Autophagy and Fasting: The Mystery Explained

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Autophagy. The literal translation of this word: ‘to eat thyself.’

Autophagy is a hot topic. Yoshinori Ohsumi’s 2016 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine converted the medical world’s previous whispers and murmurings about Autophagy and fasting into a full-blown conversation. Ohsumi discovered how our body degrades and recycles its cellular components. Autophagy for short.

Why should you care? Isn’t this a keto-focused site?

Well, it turns out ketones and autophagy are linked.

Baby Boomers: please pay attention.

You endured the most abuse from the medical establishment over the last 40 years. Before it’s too late, we in the medical establishment might have a few years to redeem some of the atrocious recommendations that your generation lived were given. The science of how your body eats itself is something you should pay attention to and master.

It may sound weird, but this process of autophagy might be the saving grace to medical advice for your era. The science of autophagy surfaced in the nick of time for Boomers.

Autophagy removes debris found inside your body’s cells. All those years of poorly fed brain cells, sleep deprived hearts, smoking in your early years, and becoming fatter than any generation before has left you with lots of crusty cells. The debris within your tissue has been there for years. If you are overweight, this debris has been around for as long as those extra pounds have insulated you. PLUS ten years.

The patients I care for all measure their numbers to help assess this. The symptoms don’t improve in a 24 hour period. They may not even improve in a 3 week period. I recommend the ratio (Glucose divided by ketones) as the way they keep track. This data was extrapolated from the GKI (Glucose Ketone Index – which has more math in it than most of my patients were willing to do.) If the ratio is less than 80 … they are in the weight loss zone.

If the numbers are less than 40 – they benefit with all the deep tissue/organ inflammation and auto-immune problems. (Leaky gut, brain fog, Crohn’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s)

If they are in the category of my mom (who had cancer of the immune system called CLL at 71) ..then I try to hit numbers less than 20.

That’s really hard.

When they reach those goals — the improvement is breathtaking. So inspiring for me and for patients to see what happens. It is not fast. But it is there.

The monitor I ask them to get is FORACARE
It’s reliable and even though the test strips are a bit more … it doesn’t take 3-4 test strips to get a result.

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 *This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Annette Bosworth, and is for only informational and educational purposes. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Bosworth nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.



  1. THE KEY INFORMATION: Autophagy during weight loss is a solution to reducing loose skin (and more). You can trigger autophagy, aka the body consuming malfunctioning or excess cells, by fasting for 12 hours (zero calories) after being in keto for a while or after fasting (again zero calories) for 7 days if transitioning from an average diet.

  2. Hi Dr Bos, after losing massive fat stores does the body scavenge the emptied fat cells thus making it harder to pick up fat weight to the same extent? Also does IF/water fasting reset the setpoint of the body weightwise?

  3. After hearing one woo woo promise after another over the decades, I found it easy to dismiss this idea when I heard if promoted by others, before watching this video.. BUT…. this was so easy, and no kook is trying to sell you supplements you "need", so I tried it. All you have to do is skip breakfast, basically! Just have some black coffee. Then eat lunch a bit late. The results were mind blowing. Energy, alertness, vitality, all notably improved by weeks…. and now its been about a month. I found more energy for exercise, and I can see the tips of my feet peeking out at me from around my big fat gut. Even if this results in zero weight loss there is no way I would stop now. I feel 10 years younger! Thanks for spreading this important message. I can feel the moment my body switches over to consumption… a little jittery feeling that lasts a few moments until I switch over to reserve. For me its at the 12 hour and 40 minute mark, give or take a few minutes. Remarkably consistant. When I feel that feeling I look at the clock and whaddaya know… a little over 12 hours ago last night was the last time I ate. Also look up the hormone Grelin that causes hunger. The hungry feeling does NOT persist…. just wait it out and soon you feel fine, or more than fine. Amped up.

  4. In Islam we fast (food and drinks and bad habits) from dawn to sunset for 30 days (sometimes 29 days according to the moon) in every year and it's make me feel great. Also our prophet Mohammed was fasting every Monday and Thursday.

