Intermittent fasting 16 8 Health

Autophagy, from the Greek "auto" (self) and "phagein" (to eat), is a natural, regulated, "destructive" mechanism of the body that breaks down and recycles unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components. It plays a critical role in maintaining cellular health and function and is involved in a variety of biological processes, including cell detoxification, immune response, adaptation to dietary changes and response to various types of cellular stress.

In this article, we will give an overview of our body's own recycling system and explain its importance for our health. We will explore the relationship between autophagy and fasting, particularly intermittent fasting, and explain strategies for activating cell recycling through diet and exercise. In particular, we will discuss the role of spermidine and how this molecule can promote the autophagic process.

But what exactly is autophagy?

Autophagy is a biological process in which cells break down and recycle their own components. This self-cleaning process helps to maintain healthy cells by removing damaged proteins and organelles that could otherwise become toxic. It is a constant cycle of degradation and reconstruction that is essential for cell survival and function.

Autophagy begins with the formation of a double membrane in the cell called a phagophore. This phagophore eventually encloses the cellular waste to be degraded and forms a structure called an autophagosome. The autophagosome then fuses with a lysosome, a kind of recycling center of the cell that contains enzymes that can break down biological material. The products of this degradation process, such as amino acids and fatty acids, are then returned to the cell metabolism.

Autophagocytosis is a specific aspect of autophagy and refers to the process by which large particles or even whole cells are "eaten" by phagocytes, a type of white blood cell. This is an important mechanism for fighting infection and removing dead or damaged cells in our body.

Spermidine Autophagy

Activating autophagy - these options are available

The activation of autophagy can be achieved through various approaches, including fasting, diet and exercise.

Fasting and nutrition

Fasting is one of the best-known methods of activating autophagy. During fasting, the body is forced to draw on stored energy sources and break down harmful or unnecessary cellular components. Intermittent fasting has proven to be particularly effective in stimulating autophagy, where you do not eat for a certain period of time (usually 16 hours) and then eat your meals in a shorter time window.

Diet can also influence autophagy. Certain nutrients, such as polyamines (e.g. spermidine, which is found in foods such as wheat germ, soybeans and mature cheese) can promote the autophagic process.

Sport and exercise

Physical activity, especially endurance and weight training, can also stimulate autophagy. Physical activity produces damaged proteins and organelles in the muscle cells, which can then be broken down by autophagy.

Other methods

There are also other approaches to increasing autophagy, including taking certain supplements. For example, vitamin D3 can promote the activation of autophagy.

Performance Boost Sport Running Cognition Magnesium

Fasting and its effect on the cells

There are different methods of fasting and all can affect autophagy to varying degrees. These include complete fasting, where you don't eat anything at all for a certain period of time, and intermittent fasting, where you go without food for a certain period of time (usually 16 hours).

Intermittent fasting - training for cell health

Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent fasting, plays an important role in activating autophagy. During periods of fasting, the body is forced to draw on internal energy sources and break down unwanted or damaged cell components.

There are various methods of intermittent fasting, which differ in the length of the fasting and eating phases. One common method is 16/8 fasting, where you fast for 16 hours and then eat in an 8-hour window. Some experts recommend this method to trigger the process of autophagy.

In addition, intermittent fasting can strengthen the immune system by stimulating the cells to recycle more.

Studies have shown, particularly in animals, that the more autophagy takes place in an organism, the older it gets and the healthier it remains.

Autophagy & Sport

Sport and physical activity can have a positive influence on autophagy. Several studies have shown that both endurance and strength training can trigger cell recycling in various tissues, including skeletal muscle and brain.

This process appears to play a crucial role in muscle adaptation to training. It helps to maintain muscle health by removing damaged proteins and organelles, thus contributing to muscle regeneration.

The effect of exercise on our body's recycling system can depend on various factors, including age, gender and type of physical activity.

Autophagy & spermidine

Spermidine is a naturally occurring polyamine that plays an important role in autophagy. It is found in various foods and can promote cell health and longevity.

How does spermidine work?

Spermidine is closely associated with the cell's own recycling process by influencing the molecular signaling pathways that are responsible for triggering the autophagy process. You can find out more about this in our magazine article on spermidine.

Spermidine-rich foods and their effects on autophagy

There are many foods that are rich in spermidine. These include wheat germ, soybeans, mushrooms, aged cheese, chicken liver and certain fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, green peppers and pears. Eating these foods can increase the uptake of spermidine and thus stimulate the cells to recycle more.

A diet rich in spermidine-rich foods can help to naturally stimulate autophagy, promoting cellular health and longevity. You can read more about this in this study.

Spermidine High Dose Gluten Free Capsules Chlorella
According to research, the natural substance spermidine is closely linked to autophagy - a process whose discovery was honored with the Nobel Prize a few years ago.

Summary and our conclusion

In summary, incorporating intermittent fasting, a spermidine-rich diet and regular physical activity into your lifestyle can help promote autophagy and thus improve your overall health and longevity.


  • He, Congcong et al. "Exercise-induced BCL2-regulated autophagy is required for muscle glucose homeostasis." Nature, vol. 481,7382 (2012): 511-515. link
  • Kim, J et al. "AMPK and mTOR regulate autophagy through direct phosphorylation of Ulk1." Nature Cell Biology, vol. 13,2 (2011): 132-141. link
  • Mizushima, Noboru et al. "A protein conjugation system essential for autophagy." Nature, vol. 395,6700 (1998): 395-398. link
  • Komatsu, Masaaki et al. "Impairment of starvation-induced and constitutive autophagy in Atg7-deficient mice." The Journal of Cell Biology, vol. 169.3 (2005): 425-434. link
  • Alirezaei, Mehrdad et al. "Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy." Autophagy, vol. 6,6 (2010): 702-710. link
  • Rabinowitz, Joshua D. et al. "Autophagy and metabolism." Science, vol. 330,6009 (2010): 1344-1348. link
  • Madeo, Frank et al. "Spermidine: a novel autophagy inducer and longevity elixir." Autophagy, vol. 6,1 (2010): 160-162. link
  • Pietrocola, Federico et al. "Spermidine induces autophagy by inhibiting the acetyltransferase EP300." Cell Death and Differentiation, vol. 22,3 (2015): 509-516. link
  • Gupta, Vineet K. et al. "Restoring polyamines protects from age-induced memory impairment in an autophagy-dependent manner." Nature Neuroscience, vol. 16,10 (2013): 1453-1460. link
  • Jamart, Cédric et al. "Regulation of autophagy in human skeletal muscle: effects of exercise, exercise training and insulin stimulation." Journal of Physiology, vol. 590.2 (2012): 595-605. link
  • Schwalm, Céline et al. "Activation of autophagy in human skeletal muscle is dependent on exercise intensity and AMPK activation." The FASEB Journal, vol. 29,8 (2015): 3515-3526. link


The images were purchased under licence from Canva.