The Cellular Processes essential for Optimal Mental and Physical Health, as you Age

\When your kitchen gets messy because you are not washing up, or consistently removing any uneaten food from the benchtops, table, bin, cupboards and fridge, then the refuse is likely overflow to the rest of the house—your bedroom, lounge, bathroom.  This can make living in the house uncomfortable, and even contribute to your getting sick.

When you start to feel sluggish and unwell, or you develop a disease state involving pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, your body is probably polluted.  In order to eliminate the possibility of developing these disease states, you really need to change your lifestyle every now and then, in order to let your body clean itself (and eliminate disease).  Then it can be better prepared to help the immune system combat disease.

There are two ‘clean-up’ processes occurring within every cell of your body.  One is called ‘autophagy’—the body’s natural recycling process within a cell—and the other is called ‘exosomal waste removal’ which removes rubbish from a cell

(Have a look at this diagram of part of the plasma membrane of a single cell, showing the clean-up pathways).

Autophagy
The word ‘autophagy’ is derived from the Greek language.  ‘Auto’ means self, and ‘phagy’ means to eat—self-eating.  When autophagy is activated in cells, they start ‘eating’ up unused or damaged cytoplasmic proteins and organelles.This damage occurs over time through normal cellular metabolism of carbohydrate molecules, in a process called ‘oxidative stress’.  Over years, oxidative stress erodes cellular membranes, and ‘corrodes’ mitochondria (the tiny organelles powering your cells).  This leads to poor cell health and heralds cell dysfunction.  When this extends to whole organ dysfunction, then you don’t feel as well as you should.In the process of autophagy, the damaged cytoplasmic proteins and organelles are broken down into their basic amino acids, and then released back into the cytoplasm to be used again and again.  Overall, autophagy recycles old damaged tissues for reuse.

Through this continuous recycling of resources, cells can fulfil their metabolic needs and renew organelles.  This occurs mostly during the times when there is just the right amount of nutrition for normal physical activity.  In a sense, autophagy helps cells to stay healthy—which allow you to maintain that energetic youthful feeling.

If autophagy is insufficient to clear-up a cell’s polluted cytoplasm, the cells can always export metabolic wastes through an ‘Exosomal Waste Removal Pathway’, to reduce the pollution.

Exosomal Waste Removal
Exosomal Waste Removal is the collecting and removal of accumulate unusable nucleic acids, proteins, sugars and fats inside a cell.  The process starts with a tiny bud forming out of the inner membrane of a cell, and grows by gathering any unused debris occurring in the cell cytoplasm (like vacuum cleaners).  When these buds are large (multivesicular bodies, or Mvb), they translocate through the cell walls, taking the metabolic waste with them.  When this happens they are known as ‘exosomes’—they are the same size, and look exactly like coronaviruses (very difficult to tell them apart, even with electron microscope magnification).

Mostly the contents gathered up into the large buds, are then broken down into their basic amino acids by autophagy.  A much smaller volume of ‘rubbish’ that just cannot be used, is then eventually removed through the exosomes.

The exosomes can be excreted from the body, however they do have the ability to transfer their contents (mostly as non-coding RNAs) into other cells as a form of intercellular chemical communication.  This can influence the metabolism, and function of the cells into which they translocate.

Cross-talk Between the Processes of Autophagy and Exosomal Waste Removal
Multiple studies have examined the ‘cross-cooperation’ between the exosomal and autophagic activity, and the way this affects both physiological and pathological processes.  The amount and type of exosomal waste removal appears to be coordinated primarily by the autophagy process, as it directs cell homeostasis.

However, if the process of autophagy becomes restricted, it cannot direct the Exosomal Waste Removal processes.  When this happens, biologically active RNAs can be translocated out of the cell without having them broken down into their basic amino acids (as is directed by the autophagy process).

If there is a disease in one cell, then it can be translocated by the exosomes into neighbouring cells—and this phenomonen is linked to diseases, such as cancer progression, cardiovascular diseases,  liver diseases, pulmonary diseases, renal diseases, diabetic nephropathy.  It is strongly suspected that this furthers epigenetic processes.

Thus, a breakdown in cross-communication between the exosomal and autophagic pathways, is another way to spread diseases between cells (besides pathogen infection).  This is more than likely what is happening to older and immunocompromised people, who are dying of CD8T-cell initiated cytokine storms—which are triggered by junk RNAs being transferred exosomally from cell to cell, and then displayed on the surface receptors of lung cells, as signals for the T-cells to attack).

