The human body consists of about 100 trillion cells. In large part, these cells renew themselves regularly. Every second, about 50,000 cells die, at the same time, 50,000 cells are regenerated.

This process doesn’t always function smoothly. Over time, misfolded proteins, defective cell organelles, and “cell waste” can accumulate and become trapped in our body. To ensure that this waste does not negatively affect our body’s functions, there is a recycling system that our body developed itself. This system is called autophagy.

What Is Autophagy?

Autophagy can be best understood using an analogy. Imagine you bought an old broken-down house. The roof is leaking, the windows are loose, and the walls are crumbling. Autophagy would be similar to the process of remodeling in which parts of the house are repaired, repurposed, or recycled to fix the house. Autophagy provides these same benefits to our cells, helping them live longer and healthier.  

On a physical level, autophagy works like a cellular waste and cellular renewal program. This self-cleaning program helps the cell recycle tiny damaged or misfolded proteins and large organelles. The result is cell rejuvenation. Autophagy thus lays the foundation for a healthy life.

The phenomenon of autophagy was first described in 1963. However only in 1990 was the underlying mechanism fully decoded by the Japanese researcher Yoshinori Ōhsumi.

After many experiments with yeast cells, Ōshumi succeeded in uncovering the genetic basis of autophagy. In 2016 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for this discovery.

The Importance of Autophagy

Ōhsumi's discovery enlightened scientists and medical professionals on the topic of autophagy. Since then, numerous researchers have been working on the question of the importance of autophagy in the development of diseases. Countless clinical studies have shown the importance of autophagy’s cellular renewal process.

Scientists suspect that inhibited autophagy can trigger a wide range of diseases, starting from inflammation to age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes.

Your cells are the foundation for body health. If your cells are weak and unhealthy as they age, your body will likely become weak and unhealthy too. Science agrees: a functioning autophagy is one of the most important mechanisms for a healthy and long life

How Can We Activate Autophagy?

As our age increases, autophagy decreases. With the numerous health-promoting effects attributed to autophagy, many people ask themselves: how can I activate autophagy?

Put simply, if we take in less energy through nutrition our cells use alternative energy sources which induces autophagy. Energy for our body comes from within provided by our cells themselves. It is therefore not surprising that a reduction in energy supply, such as by fasting, stimulates our cells to autophagy.

Right now, the most well-known method to activate autophagy is intermittent fasting. This requires calorie restriction for hours or even days combined with short eating periods. Using this approach, our cells are forced to change their source of energy and autophagy is activated.

As our age increases, autophagy decreases. With the numerous health-promoting effects attributed to autophagy, many people ask themselves: how can I activate autophagy?

Put simply, if we take in less energy through nutrition our cells use alternative energy sources which induces autophagy. Energy for our body comes from within provided by our cells themselves. It is therefore not surprising that a reduction in energy supply, such as by fasting, stimulates our cells to autophagy.

Right now, the most well-known method to activate autophagy is intermittent fasting. This requires calorie restriction for hours or even days combined with short eating periods. Using this approach, our cells are forced to change their source of energy and autophagy is activated.

Where Does Spermidine Fit In?

Unfortunately, intermittent fasting isn’t an appropriate option for everyone. Those who have health risks, are pregnant, or are sick should not fast.

Roughly 10 years ago, however, scientists at the University of Graz, under the leadership of Professor Frank Madeo, discovered that spermidine naturally triggers autophagy. The problem is as we age, our ability to produce natural levels of spermidine decreases. That left us with no way to naturally replenish our spermidine levels...until recently

Science has discovered that supplementing spermidine could have the same effect as intermittent fasting in regards to autophagy. Spermidine supplements are an option for those looking to support cellular health without worrying about the stressful side effects of intermittent fasting.