Fasting and Autophagy - Benefits

Autophagy and Fasting – What Are Its Benefits?

Fasting is one of the methods that has become more fashionable in recent years.

The basis of fasting is autophagy, a process that is activated in the body when you do not eat for several hours.

This article describes how to achieve autophagy with fasting and its benefits.

What is autophagy?

Autophagy is a method the body uses to cleanse damaged cells.

The goal of autophagy is to regenerate more, healthier cells.

The prefix auto means oneself and aphagia eat. So the literal meaning of the word autophagy is to eat yourself.

While this may sound like something you never want to have happen to your body, it is associated with several health benefits.

Autophagy is an evolutionary self-preservation mechanism through which the body can eliminate cells that are not serving and recycle parts of them. The result is cell repair and cleansing.

What is fasting?

Fasting or fasting is a nutritional system that consists of rejecting food for a certain period.

The most classic method is intermittent fasting, also known as the  16/8 diet . This is not eating for 16 hours, and eating the other 8, usually skipping breakfast.

By fasting, autophagy can be achieved. With low blood sugar levels, the body gives the order to use the parts of the cells that your body does not operate as an energy source.

Fasting and Autophagy – Benefits

According to studies, the advantages of fasting and autophagy are several. (1,2,3)

One of the main benefits of autophagy appears to be anti-aging. It is one of the best ways that the body can create younger cells.

In fasting times, autophagy keeps the body functioning by breaking down cellular material and reusing it for other processes. This could have the benefit of strengthening the immune system.

Of course, the body requires energy and cannot go on forever, but autophagy gives us more time to find food.

At the cellular level, fasting and autophagy may also reduce the risk of certain cancers. Researchers believe that new studies will lead to better insights into the process that will help them focus on autophagy as a cancer therapy.

The benefits of autophagy are:

  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Reduce the risk of certain types of cancer
  • Prevent type 2 diabetes
  • Improve the health of the skin
  • Promote the regeneration of new cells
  • Cellular anti-aging

Diets that allow autophagy

Intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet are two eating plans that allow you to achieve autophagy.

Fasting is the most effective way to trigger autophagy, although it can also be achieved when carbohydrates are reduced in the diet.

A diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates brings the same benefits as fasting; it produces the same beneficial metabolic changes.

You get about 75 percent of your daily calories from fat and only 5-10 percent of your calories from carbohydrates on the ketogenic diet.

This change causes your body to change its metabolic pathways. You will use fat for fuel instead of glucose derived from carbohydrates.

Low glucose levels occur in both diets and are related to low insulin and glucagon levels. It is the low level of glucagon that initiates autophagy.

When the body is low on sugar through fasting or ketosis, the body awakens the repair mode of survival.


Autophagy is achieved with fasting or ketogenic diets. This is a valuable process that removes obsolete cells from the body.

The benefits of autophagy are: promoting the growth of new cells, regulating blood sugar levels, and strengthening the immune system.

Some suggest that autophagy and fasting may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. However, more studies are needed to verify this benefit.

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