Disease has been on the rise for multiple decades. It seems quite clear that things aren’t really getting any better, and with a growing population, the rate of chronic illness seems to be getting worse. On top of that, we have a medical ‘industry’ full of good-hearted people who want to help people, and are helping people, that’s plagued by fraud and deception. One that is not really interested in healing people, but rather, in profiting off of their sickness. There are countless instances of this. For example, a study that was published last week in the British Medical Journal by researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen showed that pharmaceutical companies were not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug trials.
The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful. — Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard Professor of Medicine and Former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal
The above study is one of many examples, with various medications for various diseases. This is extremely concerning, especially given the fact that various experts estimate more than 100,000 people die every year in the United States alone from prescription drug use. (source)
There doesn’t seem to be much attention paid to the environment we choose to surround ourselves with, the foods we eat, and detoxifying our bodies. The answer to everything from the world of medicine seems to come in the form of drugs, which is not always the best option depending on your situation.
Ask yourself: why are so many people getting sick all the time? Why is disease constantly on the rise? One explanation that many experts are putting forth is the environment. We live on a planet where simply breathing in the air from any major city is a health hazard. Our cosmetics, self-care products, and common everyday household products are littered with hormone disrupting chemicals, and the food most of us eat has been linked to multiple diseases. Roundup herbicide has been found in the urine of people across Europe, and the list goes on and on. It’s no secret that we are currently living in a toxic environment, and for those looking to stay in good health, detoxifying is something important we can to do instead of putting so much stress on our internal organs to do it on their own. We need to assist them and we can do it in several different ways.
The body does a great job of detoxifying itself on its own, and it’s quite amazing. Perhaps this is why some people can smoke, drink, and eat poorly for most of their life and still survive into old age, but that’s not true for the majority of people.
Autophagy means “self” eating, and it’s a process where your body cleans out various toxins and recycles damaged cell components.
The video above provides a more in-depth biochemical review of the autophagy processes involved in health and disease.
Dr. Colin Champ, a board-certified radiation oncologist and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center explains it well:
Think of it as our body’s innate recycling program. Autophagy makes us more efficient machines to get rid of faulty parts, stop cancerous growths, and stop metabolic dysfunction like obesity and diabetes. (source)
One of the best ways to detoxify your system, and slow the aging process (thus greatly reducing the risk of various age-related diseases) is to assist your body in the process of autophagy.
Exercise is a great way to fight disease. Our bodies are built to move, which is something many people don’t do enough of. Exercising alone has been shown to kill cancer cells, because it’s an excellent way to boost the autophagy process.
Clinical trials were conducted to help detoxify people from the Gulf War, and in doing so, results showed that that using a combination of exercise, sauna (detox through sweating), and niacin supplementation, maximized the elimination of toxins through the skin. Not only that, exercise does cause an increase in blood flow and vasodilation.
Scientists have also engineered mice to have glowing green autophagosomes and found that the rate at which the mice were demolishing their own cells (in a healthy way) increased significantly after they ran for 30 minutes on a treadmill. The rate also continued to increase as they ran past the 30 minute mark.
All of this is discussed by Dr. Yu, in the interview below that was conducted with Dr. Joseph Marcela discussing those studies. You can check it out for more information.
A number of scientists have been studying fasting these days, and the results are quite remarkable to say the least. One thing it definitely does is boost autophagy. Fasting has a number of other benefits, including regenerating new stem cells, fighting cancer, and reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
When you supply fuel to your mitochondria when they don’t need it, they leak electors that enhance reactive oxygen species as free radicals, and free radicals are extremely damaging. Supplying fuel to your mitochondria (via food) is the opposite of fasting.
Mitochondria is the power source to your cells, and these free radicals damage it.
Here is a video (TEDx) talk given by Mark Mattson, the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University, and one of the foremost researchers in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying multiple neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. In it, he describes how fasting can reverse multiple age-related diseases.
Basically, when you take a look at caloric restriction studies, many of them show a prolonged lifespan as well as an increased ability to fight chronic disease.
Calorie restriction (CR) extends life span and retards age-related chronic diseases in a variety of species, including rats, mice, fish, flies, worms, and yeast. The mechanism or mechanisms through which this occurs are unclear.
The quote above is from a review of the literature that is more than 10 years old. The work presented here is now showing some of these mechanisms that were previously unclear.
A study published in the June 5 issue of Cell Stem Cell by researchers from the University of Southern California showed that cycles of prolonged fasting protect against immune system damage and, moreover, induce immune system regeneration. They concluded that fasting shifts stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal. It triggers stem cell based regeneration of an organ or system. (source)
Human clinical trials were conducted using patients who were receiving chemotherapy. For long periods of time, patients did not eat, which significantly lowered their white blood cell counts. In mice, fasting cycles “flipped a regenerative switch, changing the signalling pathways for hematopoietic stem cells, which are responsible for the generation of blood and immune systems.” (source)
This means that fasting kills off old and damaged immune cells, and when the body rebounds, it uses stem cells to create brand new, completely healthy cells.
We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system. . . . When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged. What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. – Valter Longo, corresponding author (source)
One well-known option is the “5:2 Diet.” On the 5:2 plan, you cut your food down to one-fourth of your normal daily calories on fasting days (about 600 calories for men and about 500 for women), along with plenty of water and tea. On the other five days of the week, you can eat normally. Another way to do it is to restrict your food intake between the hours of 11 am and 7 pm daily, while not eating during the hours outside of that time. This is also explained in the documentary below.
If you’re interested in learning more about fasting, below is an excellent documentary that features some of the current research being conducted by the world’s leading experts in the field.
Watch What You Eat & Monitor Your Protein Intake
This is really a no-brainer: eating healthy organic fruits and vegetables is important. One factor to consider is your protein intake. Today we seem to be bombarded with the idea that a lot of protein is necessary, especially if you are working out quite a bit. Although this may be true, over doing it on protein is definitely not a good idea.
It’s important to watch your protein intake when talking about autophagy, because too much protein will shut down autophagy, which is why it might not be a bad idea to limit your protein intake to about 40-70 grams a day, depending on your body bass. The usual formula health experts use to calculate how much protein your body requires is one gram of protein for every kilogram of lean body ass, or one-half gram per pound of lean body mass.
One of the quickest ways to shut down autophagy is to eat large amounts of protein. What this will do is stimulate IGF-1 and mTOR, which are potent inhibitors of autophagy. This is expanded upon by the scientists in the documentary linked above if you’re interested in learning more.