Autophagy For Longevity


June 27, 2022


Autophagy is the process by which your cells remove damaged proteins, mitochondria and pathogens. It is essentially your body’s way of “taking out the trash.” Autophagy is a necessary and natural function that helps keep your cells healthy and is a key activity for maintaining energy and vitality as you get older. This process has been found to stave off the signs of aging and protect the body from diseases including cancer, cardiomyopathy, liver disease, and autoimmune diseases. As you age, your body’s autophagic process begins to slow down. Therefore, it can be beneficial in terms of longevity to participate in activities that increase this mechanism.

You can support your body’s natural autophagy process with several wellness activities.

Fasting and Autophagy

First, autophagy is known to occur during fasting. When you restrict your food intake for a brief period, say 12-to-24 hours at a time, your body is able to heal itself, which includes cleaning damaged components of your cells. Intermittent fasting also elicits many other benefits, such as supporting gut and brain health and immune function. Keep in mind that everyone’s body is going to respond differently to intermittent fasting and the key is to find a system that works the best for your unique constitution. If you are pregnant or struggling with an eating disorder, it is not advised to fast. Everyone should check in with their doctor before starting a new eating regimen, especially if you have a diagnosed condition or are on medication.

Cold Therapy and Autophagy

Cold therapy, such as regularly plunging your body in frigid cold water or taking cold showers, is known to support your body’s natural autophagy process. Research indicates that cold exposure can also help increase thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue, which may help treat or prevent obesity. Cold therapy can also have some contraindications, so check with your doctor before taking a dip in an ice cold lake.  

Exercise and Autophagy

Exercise can also trigger autophagy. Though more research is needed, evidence indicates that autophagy may be triggered during the recovery period after both endurance exercise and resistance training. If you don’t exercise now, following the CDC guidelines to exercise at a moderate intensity (brisk walking, gentle bike riding) for 150 minutes a week or at a vigorous intensity (running, swimming) for 75 minutes per week alongside two strength training sessions is a great place to start to experience the autophagic benefits of exercise. If you already have a solid exercise routine – great! Just keep in mind that overexertion can sometimes have the opposite effect.

Spermidine and Autophagy

Spermidine, which is a polyamine that occurs naturally in some food, is also known to increase autophagy. Including foods and supplements that contain spermidine into your wellness routine can elicit many of the same benefits as fasting, cold exposure and exercise. Spermidine is known to be a powerful anti-aging compound and has also been shown to help reduce inflammation and prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Notably, researchers link reduced mortality to an increased intake of spermidine.

Eating a diet rich in plant foods can help you consume spermidine and realize many of these benefits. A few food sources of spermidine include wheat germ, soy beans, mushrooms, peas, hazelnuts, pistachios, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and green beans. These commonplace foods are accessible and fairly easy to add into your weekly menu. To start, give these delicious cauliflower tacos a try!

Spermidine can also be consumed as a high-quality supplement. spermidineLIFE® is made from GMO-free wheat germ extract. These award-winning supplements are backed by top tier researchers and are rigorously tested. spermidineLIFE® customers report experiencing better memory, improved cholesterol levels, lowered blood pressure, better sleep, more energy, reduced brain fog and improved skin appearance, among other benefits.


To experience the incredible anti-aging and vitality boosting benefits of autophagy, you can incorporate all of these practices, foods and supplements into your wellness routine. As long as you don’t have any contraindications, combining intermittent fasting, exercise and cold therapy with a diet that is rich in spermidine alongside a high-quality spermidine supplement is a wonderful recipe for living your life to its fullest for years to come!