Did you know your body has the ability to eat itself?
As alarming as that may sound, it’s actually a process that’s crucial for your well-being.
This process is called autophagy – a Greek-derived term that means “self” (auto) “eating” (phagy).
More people are starting to hear of this strange word, as it’s gaining recognition for its role in supporting brain and metabolic health, as well as longevity.
And autophagy is a process so note-worthy, its discovery by Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi, PhD earned a Nobel Prize in 2016. He was awarded this coveted prize for his groundbreaking studies showing how cells break down and recycle damaged material, a process critical to the survival of cells.
Like an ultimate natural body cleanse, autophagy is your body’s way of clearing out old, damaged cells and proteins, and other health-threatening cellular “junk,” and reusing them as building blocks for new proteins or for fuel.
It’s your body’s means of survival – and even protecting itself against threats. For optimal health, your body desperately needs autophagy. It may even dictate how well and how long you live.
Unfortunately, autophagy doesn’t automatically happen when it’s needed. The conditions must be just right. Many factors can keep it from kicking in, including normal aging.
Sometimes, your body’s autophagic mechanisms just become overwhelmed and unable to function properly.
When autophagy doesn’t occur regularly for any reason, your cells can become cluttered with debris and garbage. Your cells can’t divide or function properly when this happens, so cell death as well as poor organ and tissue function can result.
That can lead to rapid aging, fatigue, brain fog, bloating, skin blemishes and metabolic issues, such as problems with weight management and insulin and glucose control.
Here’s something even more concerning… If dead proteins aren’t removed from your body during autophagy, they can travel to your brain and become stuck.
How Autophagy Helps Keep Your Cells Healthy
Autophagy takes place in the part of your cells called lysosomes, which act like “Pac-Men.” Lysosomes use about 50 different types of enzymes to break down unwanted proteins, DNA, RNA, lipids and polysaccharides in your cells.
As seen in the diagram below, the first step in autophagy is called sequestration. A double membrane stretches around and encloses the fluid inside the cell, as well as the mitochondria.
In the second stage, this newly enveloped organelle, called an autophagosome, is formed.
The autophagosome then fuses with a lysosome and becomes an autolysosome. Anything that your body considers debris will merge with the lysosome.
Once the autolysosome is formed, we enter the final stage of breakdown, or degradation. This is where the process of autography really begins to happen.
After degradation, the autolysosome contains broken-down cellular parts - or amino acids. Once they make their way out of the autolysosome, these amino acids are recycled and reused to make healthy new proteins or to provide fuel.
When the process of autophagy switches on, it helps sweep your cells clean, and activates a renewal process where your cells repair themselves.
11 Ways You Can Benefit from Autophagy
For optimal health, you need a clean body and properly functioning cellular pathways.
You also need clean cells. As your mitochondria – or cellular powerhouses – age, they gradually become inefficient and potentially toxic. Autophagy helps remove dysfunctional or damaged mitochondria.
Here are some specific ways you can benefit from autophagy:
- Feel energetic and promote health by providing your cells with energy and the building blocks they need
- Help manage your weight and metabolic health, including glucose and insulin management
- More easily burn fat for fuel instead of glucose
- Help keep your cells and cellular materials, such as DNA, healthy
- Support your immune health and help protect your body against threats
- Promote an already normal inflammatory response
- Support muscle health and help make muscles stronger and more resilient to normal wear and tear
- Promote healthy, firm skin, especially after weight loss
- Support heart health and the growth of heart cells
- Help protect your brain and nervous system, and promote healthy brain and nerve cell growth
- Support your body’s natural detoxification processes to protect tissues and organs
Autophagy regulates cellular energy as well as amino acid, glucose and lipid metabolism.
It’s believed that metabolic issues may be related to a lack of autophagy. When you promote autophagy, the removal of damaged proteins may help you manage your weight and blood sugar.
What Can You Do to Switch on Autophagy?
Because autophagy is so important for keeping your body healthy, you want to do all you can on a regular basis to activate it.
Autophagy is regulated by nutrient signaling pathways in your body, like mTOR (mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin) and AMPK (AMP-activating protein kinase).
These pathways decide whether the body will self-eat itself or start to grow.
So, what can help fire up autophagy – or this cleanup crew in your body?
Intermittent fasting – At the top of the list is the number one thing you can do to encourage autophagy – practice time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting. This is when you confine your eating to a limited window – ideally eight hours or less each day. This primary trigger for autophagy occurs through the activation of AMPK.
Exercise – Regular aerobic exercise helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your cells and tissues by increasing blood flow to your organs. Exercise promotes systemic autophagy through its effects on one of your crucial cellular pathways.
Sleep – Autophagy, along with your brain’s glymphatic system, are highly active during sleep, and especially benefits your brain. This is why it is so important to get enough quality sleep every night.
Diet – A keto diet, or one that is high in fat and low in carbs, deprives your body of glucose, activating the AMPK pathway, which turns on autophagy.
Cold showers or baths – Cold temperatures upregulate AMPK, which activates autophagy.
