Autophagy and starvation - what are its benefits?

Autophagy and starvation - what are its benefits?

Autophagy and starvation - what are its benefits?
Autophagy and starvation - what are its benefits?

Fasting is one of the methods that has become more modern 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 what are its benefits.

What is autophagy?

What is autophagy

Autophagy is a method used by the body to cleanse damaged cells.

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

The prefix auto means itself and Phagia eats. So the literal meaning of the word autophagy is to eat yourself.

While this may sound like something you never want to happen to your body, it actually has several health benefits.

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

What is fasting?

What is fasting

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

The most classic method is  periodic fasting,  also known as the   16/8 diet  . This is not eating for a period of 16 hours, but eating the other 8, usually skipping breakfast.

Autophagy can be achieved through starvation. This is because at low blood sugar levels, the body commands you to use the parts of the cells that your body does not use as an energy source.

Fasting and autophagy - Benefits

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

One of the main advantages of autophagy seems to be anti-aging. In fact, it is one of the best ways for the body to create younger cells.

During starvation, autophagy keeps the body functioning by breaking down cellular material and reusing it for other processes. This can have the benefit of strengthening the immune system.

Of course, the body needs energy and cannot last forever, but autophagy gives us more time to find food.

At the cellular level, starvation and autophagy can also reduce the risk of some cancers. Researchers believe that the new research will lead to a better understanding of the process, which will help them focus on autophagy as a cancer therapy.

The benefits of autophagy are:

  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Reduce the risk of some cancers
  • Prevention of type 2 diabetes
  • Improve skin health
  • Promote the regeneration of new cells
  • Cellular anti-aging agent

Diets that allow autophagy

Periodic fasting and a  ketogenic diet  are two eating plans that allow you to achieve autophagy.

Fasting is the most effective way to induce autophagy, although it can also be achieved by reducing carbohydrates in the diet.

A diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates has the same benefits of starvation, in fact it produces the same beneficial metabolic changes.

On a ketogenic diet, you get about 75 percent of your daily calories from fat and only 5-10 percent of your calories from carbohydrates.

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

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

When the body has a low sugar content through starvation or ketosis, the body awakens the recovery mode of survival.


Autophagy is achieved with a fasting diet or a ketogenic diet. This is a beneficial process that removes old cells from the body.

The benefits of autophagy are: they promote the growth of new cells, regulate blood sugar levels and strengthen the immune system.

Some suggest that autophagy and starvation may reduce the risk of certain cancers. However, more research is needed to verify this benefit.


1. Interrupted fasting and health effects. Source

2. Constant starvation and human metabolic health. Source

3. Intermittent fasting: Choosing a healthier lifestyle. Source