Longevity Briefs: Can Fasting Help Cells Cope With Damage?

Posted on 4 September 2020

Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research that caught the attention of our Oxford researchers due, to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: Cells use a process called autophagy (meaning ‘self-eating’) to eliminate and recycle damaged components. This process becomes defective with age, putting cells under increasing stress and contributing to chronic diseases of ageing. For this reason, we are searching for ways to enhance autophagy. Two promising approaches are fasting and calorie restriction.

What did the researchers do: In this paper, researchers reviewed evidence from previous studies that calorie restriction and fasting can promote autophagy.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: The evidence overwhelmingly supports that autophagy is promoted in a wide variety of tissues by food deprivation. For certain sources of cellular damage, fasting and calorie restriction are the best promoters of autophagy besides genetic factors. This adds to the evidence that fasting and calorie restriction are effective at promoting longevity.

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