In a recent interview, the popular Malayalam actress Lena stated that she practices autophagy once or twice in a year. When the interviewer expressed her curiosity on the fact that the actress can go without food for three days, the latter told that her highest record is that of 5 days. She continued explaining the procedure of autophagy.
The word autophagy means self-eating. When a person goes for fasting for 2 days or more, the body starts eating itself. In a way autophagy can be related to house cleaning mechanism. During the process, healthy cells in our body clean up toxic proteins preventing them from multiplying and destroying the entire system. Thus, autophagy not only reduces fat in the body but helps in cleaning the system as well.
In 2016, Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded Nobel prize for his works on Autophagy. Though the concept has been known for more than 50 years, its fundamental importance in physiology and medicine was only recognized after Yoshinori Ohsumi’s paradigm-shifting research in the 1990s. The Jury of the Nobel prize committee said that autophagic process is involved in several conditions including cancer and neurological disease.
Autophagy applies to the brain cells as well. Research is being done on whether the theory of autophagy can be applied in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. As the healthy cells clean up the degrading brain cells in autophagy, the researchers are digging on the chances of using them in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Although Indians are very much familiar with different kinds of fasting, a scientific explanation on what happens in our system during the process is in clarity now. Indian fasting is dated from the Vedic era and different Vedas has mentioned about fasting or ‘Satwa’.