If you’re not feeling good about the years going by, it may just be time to turn the tables on aging. Living longer and living better go hand in hand, and you can achieve both by making a change in lifestyle. The key is to do so gradually so that your body has time to adjust before changing too much at once. The best time to start is now! Let’s see how changing your calories intake and fasting can be the key to reversing aging.
Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016 for his research on how cells recycle and renew their content, a process called autophagy. Fasting activates autophagy, which helps slow down the aging process and has a positive impact on cell renewal. Fasting for short periods may help you lose weight by aiding cellular repair and rejuvenation, which in turn makes your body younger, longer-living, and disease-resistant. Let’s look into this in more detail!
Degradation – a central function in all living cells and how to use it to reverse aging
The degradation of cellular components must be managed in each cell. Aging cells become less effective, the waste content of the cells is not correctly disposed of and this causes problems for all cells. When autophagy is deficient (an increase in age, lack of nutrients), proteins are not disposed of properly and build up in the cell. This results in damaged mitochondria, which can no longer produce energy, loss of pliancy, and increased risk of accelerated aging. When autophagy is overactive (a cellular defense mechanism against stress, nutrient deprivation), the cell accumulates garbage. This can lead to various biological problems, including cell mal-disease, aging, and death. But, what exactly is autophagy?
Autophagy – cellular housekeeping
Autophagy is the process of the body’s natural “self-cleaning” system which helps to rid itself of damaged cells, old or worn-out cells, damaged or worn-out parts of the organ systems, and other cellular detritus. It is your body’s way to keep you healthy by detoxifying your system at a cellular level. This process requires fasting.
During autophagy, cells clean out the old, non-functioning cell parts. This is the cause of autophagy diet, or fast. As you go through this process your body starts to rebuild itself, stronger and better than before. This is not only detoxifying your body but also cleaning out damaged tissue that may be causing your system to malfunction.
Toxins are harmful compounds generated by a cellular activity that can damage or kill vital cells. Fasting flushes toxins out of the body. Autophagy helps clear out these toxins which can lead to cellular health and well-being.
Cellular Protein Synthesis and Fasting
Cellular protein synthesis is a process that enables cells to build new proteins. During times of starvation, the cell uses the extra fuel it stores in its cytoplasm to produce new proteins. They serve as building blocks (nucleotides) for DNA, RNA, and all other components (enzymes). The essential amino acids are delivered by glutamate which is an amino acid delivered by the bloodstream. This glutamate is a product of the energy-generating Krebs cycle. This cycle begins with simple carbohydrates and ends with acetyl CoA. The acetyl CoA is used to build up fat, which comes from the glucose that has been delivered to the cells via the bloodstream. Fats are then converted into ketone bodies, fatty acids, and cholesterol.
How is cellular protein synthesis linked to fasting?
The body uses the molecular building blocks of proteins to heal damaged tissue. We can compare the cell to a city, where many processes are happening at the same time. First, cells must repair themselves if they are sick or damaged. The damage or destruction of proteins leads to health problems that can then lead to death. If autophagy is healthy then the cell will function normally and will age slowly.
What are ketone bodies?
Ketone bodies are an alternative source of energy for cells when glucose is unavailable. These compounds are produced during fasting when ketone bodies replace glucose as an energy source. The liver then uses them for cell respiration, which allows cells to burn ketone bodies instead of glucose. This process helps to slow down the aging process so that the cell can function well.
Fasting is known to cause autophagy, which gives cells a chance to get rid of toxins and so improve your health at the cellular level. Fasting causes ketosis, which can help insulin resistance and diabetes. It can also help to control blood pressure, improve blood circulation, help with weight loss by burning fat and increase energy levels.
Studies about intermittent fasting
Recent studies have shown that intermittent fasting can slow down and even reverse aging and the harmful effects of aging on the brain. Some 40 percent of elderly people who fast experience a reduced level of Alzheimer’s disease, since fasting helps remove toxins that accumulate in the body as we age. Fasting also increases the release of growth factors, which play a role in restoring brain function.
Other studies indicate that intermittent fasting may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and depression. A recent study published in Cell Metabolism found that long-term starvation can help shrink fat cells, shrink fat tissue. It can also shrink the volume of fat cells to potentially reduce obesity. During fasting, your body goes through a “starvation” state known as ketosis. Ketosis has the potential to help you lose weight by burning more fat cells. Ohsumi’s study was the most groundbreaking study related to fasting and life longevity!
Yoshinori Ohsumi’s groundbreaking experiment
Yoshinori Ohsumi had been active in various research areas, but upon starting his own lab in 1988, he focused his efforts on protein degradation in the vacuole, an organelle that corresponds to the lysosome in human cells. Yeast cells are relatively easy to study. Consequently, scientists usually use them as a model for human cells. They are particularly useful for the identification of genes that are important in complex cellular pathways. But Ohsumi faced a major challenge. Yeast cells are small and their inner structures are not easily distinguished under the microscope. Thus, he was uncertain whether autophagy even existed in this organism.
