8

votes

What is autophagy, and how exactly does it work?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 04, 2012 at 3:08 AM

From listening to podcasts/talks, I heard, at some point, Matt Lalonde talking about a lowish-than normal protein intake on some days, and then super high-protein intakes on other days, (weekends for example.), which is eventually going to promote "autophagy."

What does this achieve exactly? From what I've read, it seems to mimic the benefits of intermittent fasting / calorie restriction in the way that autophagy "clears out" old proteins...etc etc.

Medium avatar

(115)

on April 07, 2013
at 12:25 AM

looks like a GREAT site!

3b031bce7c181c10452ee202e2b54dc6

(803)

on February 17, 2013
at 06:13 AM

There's nothing about vitamin D in the original question. Also, I didnt realize vitamin D intake had anything to do with the lack of caloric intake...

3b031bce7c181c10452ee202e2b54dc6

(803)

on February 17, 2013
at 06:10 AM

Agreed with Jeff, I have researched autophagy thoroughly and have found NOTHING to confirm exactly when autophagy occurs, even in animal studies.

E7f09005fda1f3ac29ad3718ff4ada3b

on February 17, 2013
at 05:13 AM

David, Not sure I understand your comment that there aren't enough studies. Your references are interesting, but none of them address the connection between the vitamin D pathway and autophagy. The article in getting stronger links to several reviews published in reputable, peer-reviewed journals that speak directly to this question.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on July 03, 2012
at 01:01 AM

how do you know this?

Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on March 11, 2012
at 08:58 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autophagy

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 11, 2012
at 11:17 AM

I just want to say thanks to VigLink for giving us the handy link to Amazon.com in The Quilt's post. lol

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 05, 2012
at 12:50 PM

encore today is on paleosummit.....so you can relisten to what i said. it ties to autophagy. when you create a mismatch biologically it destroy autophagy. this is the key process it hurts and this is why sleep is trashed in humans with mismatches. Food,light,temp, and pressure can cause the mismatch......and effect people.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 05, 2012
at 01:24 AM

I measure it all the time clinically. you need to pay attn at paleo fx.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on March 04, 2012
at 07:30 PM

I think the difference here is your speaking from a point of "starvation" and I'm just saying they missed some meals here and there....or maybe even had a 20-30 day period of overall reduced availability of food sources. I agree starvation is bad, and of course they would not PLAN to ever starve.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 04, 2012
at 07:00 PM

@jayjay you have to make accommodations, or you starve. Paleos were local to a place where they didn't starve, whether nomadic for game and fruit, or sedentary by the beach. You only have a few days, and you can't go far. There may have been regular patterns of movement as a plane to evade starvation, but no plan to regularly starve yourself.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on March 04, 2012
at 05:51 PM

Thhq, thanks for the link. I enjoyed reading that. :)

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on March 04, 2012
at 04:34 PM

No? thhq? There were never times when the hunt/gathering did not go well and we just had to go without? I dunno .....seems to me it would happen on a semi-regular basis.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 04, 2012
at 04:20 PM

With respect, when I was fasting 20 hours I didn't see the skin, gums and blood glucose improvements I'm seeing from ADF (alternate day fasting.)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 04, 2012
at 04:18 PM

I agree with some of your assumptions, but after 2 weeks I have some clear improvements: appearance/texture of my skin, appearance of my gums and response to meals. My fasting blood glucose is running 10-15 lower than before.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 04, 2012
at 01:48 PM

Starvation was never normal or cyclical, only something to be avoided at all costs. The ability of near-starvation to improve paleo survivability makes sense, at least up to the age to which paleos survived. It's hard to see why it work at age 80.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on March 04, 2012
at 01:20 PM

Mat actually was referring to autophagy. His "dinner" on weekdays is a post-workout sweet potato. So the lack of protein between lunch and breakfast the next day (his two hard-boiled eggs) promotes autophagy. He doesn't do ADF, tho that too would promote autophagy.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 04, 2012
at 12:32 PM

