There are a lot of diets and questions surrounding the best way to detox.  There are vegetable only detoxes, water and juice cleanses, and maple syrup detoxes. Let’s not forget fasting.   While all of these methods may work depending on the person, there is one form of detox that not only cleanses the intestines but renews the cells, terminates bacteria and viruses, and makes you look and feel better.

This process is known as autophagy.  Autophagy is your body’s method of cleaning house so that you can not only increase your vitality but live longer and recover faster.

How it Actually Works

            Autophagy works so well because once activated, your body is eating itself.  Once your body enters autophagy, the cells go into warrior mode and hunt down dead, infected, old, and tired cells.  Once they are found, the good cells take whatever can be salvaged to use as fuel to create new cells.  In other words, autophagy is something that you want your body to do. 

            Autophagy actually increases the questions of western medicine.  Medicine is used to treat ailments with the prospect of side effects that could cause the onset of new ailments.  Autophagy just puts the body in a state to do what it is made to do naturally and I like the sound of that.

How To Start Autophagy

            Activating autophagy can be tricky and will take discipline and discomfort.  The good news is that you don’t have to be uncomfortable for long.  The first way to get autophagy going in your body is to lower your carbohydrate consumption.  It is basically adhering to a ketogenic diet routine. 

When the body is starved of carbohydrates, it starts feeding on fat.  However, one must part take in the ketogenic diet sensibly as long-term it can cause issues with their kidneys or liver.  For those who weight train heavily, for example, they will need to carb cycle so that they will be able to push through their workouts.  For those that only do light workouts such as cardio or yoga, they can be on a stricter ketogenic-type diet, notice I said type.

If a fad diet has the potential to cause more harm to the body than good, I’m not for it. When I work with my clients to help them create a healthier lifestyle, I don’t promote diets. I promote lifestyles. Eating less than 50 carbs per day is just not ideal long-term, especially for those who are regularly active.

I like the idea that people can lose weight with the keto diet. It is a great way to jumpstart weight loss. However, the body needs carbohydrates, fats, and protein to take care of itself. While how much one needs may be different, the fact that the body needs them stays the same.

Intermittent Fasting

            Intermittent Fasting is when one skips meals or eats within a particular time window.  I personally do intermittent fasting and believe that it is way safer than the ketogenic diet. However, I don’t want to discourage those who are all for the ketogenic diet because of its popularity in society. 

I just believe that there are safer ways to lose weight long-term for both men and women.  It’s ok to carb cycle, which means that it’s ok to eat a keto style diet and then have carb-up days especially for those that are bodybuilding and powerlifting.

            There are tons of benefits to using intermittent fasting.  It improves focus, cognitive function, brain neuroplasticity, which is the cell regeneration process in the brain. If you are an individual who eats carbs regularly, you would need to fast for 48 hours to activate autophagy. 

For women who are trying to lose post-pregnancy weight and tighten loose skin, the 48 hour fast has been shown to be successful in weight loss and the tightening of the skin around the midsection.

            Another interesting fact about autophagy is that during an extended fasting period, autophagy uses cellular material for fuel to keep the body going.  The process won’t continue indefinitely.  However, it will help you produce energy while fasting.


            A study conducted on mice showed that autophagy is the best form of treatment against cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, bacterial and viral infections, inflammatory diseases, aging, and insulin resistance, and even obesity.  When the body doesn’t utilize autophagy it has an increased risk of weight gain, lethargy, higher cholesterol, and even impaired brain function.

There is proof that using autophagy alongside cancer treatments yields better results by reducing the level of side effects and nurturing healthy cells.  That’s good news for cancer patients as I’ve seen a few family members suffer with cancer and they were always tired and not feeling well.


            Autophagy has anti-aging benefits. That’s right!  Anti-aging is something that we all can benefit from since our clocks are always moving forward.  When the cells become stressed, autophagy kicks into high gear to protect the body by creating new cells that increase your lifespan. 


So lets recap on all of the benefits of Autophagy.

  • Removes toxic protein’s from cells that could lead to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
  • Recycles residual protein’s
  • Promotes energy during fasting
  • Treats cancer
  • Fasting is the best way to activate autophagy
  • Helps women recover by tightening up the skin naturally when fasting for at least 48 hours
  • Aids weight loss
  • Aids brain function


            The process of autophagy works less as we get older!! That is probably the worse news about the process.  This makes things like cancer and autoimmune diseases happy.  However, there is still something you can do about it.  This is where diet, exercise, and fasting comes into play. These all promote the activation of autophagy in the body. 

Autophagy has probably been activated in your body naturally millions of times and you were unaware of it. It could have been because you had a poor diet where your body lacked the nutrients it needed to function.  Or it could have been because you skipped a meal because you were traveling to another state.  However, to intentionally activate it as you get older, you are going to have to put in work. 

Max Out Period

            Autophagy maxes out at 72 hours.  Autophagy can be switched on through exercise or fasting.  But when it comes to fasting alone, its intensity increases after 24 hours.  After 36 hours it is at its max and performing an internal clearinghouse.  After 48 hours it increases again by 30%.  At this point, the immune system is experiencing a reset and you will notice inflammation starting to decrease.  Once the 72-hour mark is reached, autophagy ends.

            Fasting for extended periods of 36 hours or more is not recommended more than 2 to 3 times a year.  It seems like resetting the immune system every month would be great but that can do more harm than good.  Fasting too much can cause the creation of gallstones.  It can also induce malnutrition as well as exacerbate wounds.  .  A study done on mice with cutaneous wounds (skin) showed that enhanced autophagy delays healing.  However, when treated with an autophagy inhibitor, the wound healing increased. According to the article, the process of autophagy was not totally stopped but put in a more controlled state.  My take on this is that autophagy is good and bad for wound healing.  I included the link for your review.

            Autophagy is not fully understood which is why if you are thinking of doing it, you should try it 2 to three times within a year and see how your body responds. What works for each person’s body will differ.  Even if you notice a negative difference after one extended fast, you should take a different approach. 

Remember, Don’t play with your body as you only get one! 

If you have tried autophagy, let me know how it was.  If not share your thoughts.  The floor is yours.

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