Autophagy with intermittent fasting

(Swami) #1

Doing intermittent fasting for some time and wish to know how to instigate autophagy. Problem is, I have to depend on others so can’t do a full keto diet every day but a few meals here and there. I don’t fully understand when autophagy kicks in and when the benefits kick in and how long it lasts. I am eating at 3 pm and 7 pm so thats about 19 hours fasting. My plan is to follow keto the day before, then fasting from the evening meal to the next evening or 24 hr fast. So this should instigate autophagy but I just don’t understand enough, so need some advice. If this is the wrong place to post, excuse me for my first post. Thanks.

(Robin) #2

Welcome! This question is out of my wheelhouse. But others (smarter others) will weigh in soon. Glad you are here.


Hi there.

I more or less do what you do, OMAD sometimes, but usually 2MAD.
I don’t think I’ve done more than a 24hr fast; and I’m not sure that that is long enough for autophagy but is great for weight loss.

Others on here do periodic much longer fasts than that, I think usually for autophagy and to address medical issues. They’ll be able to tell you a lot more.

(Swami) #4

Thanks, I’m doing it because i’m 79 years young and have a few health issues that autophagy would help a lot. Just the intermittent fasting is great but I need to do more. Fairing well with the fasting.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #5

I don’t think anyone does. Autophagy is a catabolic process, and it is most prominent when insulin is low(er) and glucagon is high(er). So when we are in ketosis, autophagy is more prominent than when we are in glucose-burning and fat-storing mode. As Benjamin Bikman points out, the states of fasting ketosis and nutritional ketosis are very similar metabolically, and they are both states in which autophagy is more prominent (it goes on in the background all the time, of course). There doesn’t seem to be any way to measure autophagy, that I’ve heard of, anyway.

All proteins have a lifespan, whether it be measured in seconds or years, so autophagy cannot ever completely cease, but we can do our best to stay in a metabolic state in which catabolic processes are favoured. So keep on ketoing on. As long as you keep your insulin/glucagon ratio low, autophagy will be free to do its thing.

(Michael) #6

Might want to read through Fasting for Autophagy

(Robin) #7

Hey! Happy Birthday!

(Richard M) #8

Here is my 2 cents. No research behind just observation. I love history. So when I see a person live into their 70,80&90 during the 1700-early 1900 I am in awe. No modern medicine to speak of. Did that happen because Of there very few frequencies of eat or what they ate. Lewis and Clark ate beaver tail and other animals. They lived but than on the other spectrum the donner family ate each other to live. No idea how long they past that. Clark died at 35 and Lewis at 68. And there are a lot of other examples. But for people to live that long back then without penicillin, to me is unbelievable. Again my 2 cents worth. With evidence. But great question.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #9

The average life expectancy a century or more ago was low, mostly because a high percentage of children died in infancy or childhood. (The churchyard of my old parish back in New York is loaded with tombstones with either a single date or with dates less than ten years apart.)

The Plains Indians of the U.S., back in the days before they were forced off their land and put on the white man’s diet, were noted for the number of centenarians in their society (Gary Taubes discusses this in one of his books). They were also noted for their tall stature, robust health, and vitality.

If you read Jane Austen’s novels, you will get a glimpse of how much fear any injury or fever caused back then. People regularly died from infections.

(Doug) #10

Hi Swami. 24 hours of fasting = maybe a little autophagy, probably a very little bit, if any, in my opinion.

Eating ketogenically before fasting can make some difference, but not much in the grand scheme of things here (autophagy) - again, my opinion.

There are different types and levels of autophagy. Some of our tissues, like most of the nervous system, are supposed to have a low level of autophagy going on all the time, because they need “house cleaning” due to their cellular makeup.

In muscles, exercise itself can induce some autophagy.

Along with differing causes, there are different types of autophagy - microautophagy, macroautophagy, and chaperone-mediated autophagy. For fasting, what we are aiming at is macroautophagy from nutrient deprivation.

It takes some time for nutrients to be depleted, and for the body to react in the ways that increase autophagy. It’s heavily dependent on the food “pipeline” getting emptied out, and blood sugar dropping/insulin decreasing + glucagon increasing along with the decline/increase of the chemicals that control macroautophagy the most in humans - mTOR and AMPK.

At 12 hours of human fasting, the small intestine may not even be emptied yet. The stomach has to empty, and then it takes a while for food to leave the small intestine - it doesn’t empty out all at once like everything is going through it as a ‘plug.’ There is also a ‘post-absorptive’ phase after the digestion of food is mostly complete - blood chemistry takes some time to move from substantially the ‘fed state’ to the ‘fasting state.’ After that, glycogen depletion begins, and this can take a day or two.

