Signs Of Autophagy - Sauna Science & 6 Incredible Health Benefits

By Dr. Candy Akers

What is Autophagy?

Autophagy, pronounced (aw-TAH-fuh-jee). It is a positive, natural process that occurs as your body destroys and disintegrates old, damaged, or defective proteins and other substances inside a cell. Autophagy replaces damaged cell parts with new ones. As these products break down, they are reused for better cell function, particularly during periods of stress. Autophagy also helps destroy viruses and bacteria that may cause infection and it may stop normal cells from becoming cancerous.

The word ‘Autophagy’ is from the Greek language meaning, “eating of self”. It is also known as Apoptosis (Cell death). (1)


Possible results of Autophagy

There are some healthy physical results linked to autophagy. These may be caused by changes in levels of specific hormones such as glucagon or insulin. (2)

Some results may include:

1. Reduced appetite

2. Fatigue

3. Extra bowel movement

4. Bad breath or metallic taste

5. Improved brain function

6. Weight loss

7. Increased ketone level


What Are The Health Benefits of Autophagy?

Helps fight inflammation - It is an important mechanism by which our bodies help fight inflammation. By increasing the rate our cells repair themselves, Autophagy helps decrease the amount of cellular damage that leads to inflammation. By eliminating unwanted and damaged cell organelles, Autophagy sustains homeostasis which is a state of body balance needed for optimal body functions and survival. This allows the various inflammatory cells such as lymphocytes, macrophages, cytokines, and neutrophils to ace fighting inflammation and its associated effects.

Helps Enhance Body Weight Loss - Although weight loss is not directly linked to Autophagy, the lack of Autophagy is associated with some metabolic conditions such as obesity, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and other metabolic diseases.

Enhances healthy aging - Autophagy can help you look and feel younger! How? Because of its ability to eliminate aging cells, cellular waste products that promote inflammation, and gene instability that may facilitate the general aging process.

It helps combat oxidative stress - Oxidative stress occurs when there is a disproportion of antioxidants and harmful free radicals in the body .These free radicals destroy cell tissue, disrupt normal cell function, and cause DNA damage. This stress may lead to cell mutations triggering the formation of different chronic conditions like diabetes and cancer. Autophagy can help combat oxidative stress.

Autophagy may help fight infections - There are different mechanisms by which Autophagy can help fight infection. For example, the modulation of the immune response makes fighting off infections more effective. By removing damaged cell components, Autophagy can assist in the resistance to infections. Autophagy has shown to be effective against several infections, including bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. It also helps eliminate the toxins discharged by these pathogens.

Autophagy and Chronic Diseases - Many chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Crohn's correlate with the disrupted metabolic processes. Autophagy is an important metabolic regulatory process for three major energy substances; protein, glucose, and lipid(3). 


How to Trigger Autophagy

Intermittent Fasting  - Intermittent fasting is a great method to induce Autophagy. Under usual conditions, when cells have sufficient nutrients, Autophagy degrades damaged components in the cell. During fasting the body is not receiving nutrients, therefore, it becomes stressed and this triggers Autophagy.

Exercise - Research has shown that aerobic exercise improves cognitive function by increasing Autophagy in the brain. Exercise is a stressor on the body therefore, the body induces Autophagy so that cells can recover from the stress. Thirty minutes is all it takes for aerobic exercise to activate the Autophagy process in the brain. As a result, exercise decreases neurodegeneration and increases neurogenesis. 

Ketogenic Diet - A ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. When you restrict eating carbohydrate-rich foods like sugar, potatoes, grains, legumes, and fruit, your body enters “ketosis”, a metabolic state in which your brain and body run on ketones and fatty acids instead of glucose. This is beneficial and increases Autophagy in the brain. 

Acupuncture  - Acupuncture is an alternative treatment shown to induce Autophagy in the brain. Research has found that acupuncture promotes autophagic clearance of certain disease-causing proteins from the brain. 

Sauna Therapy - The heat from a sauna causes stress on the body which then stimulates a detoxification process. Exposing yourself to hot temperatures can stress your cells and promote Autophagy.

Research has shown that heat stress triggers autophagy and invigorates the autophagic process. Sauna therapy is great for chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, diabetes, etc. Another great benefit of using a sauna to improve one’s health, is that it’s available to everyone.

Why is Sauna The Best Way to Trigger Autophagy?

Although there are many ways to trigger Autophagy other than sauna, some of these options come with disadvantages. For example, exercise may be too strenuous for the aged, there is also the risk of injury. Fasting may also not be ideal for all people especially those with diabetes, for example. Sauna therapy, however, is a seamless and stressless way to activate Autophagy.

What is the Best Type Of Sauna To Use?

Infrared Sauna is a better option to the conventional sauna. First of all, they are more cost-effective. Additionally, the infrared sauna provides dry heat so the only moisture produced is that of your perspiration. Infrared saunas reduce the chances of mold, making them easier to maintain. 

Other benefits to an infrared sauna is that they work more quickly than regular saunas. Infrared saunas use advanced infrared heaters to directly warm your body to 110° F-115° F. All you need is 15 minutes for a session. Other benefits of an infrared sauna include detoxification, reduction of muscle pain, improved sleep, stress reduction, relief from joint pain and stiffness, and improved circulation.


Dr. Candy's Recommendations 

Best Infrared Saunas For Triggering Autophagy

Best Sauna For Stimulating Autophagy For Infections & Chronic Disease

Maxxus 2 Person Full Spectrum Near Zero EMF Infrared Sauna

Why I Like It: 

  • Super simple to set up, no carpentry skills required
  • Full spectrum technology gives a full range of health benefits
  • Bluetooth speakers for relaxing music, audiobooks, or meditation
  • Perfect for relaxing and healing

Autophagy is stimulated by a variety of wavelengths. This sauna covers the whole spectrum of infrared energy to restore internal cell cleaning and a healthy body.


Learn More

Recommended Supplements for Triggering Autophagy

For Inflammation and Infections

The keto diet is another great way to trigger autophagy. But following the diet can be confusing, especially with commercial food marketing. If you need some guidance for your keto diet-this nutrition guide will give you all the details. It is going to show you how to get the health benefits of keto, including weight loss, balanced blood sugar, and a boost to your metabolism, step by step. 

The price of the program changes with various promotions, but most of the time your cost would be $29 or less. (Totally worth it).

Dr. Candy’s PRO TIP: Additionally, Ayurvedic medicine practitioners have used amethysts for over 4,000 years to support the healing of the body and the mind. Amethysts do actually have particular biochemical “charges”, and research proves that these stones do emit far infrared waves when heated. ( Resource-090 ) But direct research is lacking. Many patients “swear by” the powers of special stones and if you want to take advantage of that, this is a great product.