  5. Being a strict veggie-vegan for 35 years, and practicing Intermittent Fasting , I have no bodily ailments.yes ,I'm very active running/cycling and I have noticed how my cells do this Autophagy easily. I was so concerned, I visited my doctor. He did not know about Autophagy . Thank you for a informative video. In a fan…

  6. I do OMAD (one meal a day). I fast for 23 hours. I eat fruit and a large vegan cooked meal at about 6pm. I feel incredible all the time. But I do not fast most weekends. I used to sleep about 12 hrs a night and still feel sluggish. Now I only need about 6 hours. I have so much energy. I work out for an hour and a half daily and walk the dogs for half an hour. I never feel tired. Try OMAD. It is so good.

  7. Hi Dr Boz, I understand that ketosis is measured by ketone meter, but when you see that you can 'see' autophagy ignition, how are you measuring that clinically? Many thanks.

  8. While I do think keto is a good way to jump start Autophagy, I do not believe it is healthy long term. Carbs are our friends, provided they are the right kind. I did ketop for 3 months to get the ball rolling and now do a daily 12hr and a weekly 24hr fast. Don't forget stress adds weight (HPA axis), and that cup of coffee in the morning kicks you out of ketosis. Doing a workout while fasted…boom!…out of ketosis. These things and other stressors, kick your body into fight or flight mode, which makes the liver convert glycogen into…..sugar which goes into your blood.

  9. I do not like the deception that allot of this test group had already been over eating and was probably over weight…..which means they were living on allot of their own stored fat. So unlike the Doctor…..I would not recommend that a skinny 80yo enter into a 7 day fast.

  10. I think those are for lazy people…..Start working out…do exercise everyday…or go to gym three times a week…build muscle reduce fat… need to stay hungry…..!!!

  11. There needs to be a web site where you can find Doctors who know and use Ketogenic diets and intermediate fasting as part of their practice. I'm on my own with my Primary Care. She is completely clueless and told me as long as my labs keep looking good she won't advise against being on Keto and intermediate fasting. She's "curious" to see how my "diet experiment" would work. She warned me though, that every day I "NEED" to eat carbohydrates for proper brain activity. VA doctor… I'd ask for another one but they could be clueless as well. This diet works and I believe has saved my life. Literally. I've now lost 45 pounds and have no intention of quitting.

  12. hi all,very nice and concise presentation doc.Most articles about fasting refer to it as the body cannibalizing itself which to me means that they have been paid off by some group to scare people enough to not try it.I know that that's exactly whats happening but i said to my daughter only last week that they should use the word recycle instead.I am 55 years old and my body feels like its starting to fall apart so after much you tubing iv'e started to fast-i am on day six now and need to find out the optimal time to keep fasting so my ailments diminish or outright disappear.Some people do one week some two weeks and three and four ,I think four weeks for really sick people so i am hoping i can get to at least two weeks,have a nice life everyone and cheers.

  13. What kinds of foods can you eat? I had to go gluten free and later gave up meat and the only diary I get is the diary in the chocolates I eat.

    I am very slim so losing weight is not my goal. I often don’t eat for 12 to 16 hours from when I fall asleep to waking up going to work which is physical in nature and then getting back home to have something to eat.

  14. How would you suggest someone with Cystic fibrous fast? My wife has to take an am pill and a pm pill that requires 7grams of fat along side, Theses drugs are DNA altering. can you assist at all Id really love to have my wife receive the benefits i get from fasting its really remarkable. Thank you in advance

  15. Doc what is the effect of Ketosis lasting for months (10:20) on blood acidity levels? Ketosis is a smart biochemical trick to be used wisely because it comes at a cost… low carb diet + regular fasting works for me, but I induce real Ketosis with positive urine tests just twice a month and only for 3 days at a time

  16. Fist minute, first observation why would you unbutton your shirt??? Plus what is the point of a Stethoscope around your neck? Give you more authority, credibility?? Rather silly and childish.

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