Autophagy doesn’t go from “Off to On,” as simple as that. It increases - or is initiated, depending on the tissue in question and the local conditions - and then increases some more…

18 - 24 hours: Maybe autophagy is being stimulated a little bit. Coming from a keto diet could make some difference here, i.e. insulin/glucagon is likely more favorable. But the elephant in the room is that until recently protein was being consumed, and that’s the biggest down-regulator for autophagy there is. (There is a decent argument that fat, due to its vastly less effect, may not matter too much, i.e. ‘fat fasting’ could mean substantially the same increase in autophagy. What difference would there be, between eating exogenous fat and “eating our own fat”? It’s a question.)

Day 2 - Day 3: Glycogen gets depleted and the body now really knows that fasting is the deal. Autophagy is increasing.

Beyond Day 3: Insulin continues to decline and glucagon continues to rise. The picture, there, and for mTOR and AMPK, continues to get more favorable for autophagy through at least 5 or 6 days of fasting. If it’s still going up in a mouse at 2 days, then that would equate to a month or many months for a human. I’m not saying that human autophagy is still increasing at a month or more of fasting - I don’t know this and I don’t think it’s been studied, certainly not well studied.

(Megan) #13

Are you ok Coop? If you’re pissed off about something, start a new thread and have a vent.


Apologies again folks.

I need to learn when to turn the computer off.

I mean no offence whatsoever btw. Hopefully you can forgive my temporary myopic (yet innocuous) short rants. I’m too quick to fire off posts sometimes, without thinking about them.

I’ll adjust that. Thanks.

(Kirk Wolak) #15

Yeah, everything I know/experienced about autophagy says the closest thing we can measure is your GKI (Glucose Ketone Index). Because it is an estimate for how much INSULIN you are producing. Insulin being a Master Hormone, and basically released as part of NUTRIENT DETECTION. So, if you don’t take in nutrients, you don’t squirt out INSULIN (at least not enough to halt/lower ketones, etc).

Dr. Boz is big on using this, as she used it to treat her mothers cancer with amazing results.

So, you probably need a bit more time than 24hrs without food for the deeper autophagy. As others have said autophagy is highly variable and highly specific. You can take in a MINOR amount of nutrients and stop autophagy, but when the nutrients are gone, you slip back into autophagy. So, keep that in mind. Also, some notes that BLACK coffee augments/stimulates autophagy.

Try to get 36hrs or 48hrs… Dr. Fung has a book on Fasting, well worth reading.

You don’t have to fast ALL the time. You cycle onto a longer fast, then back to normal.
For months, I would fast saturday/sunday. That would give me 60+hrs of fasting every week!
I felt I gained a lot of ground with that. Lost plenty of loose skin, etc.


(Robert) #16

Having done fasts from OMAD (frequent) to multi days, everything from one to seven days. I can honestly say I’ve no idea how and when AP kicked in. I suspect that there may be a lag between the fast and the effects of AP ( on joints, skin etc) and this makes it harder to know. I do notice a significant improvement in my exercise intensity/ enjoyment in the months after a long fast, (because my joints feel better?) Also a significant reduction in anxiety, and a generally more robust feeling all around. But still no clarity around AP. I just think it is awesome whenever anyone breaks away from the norm and goes keto or tries intraday fasts! Kudos to you…

(Wendy) #17

Dr Ken Berry has a great uTube video. On autophagy. And loose skin.
Actually gave me personally some hope!!

(Robert) #18

I’ll check it out - tks

(Wendy) #19


(Doug) #20

I agree, Robert, and there is a lot there. I never thought about joints and autophagy, specifically. There is a sense of ‘lightness’ for me when fasting, but it’s likely more mental/emotional than physical. There is some actual weight decline from water loss (as well as ~.5 lb or ~225 grams of fat per day), and also probably less pressure on and around joints stemming from that and from lower inflammation levels.

Over the long term, does joint health improve from fasting? Good question… :slightly_smiling_face:

For getting rid of loose skin via autophagy, it’s a highly variable and individual thing. Some people never end up with much loose skin from large amounts of lost weight, and some seem to never get rid of any skin.

Some, after big weight loss, having lots of loose skin, find that fasting really gets rid of it, and some find it doesn’t help at all. I’ve read hundreds of people’s accounts of their own fasting and you never know beforehand.

My own experience with fasting ( about 20 fasts from 3 to 12 days in length in 2017/2018) was having raised scars on both legs decline and even disappear entirely - on one leg they were no longer raised; on the other you couldn’t even see the outline of where they had been. I’d had these scars for 6+ years, and when I noticed what was happening, it was like magic. I’m convinced of the “self-eating” thing, but how it will play out for a given individual remains to be seen.