I thought that there was a connection between exercise-induced autophagy and increased longevity. I'd be curious how large an effect eating/fasting is compared to exercise.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 04, 2012
at 09:21 AM

+ 1 This topic will surely interest many people because it really affects all of us with a heart.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 04, 2012
at 06:22 AM

autophagy is know to improve with calories restriction but it is made most efficient in cold.....nothing makes it more efficient.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 04, 2012
at 06:21 AM

Im laying that foundation in the massive CT series. If your are cold adapted your autophaic efficiency is mind boggling. Productivity soars. Go to the CT 2 blog and watch the Jessa gamble TED talk. Then in my CT 5 comments Dr. M&M asks about why and I tell her......why this happens.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on March 04, 2012
at 05:07 AM

rave on!.......

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on March 04, 2012
at 04:00 AM

"Autophagy is heavily influenced by mTOR signaling." Influenced, how so? In a good way or in a bad way?

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on March 04, 2012
at 03:50 AM

Quilt’s answer below, while copied somewhat from Wikipedia, really has nothing to do with what Lalonde is going for. Some people like Lalonde think that autophagy is a “good thing” that helps clear the body of damaged or problematic cells that might have negative consequences such as cancer.

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13 Answers

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2
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on February 17, 2013
at 05:57 AM

Keifer's series on intermittent fasting covers much of the ground here, but part 3 tackles the issue the most direct.

http://www.dangerouslyhardcore.com/1425/intermittent-fasting-part-3-go-eat-yourself/

6
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 04, 2012
at 03:34 AM

Autophagy. In cell biology, autophagy, or autophagocytosis, is a catabolic process involving the degradation of a cell???s own components through the lysosomal machinery. Why, you ask, is this so important? Well, the leading cause of death in humans is cardiac death from heart disease. Autophagy is the mechanism that cardiomyocytes die from. Therefore if we can understand this pathway in detail and how to protect ourselves from it we may finally do something meaningful to stop cardiac death. All of the cardiologists in the world believe in the lipid hypothesis of heart disease. I think the data is overwhelming that is it not, and understanding how autophagy occurs will help you understand why this levee may be extremely useful to us as humans. Autophagy was first described in the 1960???s but it took a back seat for the last twenty years to apoptosis. That was the new darling find in cell biology. Autophagy is best described to the non-scientist as a mechanism the cell uses to auto digest cellular components. This is called microautophagy because it involves parts of the cell. Chaperone mediated autophagy (CMA) is a process of selective autophagy. Entire cells can be engulfed and taken out. The tissue then has more stroma/scars and less cells. This is precisely what occurs in heart disease. A dying heart loses heart muscle cells and it is replaced with scar stroma. The remaining cells have to hypertrophy to compensate but they never can get back to the baseline. So the heart???s function slowly wanes with time. Autophagy is heavily influenced by mTOR signaling. So we know that what activates mTOR affects cardiac death. One of the major players in mTOR is the polyphenols of cacao. If you Google search the MARS Corporation and see what they are up to in the Amazon basin you might become very interested in slowing your own cardiac autophagy down. This topic will surely interest many people because it really affects all of us with a heart.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on March 04, 2012
at 04:00 AM

"Autophagy is heavily influenced by mTOR signaling." Influenced, how so? In a good way or in a bad way?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 05, 2012
at 12:50 PM

encore today is on paleosummit.....so you can relisten to what i said. it ties to autophagy. when you create a mismatch biologically it destroy autophagy. this is the key process it hurts and this is why sleep is trashed in humans with mismatches. Food,light,temp, and pressure can cause the mismatch......and effect people.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 04, 2012
at 09:21 AM

+ 1 This topic will surely interest many people because it really affects all of us with a heart.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 04, 2012
at 06:21 AM

Im laying that foundation in the massive CT series. If your are cold adapted your autophaic efficiency is mind boggling. Productivity soars. Go to the CT 2 blog and watch the Jessa gamble TED talk. Then in my CT 5 comments Dr. M&M asks about why and I tell her......why this happens.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 11, 2012
at 11:17 AM

