There’s something that a
lot of people that practice intermittent fasting talk about. And that’s autophagy. Now I’m going to explain what
autophagy is in just a second. But the purpose of this
video is to teach you that due to the fact that
your body produces ketones during a fast, autophagy
isn’t quite as important as you might be thinking. Okay, so autophagy is this.
Autophagy is where your body has sort of a built-in
cellular recycling process. Think of it like your
cell’s little Pac-Man. And this Pac-Man opens
up and eats all these old components of the cell that
don’t need to be used anymore. Now, why is this important
when it comes down to fasting? Well, think about this. Let’s say you haven’t
eaten for 16-20 hours. You don’t have any nutrients coming in, so your body has no
choice but to try to find and conserve food from other places. So it takes components
of the cell that are not really being used, or
fragmented portions of DNA that aren’t being used,
and uses them as fuel. It’s basically recycling
its own components in an effort to gain energy. It’s really, really powerful stuff. But, the problem is that
so many people believe that autophagy is the end all be all. So for example, they’ll be
afraid to consume something because it might stop autophagy. Or, they’re afraid that
their fast isn’t going to be as effective because
they’re not getting into that stage of autophagy. Well, I want to explain how
the ketogenic diet actually triggers autophagy, and how
autophagy is not necessarily everything you have to bank on. You see, there’s a study that
is published in the journal PNAS that found, at a 48
hour fast, autophagy tends to decline, now, my reason in
mentioning this is because, as autophagy declines, it
doesn’t mean that the fast is no longer beneficial,
you see, they always have kind of a give and a take. When you are fasting for
a long period of time, you have an upregulation of ketones. Okay, the longer that you fast,
generally, the more ketones that you’re going to have in your blood. Now, ketones have a
world of benefits, right? They have genetic properties,
they have, ultimately, macronutrient properties,
they have abilities to fuel the brain, they’re a very powerful thing. But, as ketones upregulate,
we tend to see a little bit of a decline in autophagy at
the micro-level with fasting. And this is simply because
the ketones that are elevating throughout the fast are
actually stopping the breakdown of proteins, now this is a good thing in a lot of different ways, right? The longer that you fast,
the more protein you actually conserve, it’s contrary to
what most people would say. So, when you fast for
a long period of time, the ketones preserve your proteins. And when your proteins are
being preserved, you have more protein in your bloodstream, which actually turns off autophagy. So my point in saying
this once again is that we can’t dictate whether
a fast is good or bad, only on autophagy. We really should be paying
attention to our fast based on our ketone levels,
because that’s the benefit that we’re actually
getting from everything. So, don’t get me wrong, autophagy
is good, and there’s a lot of ways that the ketogenic
diet, in and of itself, can actually induce autophagy
through other mechanisms. But, for the simple on-off switch that has to do with
fasting, the measurement that you should be looking
at, more than anything, is your ketones. You’re going to drive yourself
absolutely up the wall trying to wonder if you have
a high degree of autophagy occurring or not, and the fact
is, unless you have access to a multi-million dollar
lab, you’re never going to know, but the one
thing that you can do, is to actually test your
blood, and test your ketones. Higher ketones mean deeper into a fast. Don’t worry about what
your autophagy level is at that point in time. And remember, your
autophagy’s going to change from organ-to-organ. So, just one last thing to leave you with, just because autophagy
is high in your liver at one point in time, doesn’t
mean that it’s not high in your muscles at another point in time. Always going to be
changing, always revolving, depending on what we are
doing, and what our lifestyle is at that very point in time. But the one common denominator,
the one gold standard that we can always lean on
is testing your ketones. And that’s why you leave
the measuring to the meter, and leave that guesswork
out of the equation. I’m Thomas DeLauer, and I’ll see you in the next Keto-Mojo video.

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