Japanese cell biologist discovers ‘self-eating cell’ and how fasting helps our body wins Nobel Prize

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Yoshinori Ohsumi is a cell biologist born in 1945 in Fukuoka, Japan who discovers how cells recycle their content in a process called autophagy—a Greek term for ‘self-eating’, which is a dynamic cellular recycling process.

Autophagy is a crucial process in human being. During starvation, cells break down proteins and nonessential components and reuse them for energy.

Cells also use autophagy to destroy the invading viruses and bacteria by sending them off for recycling.

Most importantly, it was discovered that the cells can be starved by fasting as it stimulates the body to break down harmful cells. When the cells lack energy supply and nutrition, they maintain their lives by degrading their unnecessary nutrients and energy.

They will also eat unused or harmful substances such as toxic proteins in the cells as the required energy.

This will extend the life of cells and reduce inflammation in the human body. Thanks to this amazing discovery, Ohsumi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2016.

The discovery wins him the Nobel Prize.

Ohsumi and his award.

In other words, organized starvation like intermittent fasting can help our body to ‘self-clean’, speed up metabolism, help to lose weight and improve overall health by lowering risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and possibly dementia too.

There are many ways to fast, here are few of them according to Bright Side:

1. Fasting for 24 hours

You can choose not to eat for a day in a week. Take one meal during breakfast and endure it till your next breakfast.

2. Intermittent fasting

Take fewer calories on the fasting day than usual. If you usually take 2000 calories per day, take 500 calories during the fasting day.

3. Limited fasting

Another type of intermittent fasting where you will be fasting for 16 hours and restricting your eating to an 8-hour eating window.

4. Reduce food quantity

Try to eat less in a day, and do not eat too much for the next meal. This can also promote metabolism.

5. Drink-water-fasting

This type of fasting didn’t allow you to take anything but water. You can choose to drink plain water or any sugar-free juice one day in a week.

All thanks to Dr Ohsumi’s effort, we now know the importance of this amazing discovery!

Credit: New York Times | Brightside

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