Stress management – Prolonged stress can create changes in your body that interfere with autophagy.
Certain beverages – Organic green tea, matcha or Earl Grey tea with bergamot oil and Coffee with 1 tsp. MCT oil only (no cream, sugar, butter or collagen) promote autophagy.
Certain foods – Autophagy-inducing foods include antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits like dark leafy greens, broccoli and cabbage, garlic, berries, apples, onions, beets, walnuts and pecans.
The AMPK pathway activates when you exercise and restrict calories and nutrients, such as when you fast or practice intermittent fasting. AMPK, in turn, upregulates autophagy to help your body maintain homeostasis.
Aging is one factor that can impair the AMPK pathway, and thus autophagy.
Support Your Mitochondrial and Metabolic Health With NAD+ – The “Molecule of Youth”
Intermittent fasting – or multi-day fasting – are at the top of the list for autophagy triggers, but can you get the same effects without restricting your eating?
Researchers have isolated plant substances that mimic the effects of calorie restriction to help protect your mitochondria and genetic material, and help slow premature aging.
One of the most significant hallmarks of aging is decreased numbers of healthy mitochondria.
The more undamaged, fully functioning mitochondria you have in your cells, the greater your odds are of living a long healthy life.
As you age, your mitochondria become progressively more damaged through oxidative stresses. Communication breaks down in large part to the age-related decline of a coenzyme found in all living cells – Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+.
Autophagy is connected with NAD+, as both have vital roles in cellular aging, longevity and proper cellular functioning.
NAD+, sometimes called the “Molecule of Youth”, is essential for fueling the activity of sirtuins, including SIRT1 and SIRT3, two master regulators of aging.
SIRT1 and SIRT3 are proteins that require NAD+ to function. All are needed to effectively trigger the formation and optimal functioning of new mitochondria.
Your levels of NAD+ drop as you age, so your sirtuin activity declines as well. That impacts cellular signaling, which leads to mitochondrial dysfunction.
NAD+ levels have an effect on your metabolic health, too, as NAC+ can help protect you from certain negative metabolic effects.
Optimize Your Cellular Health with Biothin® Herbal Autophagy Complex
Biothin® Herbal Autophagy Complex contains four botanicals:
- Pau d’Arco Bark
- White Willow Bark
- Organic King Trumpet Mushroom (mycelium and fruitbody)
- Organic Hawthorn Berry Fruit
Each of these ingredients was selected for its ability to promote autophagy in your body, support mitochondrial and cellular health, and support your metabolic well-being.*
Available in powder form, Biothin® Herbal Autophagy Complex is perfect for drinking by itself as a smooth-tasting herbal tea or mixed with other beverages.
Simply blend with hot water to make a soothing tea or add to your favorite drink or smoothie recipe as a powerhouse addition.
Let’s take a closer look at how these four unique plants help kickstart autophagy – or your cellular housecleaning crew…
How Pau d’Arco Helps Support Your Metabolic Health
A South American tree, pau d'arco, also known as Lapacho, has been used as a tea for a number of health issues since at least 1873.
The most valuable part of the tree is the inner lining of the bark. It contains a substance called beta-lapachone, which powerfully increases, or up-regulates NAD+ inside your cells.
In a study with aged mice, researchers added beta-lapachone from pau d’arco bark into one group’s diet. With no other change in activity level or total calories, the following effects were noted, compared to the control group:
- Increased ratio of NAD+ to NADH in the muscle
- Higher number of intact mitochondria with normal structure, suggesting resistance to mitochondrial breakdown
- Less damage to mitochondrial proteins that reduce the production of damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside the cell
- A decrease in body weight and body mass, compared to the level found in young adult mice
- Lower age-related markers in blood, such as increased glucose, lipids, and leptin
- Increased body temperature, suggesting a higher energy expenditure and body metabolism
- Greater motor performance and muscular strength, as seen by up-regulated genes associated with muscle development
Surprisingly, beta-lapachone benefited the health of the mice even more than calorie restriction. The beta-lapachone group lived significantly longer than the calorie-restricted group, which lived significantly longer than the control group.
In addition, the researchers noted that beta-lapachone protected the mitochondrial structure better than calorie restriction.
Could Pau d’Arco Help You Slim Down and Age Well?
Did you know you have both white and brown fat?
White fat is the fat you can see on your body, whereas the brown fat is much less visible. What you do have lies around your spinal cord, kidneys, neck and between your shoulder blades.
You were born with plentiful brown fat, but you don’t have much left. Brown fat deposits decline dramatically with age.
So, what’s so special about brown fat – and why might you want more?
While white fat stores extra energy, which can make you overweight, brown fat is very rich in mitochondria and burns energy to produce heat. Brown fat also breaks down blood sugar or glucose and fat molecules to maintain body temperature.
Scientists have recently discovered that the presence of brown fat is associated with cardiovascular and metabolic health. The more brown fat you have, the lower your risk for these types of issues.
The loss of brown fat can impact your metabolic function, your cells’ ability to use insulin effectively, and mitochondrial biogenesis, or the production of new mitochondria.