For more information on this read:
http://www.discoverymedicine.com/Jieping-Lin/2019/05/cross-regulation-between-exosomal-and-autophagic-pathways-therapy-targets/

How Autophagy Works
For autophagy to start, your cells must receive a cleanup signal from your body, which is initiated by a change in the relationship between two ‘Nutrient-availability-sensing’ pathways:

One pathway activates autophagy (known as the AMP-activated protein kinase pathway), while the other inhibits autophagy (known as the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway, or mTor)

The AMP-activated protein kinase pathway activates when certain of your cells need a boost in nutrition, and you are not eating regular meals, but are exercising adequately.  This starts the process of autophagy.

On the other hand, the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway occurs when cellular replication and tissue growth are not needed, because you are not exercising, but you are constantly eating carbohydrates.  Autophagy stops when this happens.

Thus, if we continuously eat a lot of carbohydrate foods, day-in and day-out, when cellular replication and tissue growth are not essential (when we are not exercising), then autophagy is not occurring, and cells build up internal oxidative stress.  This can herald cellular dysfunction and disease through cytoplasm pollution, as well as an incresed possibility of transferring  disease athrough exosomal RNA waste removal.  Then we start to feel sluggish and unwell.

Why Induce Autophagy?
Impaired autophagy has been linked to many types of chronic non-communicable diseases.  Some are seriously decreasing the quality of life, such as autoimmune diseases cardiovascular diseases and cancers.  Some just make us feel old before out time.

There are many animal studies that are now showing that increasing autophagy increases life-span, improves metabolism, reduces type-2 diabetes, protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and dementia, reduces the risk of heart disease and helps remove damaged cell proteins that can lead to a cell becoming cancerous.

Fasting or Intermittent Fasting Activates Autophagy
Going long periods without food, say for a week, will induce more autophagy than going without food for a day.  When we fast in a traditional sense, we stop eating any food/drink (except water) for a minimum of four days.  A traditional one-day fast requires four days to get into the fast, and one day to fast—five days.  Within 24 hours of starting to go on a fast, the process of autophagy is beginning, and broader cellular reconstruction increases over the next four days.

When cell reconstruction is complete, the cells reverts to normal metabolism and cellular reconstruction, and they function in a healthier manner.  If there is actual starvation, then normal cellular metabolism will degenerate.

Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy intake, well below the level needed to maintain an organism’s life.  It is the most extreme form of malnutrition, and in humans, prolonged starvation for months or years can cause permanent organ damage, and eventually, death.  However fasting and starvation are two different things.

Through this clinic, we have taken clients through fasts lasting more than 30 days.  We have had wonderful health results, but this is not for everyone.  You can read about Angus Barbieri who fasted for 385 days (https://www.diabetes.co.uk/blog/2018/02/story-angus-barbieri-went-382-days-without-eating/).  However this is a special case and I advise you to have experienced help if you wish to fast for any length of time beyond a few weeks.

There are different types of fasting, but all require that your spend time not eating at all.  Intermittent fasting is popular, and is easier to undertake with our modern lifestyle.  It requires close to 18 hours of not eating anything in order to start the process of autophagy, in the average person.  This means skipping at least one meal in a day, and spacing the other meals closer together.

For example, skip the meal at night and have a late breakfast (brunch).  Make it an adequate meal.  On the other hand you could eat an early dinner in the evening, skip breakfast, and have lunch about 1.00 pm.  Do this two or more times a week.

If you have a high carbohydrate diet, the need to eat every few hours may overwhelm you, and you will not be able to do intermittent fasting (you will have strong urges to snack on anything sweet).  It is better to shift your diet more toward a ketone diet first over a month, to then allow you to feel physically comfortable about not eating.  Then you can undertake intermittent fasting and quite enjoy it.

Ketone-style diets have been called fast-mimicking-diets.  Both fasting and strict ketogenic diets change your metabolism in similar ways.

You can increase your chances of overcome any Covid-19 infection, and generally improve your health by:

1. Reducing simple sugar intake by strongly reducing beer, wine, junk foods, fruit, fruit juice, in your diet.

2. Removing all grains (high carbohydrate load and destructive lectins) and substituting grain-free products (buy Deeks healthy bakery products).

3. Combine dancing classes and yoga classes (when social isolation rules are relaxed).

If you wish to go further:

(a) Undertake trials to create your personal Signature Diet.

(b) Take up some type of intermittent fasting on a regular basis.

(c) Take natural medicines that boost autophagy.

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