Beyond Detox: How Fasting “Cleanses” Your Cells

There’s a little-known way your body does cleanse itself.

Detox diets, juice cleanses and full-body cleanses are becoming more and more popular.

Most of these kind of cleanses/detox are marketed as a way to rid your body of toxins, improve the functioning of your internal organs, help you age better and lose weight.

But do they actually work?

First of all, we have to understand how the body works because some of these products are created with a lack of this understanding and they aren’t accurate with what’s really happening in your body.

In short-term, these “cleanses” don’t really do much beyond depriving your body of essential macronutrients and of course people can lose some weight with these kind of cleanses but these juices are not doing a magic work; it’s actually the lack of food and restriction of calories.

So is there actually a way to ”clean” our body?

Yes, there is a way and it’s simpler than you think but the reason maybe you probably haven’t heard of it before it’s because this is not something that can be bought or ‘consumed’ through our diet, instead it’s a by-product of the normal functioning of your body.

So the good news is that our bodies already have the ability to clean their self and this is the only and real cleanse that occurs at the cellular level and It’s called Autophagy.

What is Autophagy?

The term ‘autophagy’ comes from the Greek words ‘phagy’ meaning eat, and ‘auto’ meaning self: “self-eating”.

It’s a natural process within your body that is responsible for degrading damaged and defective organelles, cell membranes and proteins and has essential roles in survival, development and homeostasis.

In other words, it’s a natural cleansing process in the body that allows cells to essentially “eat” themselves.

When autophagy was initially discovered more than 40 years ago, it was perplexing as to why the cell would self-digest its own components. The simplest hypothesis was that autophagy serves as a cellular rubbish-disposal mechanism.

However, since then numerous researches have found that this ‘self-eating’ process not only rids the cell of intracellular misfolded or long-lived proteins, superfluous or damaged organelles, and invading microorganisms, but also is an adaptive response to provide nutrients and energy on exposure to various stresses.

This automatic process works when the body is in a fasted state. When cells are starved, they begin to digest and recycle their own proteins and other important molecules to be used for fuel and to regenerate new healthy cells. As they recycle and renew these valuable parts, they also discard any toxic waste products, pathogens or dead or damaged components.

This helps clear the body of toxins and damaged cells, all which contribute to aging, inflammation and increased risk of chronic disease.

So basically It’s your body’s ability to regenerate and become better from the deeper level.

Link to fasting

Autophagy occurs naturally within the body, but many people wonder if they could induce autophagy using specific triggers.

2018 review of the existing research strongly suggests that both fasting and calorie restriction can induce autophagy.

Fasting and calorie restriction puts the body’s cells under stress. When a person limits the amount of food that goes into their body, their cells receive fewer calories than they need to function correctly.

When this happens, the cells must work more efficiently. In response to the stress brought on by fasting or calorie restriction, autophagy causes the body’s cells to clean out and recycle any unnecessary or damaged parts.

Is Autophagy essential to our survival?

Everyday there are millions and billions of cellular reactions happening in our body, and over time, some of these reactions can lead to damage. But our body has its own built in mechanics that can identify and repair this damage.

Without the proper repair we can build up broken cellular machinery (like damaged mitochondria) and an accumulation of damaged mitochondria can cause damage within your cells and the cells around. This process has been linked to an accelerated aging rate, and many types of chronic disease.

Cells would not thrive or survive without it and It’s essential to staying young and healthy.

Unfortunately, the autophagy response tends to decrease as we age.

The key to longevity may then be in increasing our cells’ autophagic ability.


*This article has informational purposes only, even if this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star