Here’s where the science becomes very exciting… Mice studies show that the beta-lapachone found in pau d’arco bark can convert white fat into brown fat.
And in one study, when they combined beta-lapachone with a high-fat diet, the expression of brown-adipocyte genes turned on, weight gain decreased and the mice expended more energy, compared to the control group of mice.
By using their plentiful mitochondria, brown fat cells may help regulate body weight and protect your vital organs, especially your heart and nervous system.
Help Boost Your Number of Mitochondria as Much as Three-Fold with White Willow Bark
Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells are often used in longevity studies because they act much like mammalian cells. They age and die in a similar manner, and their lifespan can be increased by calorie restriction.
In this study, researchers isolated six groups of molecules that have been shown to slow down the chronological aging of yeast.
At the top of their list, an extract of white willow bark (Salix alba) increased the average lifespan of yeast by 475% and the maximum chronological lifespan by 369% – making it the most potent longevity-extending pharmacological intervention ever described in scientific literature.
That’s a nearly five-fold extension in lifespan!
This clearly shows that willow bark mimics calorie restriction, potentially by activating the same biochemical pathways.
When you consume white willow bark, your liver metabolizes its major constituent – salicin – to salicylic acid, the same substance created in your body within just minutes of taking a dose of aspirin.
Researchers have learned that aspirin – and salicylic acid – may promote the production of new mitochondria in your cells by turning on SIRT1, your master regulator protein.
A recent study with liver cells found that both aspirin and salicylic acid, by itself, increased the total concentration of mitochondria by two to three times.
However, this discovery has researchers suspecting that the positive effects seen with aspirin might actually be from salicylic acid, and not aspirin.
Because willow bark converts to salicylic acid in your liver, you get all its potential benefits without any of aspirin’s negative effects, even with low doses.*
Ergothioneine’s Key Role in Cellular Health
One of mushrooms’ greatest benefits was discovered in 1909 but remained largely unrecognized until just recently.
Ergothioneine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that can only be produced by mushrooms, fungi and a few soil bacteria.
Found in all your tissues, ergothioneine accumulates in organs and cells that are typically exposed to high levels of oxidative stress, such as your red blood cells, liver, kidneys and eye tissue. Your cells’ plasma membranes and mitochondria contain high concentrations of ergothioneine.
Acting as a “master antioxidant,” ergothioneine is transported to cells throughout your body to fight damage from oxidative stress and toxic free radicals.
What makes ergothioneine so unique is that it’s the only known dietary substance with a specific gene and transport system that allows it to be actively transported across the cell membrane into the cell, enabling high concentrations in tissue.
In fact, the ergothioneine in your mitochondria serves as a final line of defense for cells against oxidative damage. It helps your mitochondria cope with the overwhelming stress they endure during normal metabolism and energy production within the cells.
The King Trumpet Mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii) is known for its high levels of ergothioneine, beta glucans and polysaccharides.
These unique mushrooms act as modulators. In other words, they regulate and influence your normal blood lipid levels, immune function and healthy cells.*
On top of everything else, ergothioneine is thought to play an important role in metabolic health – most likely through its influence on inflammatory response – and research is now underway to confirm it.*
Support Your Heart Health with Hawthorn Berry Fruit
Every part of the hawthorn berry bush has been used for health throughout history, including its tiny berries, flowers, leaves and stems – even the bark.
One of the oldest-known plants used for health, hawthorn was first recorded as beneficial for heart health in the first century by Greek herbalist Dioscorides.*
Hawthorn berry contains a wealth of valuable active compounds such as flavonoids, saponins, proanthocyanidins, phenolic acids and other antioxidants. In fact, out of 28 different fruit pulps tested, hawthorn produced the highest measure of antioxidant activity.
Your heart is likely your greatest energy-consuming organ and, as a result, requires well-functioning mitochondria. If your mitochondria are not working at their best, your heart health can be at risk.
When your mitochondria are effectively able to burn fat for fuel, your heart receives the energy it needs to function properly.
In addition to its valuable support for your mitochondria, heart, arteries, blood vessels and blood flow, hawthorn berry also has documented benefits for:
- Memory and cognitive health*
- Deep, restful sleep*
- Kidney health*
- Relaxation and general well-being*
- Menopausal symptom relief*
- Blood sugar values already in the normal range*
Hawthorn berry offers potential benefits for most of the adult population.
Experience Vitality and Optimal Wellness with Biothin® Herbal Autophagy Complex
Your ability to live a long, active life depends on clean cells as well as healthy and functioning mitochondria – particularly in your high energy-demanding organs like your heart, brain, nervous system, kidneys and muscles.
Your mitochondria are under constant assault – and some of the worst damage occurs when they’re doing their routine job of fueling your body. They need protection, and they need it every day.
That’s why we formulated Biothin® Herbal Autophagy Complex. By promoting autophagy and supporting the healthy regeneration and maintenance of your cells’ mitochondria, everything just works better – including your metabolic health.
Take control of your cellular and metabolic health with Biothin® Herbal Autophagy Complex, and order today.