing ketones for fuelling your brain and body, your appetite will reduce. Which again is a good indicator of autophagy. 
  • Skin Health: Your skin reflects the health of your gut and digestion. 

Long term fasting clears up skin indicating autophagy.

As I mentioned earlier, it is difficult to measure autophagy outside of a lab environment. So these above signs are just indicative and not a 100% guarantee that you are in autophagy. 

What are autophagy benefits?

  • It reduces inflammation 
  • It helps fight infectious diseases. 

Autophagy simultaneously starves the infectious intruder of glucose and reduces inflammation making the immune system more potent.

  • Autophagy helps your body fight many age-related neurodegenerative diseases. 

It increases your life and quality of life.

  • There will be a noticeable improvement in your skin health.
  • It will help you lose weight.
  • Autophagy repairs your body at the cellular level. It prolongs the life of your cell.

Click here to read “6 reasons to be addicted to healthy weight

What are the negative aspects of autophagy?

Like everything in life, in excess autophagy can also be bad for you. 

Excessive autophagy has been shown to kill cells in the heart, which may lead to heart problems.

Autophagy has been shown to inhibit certain kinds of cancer, but it has also shown to worsen the outlook of somebody with existing cancer.

A longer fast should be attempted only once a year or at most 2 times a year.

If you are planning to induce autophagy through long term fasting, it is always advisable to consult your doctor first. 


I have noticed that it is not always hunger that makes me break my fast.

It is either boredom or maybe lack of discipline to stick it through.

So I guess keeping busy is important. 

Also, it is important not to fight your mind. 

I mean when your mind wants you to do something that you have decided not to do. 

Don’t say no, instead be like I will do it in five minutes.

This will give you time enough to divert your mind to something else.

Once a year attempting longer fasts of 48 to 72 hours is beneficial to get maximum benefits out of autophagy.

Hurrey I completed day 3!

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