I just want to say thanks to VigLink for giving us the handy link to Amazon.com in The Quilt's post. lol

Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on March 11, 2012
at 08:58 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autophagy

4
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on March 04, 2012
at 03:58 AM

Autophaghy is a natural process. Nothing to be feared nor promoted. Out with the old and in with the new. Fasting and reduced consumption was a normal cyclical part of our heritage. Today foods are available all day every day reducing the need to break down our own tissues for energy and substrate. In my mind this means that crud rotts ....in the simplest terms :).....Leave this stuff in your cells, and matrix long enough without the enviromental cues to change out and they tend to degrade or become toxic. These are just my own ravings on the subject so take them as you will.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 04, 2012
at 01:48 PM

Starvation was never normal or cyclical, only something to be avoided at all costs. The ability of near-starvation to improve paleo survivability makes sense, at least up to the age to which paleos survived. It's hard to see why it work at age 80.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 04, 2012
at 07:00 PM

@jayjay you have to make accommodations, or you starve. Paleos were local to a place where they didn't starve, whether nomadic for game and fruit, or sedentary by the beach. You only have a few days, and you can't go far. There may have been regular patterns of movement as a plane to evade starvation, but no plan to regularly starve yourself.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on March 04, 2012
at 05:07 AM

rave on!.......

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on March 04, 2012
at 04:34 PM

No? thhq? There were never times when the hunt/gathering did not go well and we just had to go without? I dunno .....seems to me it would happen on a semi-regular basis.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on March 04, 2012
at 07:30 PM

I think the difference here is your speaking from a point of "starvation" and I'm just saying they missed some meals here and there....or maybe even had a 20-30 day period of overall reduced availability of food sources. I agree starvation is bad, and of course they would not PLAN to ever starve.

2
Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 04, 2012
at 01:19 PM

The following link might be helpful.

http://www.economist.com/node/21543129

I was surprised by it when I read it a few weeks ago. The anti-aging effect appears to result from semi-starvation. The ability to get the same effect with exercise looks more desirable, to me anyway. Both methods appear to work over a period of years so it's unlikely that temporary diet shifts would produce the benefit.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on March 04, 2012
at 05:51 PM

Thhq, thanks for the link. I enjoyed reading that. :)

2
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 04, 2012
at 09:20 AM

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting/

Autophagy

Fasting turns on autophagy (most studies nowadays treat this as common knowledge), which is the process by which cells recycle waste material, eliminate or downregulate wasteful processes, and repair themselves. Why is autophagy so important? It???s required to maintain muscle mass, and inhibiting it induces atrophy of adult skeletal muscle. It reduces the negative effects of aging and reduces the incidence and progression of aging-related diseases. In fact, researchers have determined that autophagy is the essential aspect of the anti-aging mechanism of fasting. Without the autophagy that fasting provides, you would get very few of the benefits. Fasting even increases neuronal autophagy, which aids in maintaining mental health and function. Short term fasting, too. No marathon thirty-six hour fast required.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 04, 2012
at 04:20 PM

With respect, when I was fasting 20 hours I didn't see the skin, gums and blood glucose improvements I'm seeing from ADF (alternate day fasting.)

1
3b031bce7c181c10452ee202e2b54dc6

on February 16, 2013
at 10:07 PM

I dont think there is enough studies done to really say either way. There needs to more studies done on it before we start throwing around what it is and what it isn't.

However, If you want to know more on it from some reputable studies and sources:

http://jcb.rupress.org/content/197/2/164.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20534972

Other sources:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/fasting-cancer/#axzz2BRIUIO4U

http://jdmoyer.com/2012/02/01/death-will-eat-itself/

E7f09005fda1f3ac29ad3718ff4ada3b

on February 17, 2013
at 05:13 AM

David, Not sure I understand your comment that there aren't enough studies. Your references are interesting, but none of them address the connection between the vitamin D pathway and autophagy. The article in getting stronger links to several reviews published in reputable, peer-reviewed journals that speak directly to this question.

