How to Induce Autophagy - What You Need to Know

Several different bodily processes help us get through the day. Emerging research has shown autophagy to be one of the vital processes contributing to overall health and wellbeing. Today, we will be going over what autophagy is, the benefits of autophagy, and the things you can do to induce it. 

What is the Autophagy Process?

Autophagy is one of the body’s most essential processes. The word is derived from the Greek words “auto,” meaning self, and “phagy,” meaning eat. Yes, this means autophagy means “self-eat,” but it’s not as bad as it sounds. This process helps the body tremendously, improving overall health and longevity. 

During the autophagy process, your body removes dysfunctional cellular material, cleaning out and repairing the cell. This prevents damaged cells from causing health complications and allows your cells to operate with renewed efficiency. Many different things can cause cellular damage; what’s important is ensuring those damaged cells are repaired. In some instances, autophagy can even kill cells if the body deems them too harmful. 

What are the Benefits of Autophagy?

When it comes to anti-aging, you will hear the term autophagy frequently. That’s because the significant benefits of the process come in the form of anti-aging principles. Some researchers even refer to autophagy as your body’s way of turning the clock back to create younger cells. Some specific autophagy benefits include:

  • Removing toxic proteins from cells that can lead to neurodegenerative diseases
  • Recycling residual proteins
  • Providing energy to cells that need repairs
  • The promotion of cell regeneration and cell health

Other claimed benefits of autophagy - such as cancer prevention - still need further research. However, the research that we do have is quite promising. 

Where Does Autophagy Occur?

Autophagy occurs throughout the body at the cellular level. The process occurs in dying and damaged cells, often onset by aging, in various embryonic tissues. There is a complex communication system where signals are sent out when a cell needs repair. 

How to Induce Autophagy?

There are several different ways you can help your body induce the autophagy process. The easiest way to do this is through your diet. Mainly the foods that you don’t eat. Researchers believe the three main ways you can induce autophagy are as follows:

  • Restrict the amount of food you eat - limiting the number of calories you eat daily can help induce autophagy
  • Limit the time you eat - Fasting is one of the easiest ways to induce the process
  • Exercise regularly - regular exercise causes healthy stress, which signals the autophagy process

We will go into further detail regarding the foods that help induce autophagy below. 

What Is An Autophagy Diet?

Inducing autophagy through your diet can be difficult. This is mainly because many researchers are still unsure as to what exactly causes the process. What we do know is that spermidine can help. Therefore, eating foods that are high in spermidine should be a part of any autophagy diet plan—wondering what foods are high in spermidine? 

  • Soybeans
  • Green peas
  • Lentil soup
  • Potatoes
  • Chicken
  • Beans 
  • Mushrooms

How Do You Maximize Autophagy?

The best way to maximize autophagy is by living a healthy life. Not only will this help induce the autophagy process, but it will also help protect your cells. Avoiding cell damage altogether can help prevent the need for constant cellular repair. Some of the things you can do to maximize autophagy include:

  • A healthy sleep cycle
  • Exercise
  • Protecting your genes
  • Avoiding certain oils
  • Reduce stress

Supplements Can Help

The three main ways your diet can induce autophagy are reducing the amount of time spent eating, reducing the number of calories consumed, and increasing the amount of spermidine consumed. Your diet is one of the easiest  ways you can induce autophagy. You can maximize your results by pairing your diet with spermidine supplements.

Spermidine can help induce autophagy, but it can be challenging to get your recommended daily intake of spermidine through your diet alone. Taking spermidine supplements is a great way to ensure you meet your daily intake of spermidine.

  • Don Moxley - Director of Applied Science

    Don Moxley is the Director of Applied Science at Longevity Labs. Moxley draws upon his career as an athlete, a sports scientist, and an instructor to lead and educate on the science of autophagy and longevity.