Autophagy: how not to grow old, devouring oneself

It turns out that it’s not entirely what you eat. The fact is that he eats you.

Neuroscientists from Atlantic University of Florida using a small worm C. elegans for the first time demonstrated how autophagy is the process of getting rid of debris when cells "eat" those residues that they produced through metabolism, along with the absorption of food through the gastrointestinal tract, together with olfactory neurons affect the aging process, subject to dietary restrictions.

The study revealed that autophagy is a major component in the neuroendocrine system, which allows sensory neurons and nutrient levels to work together to increase lifespan. It also reduces insulin growth factor.

These new discoveries can help understand the process of human aging, increase lifespan, and develop anti-obesity drugs.

Thus, the systematic restriction of oneself in food, but without real fasting, triggers not only the breakdown of excess fats, but activates the autophagy process, that is, the cells begin to get rid of damaged organelles inside themselves, partially denatured proteins, and, in principle, they begin to devour all defective or already dead cells. The body essentially begins to feed on itself, cleansing itself of accumulated waste along the way.

But there is a nuance. The study found that it was not only about calorie restriction, but also food odors. A study of fruit flies showed that they lived on a strict diet for longer. But as soon as they were allowed to smell food, not even eat it, the whole effect of prolonging life sharply fell down.

Now that scientists know that autophagy affects the aging process, they want to find out which proteins regulate it, and find its inhibitors and activators. Together with the news about the lengthening of telomeres, which we wrote about yesterday, this opens up interesting opportunities for extending the life of a person in the future.

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