3b031bce7c181c10452ee202e2b54dc6

(803)

on February 17, 2013
at 06:13 AM

There's nothing about vitamin D in the original question. Also, I didnt realize vitamin D intake had anything to do with the lack of caloric intake...

1
Ae18f170eda21644dab52375bb9ebb75

on March 11, 2012
at 08:44 AM

This guy has a good writeup about it: http://joshwhiton.com/?p=1319

And a protocol for promoting it: http://joshwhiton.com/?p=1680

Those who aren't afraid of dietary fat can increase autophagy with minimal hunger.

Medium avatar

(115)

on April 07, 2013
at 12:25 AM

looks like a GREAT site!

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on March 04, 2012
at 08:25 AM

Autophagy sounds like a good idea. However, in practice, there's nothing for you to get a hold of. It's too nebulous. You can't quantify it, you can't measure it, you can't feel it. There's no start and no stop. You can't tell when you need it, and you can't tell how far along the process you are.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 04, 2012
at 04:18 PM

I agree with some of your assumptions, but after 2 weeks I have some clear improvements: appearance/texture of my skin, appearance of my gums and response to meals. My fasting blood glucose is running 10-15 lower than before.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 05, 2012
at 01:24 AM

I measure it all the time clinically. you need to pay attn at paleo fx.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 04, 2012
at 04:04 AM

I think Matt was referring to modified ADF (alternate day fasting.) On ADF, you eat normally or even a little more than usual on one day but on the next you either limit food to about 25% of your normal intake--preferably with low or no protein--or you take no calories at all.

I have practiced a version of ADF for 2 weeks; I fasted Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. As JayJay mentioned, the intent is to encourage your body to scrounge aging or defective proteins and recycle them. It's possible that periodic fasting may benefit overall health. Here's a link to a review of human trials of ADF.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 04, 2012
at 06:22 AM

autophagy is know to improve with calories restriction but it is made most efficient in cold.....nothing makes it more efficient.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on March 04, 2012
at 01:20 PM

Mat actually was referring to autophagy. His "dinner" on weekdays is a post-workout sweet potato. So the lack of protein between lunch and breakfast the next day (his two hard-boiled eggs) promotes autophagy. He doesn't do ADF, tho that too would promote autophagy.

0
E7f09005fda1f3ac29ad3718ff4ada3b

on February 16, 2013
at 10:04 PM

Interesting new article on how many of the benefits attributed to vitamin D supplementation (beyond the minimum needed to avoid rickets or osteoporosis) may in fact result from autophagy -- which is activated by the vitamin D receptor. So perhaps if you exercise a lot or practice intermittent fasting, you might not need to supplement with so much vitamin D:

http://gettingstronger.org/2013/02/an-alternative-to-vitamin-d-supplements/

0
1955eccb4d9e0aa058cafeb884394148

on April 23, 2012
at 03:40 AM

James, intermittent fasting, even if that means a 16 hour fast including the 8 hours you sleep and 8 hours after you wake done 1 time a week, has many potential benefits. You do not have to starv at all in order to practice IF. It is looking more and more like, if you do not practice IF, along with proper exercise, proper diet, and proper lifestyle, you are not doing everything you can to improve your health.

Intermittent fasting likely was a natural part of our paleo ancestors lives. There is nothing at all dangerous or unhealthy about it. If you all read as much as you can about it, and start to practice it yourselves, you will learn that it has the postential to greatly improve health-even enhance lean muscle!

0
01adafcb4dd4147c6af543f61eee60a8

on March 11, 2012
at 02:30 PM

Fasts of 18-24 hours are best for autophagy

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on July 03, 2012
at 01:01 AM

how do you know this?

3b031bce7c181c10452ee202e2b54dc6

(803)

on February 17, 2013
at 06:10 AM

Agreed with Jeff, I have researched autophagy thoroughly and have found NOTHING to confirm exactly when autophagy occurs, even in animal studies.

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