Autophagy: A Gigantic advantage of Fasting
Autophagy as term is built of two words "Auto" meaning self and "Phagein" meaning eating so Autophagy literally means "Self eating or Self devouring". Autophagy is a phenomenon that occurs in our body. Scientists have known about Autophagy for more than 50 years now but this term emerged into popularity in 2016 when Japanese researcher Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering the mechanisms behind Autophagy.
Autophagy occurs in our body when our body is starved. When it is starved, our body starts breaking down old and damaged cells, tissues, organelles to provide energy and building blocks to create new and healthy cells. This results in slowed and delayed aging in the body as the cells keep getting recycled instead of getting old.
Autophagy can also eliminate invading bacteria and viruses, thereby tremendously strengthening our body's immune system resulting in increased immunity of our body against various infections. Not only this, Autophagy can also play a key role in our body's fighting capabilities against various Cancers and cancerous tumors. It has been shown that Autophagy can inhibit tumors in the early stages of their growth.
Even though Autophagy evolved as a response to starvation, it soon became an essential tool used by our body's cells to maintain their own health, to cleanup the damaged and toxic wastes from our body and to fight against various infections and even cancer. Infact, disturbances in the mechanism of Autophagy has been linked to many degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cancer. It is clear how important this phenomenon is for our body's health and up keep.
Not only has Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi's work on Autophagy has opened the world to view Autophagy and its underlying functions, it has also opened the gates for new researches into alternative treatments of various diseases like Cancer.
So how can we activate, access and use this amazing phenomenon in our body? Answer is pretty logical: Intentional starvation or Fasting! Fasting and mainly water-only fasting for more than 20 hrs increases the probability of activating Autophagy in the body. It has been shown that maximum benefits of Autophagy can be reaped in our body with 72 hrs of fasting. Autophagy is one of the biggest benefits of fasting and the reason why you should try to go longer into the fast.
Isn't it astonishing how many miracles our body is capable of when we don't feed?