Ohsumi reasoned that if he could disrupt the degradation process in the vacuole while the process of autophagy was active, then autophagosomes should accumulate within the vacuole and become visible under the microscope. He therefore cultured mutated yeast lacking vacuolar degradation enzymes and simultaneously stimulated autophagy by starving the cells. The results were striking! Within hours, the vacuoles fill with small non-degraded vesicles. The vesicles were autophagosomes and Ohsumi’s experiment proved that autophagy exists in yeast cells. But even more importantly, he now had a method to identify and characterize key genes involved in this process. This was a major breakthrough and Ohsumi published the results in 1992.
How does intermittent fasting work?
When you consume fewer calories than your body needs, your body becomes more efficient at using fat and protein in place of glucose (sugar) as a source of energy. You can use this process to lose weight or gain muscle mass.
There are two primary types of intermittent fasting: 24-hour and alternate-day fasting. 24-hour fasting is a calorie-restricted eating pattern where you fast for at least 18 hours per day and eat other times throughout the day. Alternate-day fasting involves eating one large meal and one smaller meal, either separated by a period of 24 hours or less, depending on your goals and health condition. Both are helpful to improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure, insulin resistance, oxidative stress, and help you lose weight.
Through fasting, you can help your body detoxify, repair damaged tissues and regenerate cells. This is because during fasting your body produces ketone bodies so it doesn’t starve. Ketosis is the state in which your body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. Fasting improves heart health by lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Fasting also lowers oxidative stress in the heart, which can prevent heart disease.
Benefits of fasting
Fasting helps your body reduce inflammation by boosting the growth of white blood cells and reducing the addiction to inflammatory cytokines. A study published in “Cell Death and Disease,” found that fasting reduces inflammatory biomarkers by as much as 70 percent. This could prove very valuable for those suffering from autoimmune diseases. Such as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Other benefits of fasting include improved mental performance, improved energy levels, and gains in lean muscle mass. Fasting is also beneficial for people with chronic pain conditions because it reduces inflammation in the body; however, fasted cardio workouts are not recommended for those with an allergy to any kind of proteins for which insufficient information is available.
How Many Days Per Week Can You Fast?
When you first start intermittent fasting, you’ll need to adjust your food intake to accommodate eating fewer calories than normal. You should fast for 16 hours by eating the day before and the day after your planned fasting period.
You can try intermittent fasting by getting up in the morning and not eating until 1 p.m. When you finish eating (only if you feel it’s necessary) you can resume your fast for another 16 hours, or eat again. Then you can eat your next meal around 8 p.m. Follow this by another 16-hour fast, and continue with this schedule during the week.
It is important to start on a weekend, so you aren’t tempted to cheat and eat any meals if you’re not hungry. Continue with this schedule for at least two weeks before adding another day. Be sure to pay attention to how your body feels and if it can handle the fasting and larger meals afterward.
What Are the Different Types of Fasts?
There are many different types of fasting to help detoxify your body, improve cognition and lose weight. Here are some fasting periods that you can try:
- 16/8 Fast – This is a popular type of intermittent fasting that you can do every day. You fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours. For example, if you finish dinner at 7 p.m., you fast until 1 p.m. the next day.
- Another popular type of intermittent fasting that you can do every day: You fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours. For example, if you finish dinner at 7 p.m., you fast until 1 p.m. the next day.
- 20/4 Fast – You fast after dinner and then eat an early lunch around noon the next day. For example, if you finish dinner at 7 p.m., you fast until 1 p.m. the next day.
- You fast after dinner and then eat an early lunch around noon the next day. For example, if you finish dinner at 7 p.m., you fast until 1 p.m. the next day. 24/2 Fast – You eat in an 8-hour period in the morning and then fast for the rest of the day. For example, you get up at 6 a.m., eat until 2 p m., then fast until 6 am. the next day.
- You eat in an 8-hour period in the morning and then fast for the rest of the day. For example, you get up at 6 a.m., eat until 2 p m., then fast until 6 am. the next day.
- Weekly Fast – You can try fasting for a longer period of time each week, such as 3 days or 5 days.
- You can try fasting for a longer period of time each week, such as 3 days or 5 days.
- Extended Fasting is the most extreme form of fasting because it involves fasting for 2 or more days.
Final Thoughts on Intermittent Fasting
If you are thinking about trying intermittent fasting, you should first consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet. If you do decide to try intermittent fasting, make sure you follow the directions on the package of your eating plan. Intermittent fasting is a great way to improve your health, as well as your cognitive function. Most importantly, it might be the solution to reversing aging. Also, keep in mind that the longevity of your life also depends on the quality of food you eat. Read our article about the ingredients you need to replace in your diet to live longer!