All things Autophagy: What you need to know

All things Autophagy: What you need to know

Autophagy is a process you might have heard at some point in biology class but might have forgotten all about. Not to worry, we have summarized all the facts about autophagy that are interesting and worth remembering!

What is Autophagy

The term “autophagy” is derived from the Greek meaning, “eat itself” which in a nutshell, is what this process entails. More specifically, It is a fundamental process in the body that maintains optimal cellular health and balance by performing its own removal of cellular waste, which repairs damage, restores, and rejuvenates cells throughout the body. Yes, that’s right think “BENJAMIN BUTTON”. This process is literally how we REVERSE AGE!

Not so good- Autophagy occurs when the body’s cells are deprived of nutrients or oxygen, or damaged in some capacity from stress, poor diet, etc.  But on the flip- side: This cellular process also removes misfolded or aggregated proteins and is essential to maintain cellular homeostasis, and you know we are all about homeostasis at SWW!

How it Works

Autophagy-related proteins (ATGs) allow the process of autophagy to occur by creating structures called autophagosomes. Autophagosomes carry the cellular waste to the part of the cell called the lysosome. The lysosome then eats the cellular waste and uses the raw materials to make new parts. Autophagy works when the body is sleeping, and in a natural “fasted” state. You’ve heard us say it a million times, Feast, Famine, Feast Famine repeat. Being in a fasted states HELPS promote autophagy!

The Health Benefits 

By activating autophagy, you can support whole-body health because the body’s cells are functioning optimally. Here are some of the health benefits:

  • Improved metabolic function- Since autophagy is responsible for removing and replacing damaged cell parts, it includes the mitochondria, which helps us burn fat and makes ATP. The mitochondria is often filled with toxic build up that can damage cells. Autophagy can help cells work more efficiently and promote better mitochondrial function to support a healthier metabolism. 
  • Healthier aging- Autophagy can help support the reduction of toxic cells that can promote the development of degenerative conditions. 
  • Healthier skin- skin cells engulf bacteria that may damage your body. It is important to support them as they clear out optimally. 

How to Improve Autophagy

Here is a list of foods that can help boost autophagy function:

  • Blueberries
  • Ceylon cinnamon
  • Green tea
  • Turmeric 
  • MCT oil 
  • Avocado
  • Walnuts
  • Wild caught fatty fish
  • Extra virgin olive oil



Autophagy: cellular and molecular mechanisms - Glick - 2010 - The Journal of Pathology - Wiley Online Library

Full article: Autophagy (

Autophagy: The Last Defense against Cellular Nutritional Stress | Advances in Nutrition | Oxford Academic (

A Review of the Role of Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy - PMC (