Exercise and Autophagy


What you don’t already know about Diet and Exercises

Dieting and exercise have been thoroughly explored and are well-known methods of weight loss, well-being, and even pleasure. However, a relatively unexplored newcomer shows promise not only in melting away stubborn fat, but also in protecting against the negative effects of the build-up of old, damaged, or dead cells. The accepted term for these observations is known as autophagy.

Simply put, autophagy is the combined effects of certain cellular activities that leads to the recycling or removal of excess, damaged, old, and unneeded cellular components.  This is a highly regulated and rather complex process as there exists more than one form of autophagy. 

It has been shown that autophagy can be induced at least in part by exercise and/or certain forms of fasting. In this blog let’s take a look at the role exercise has in autophagy.

A study done by Dr. Nina Brandt of UCLA compared the effects of sustained exercise (MOD group) and sustained exercise interrupted by short sprints (SPRINT group). Dr. Brandt and her group analyzed molecules within human male muscle cells before, immediately after, and 2 hours after an exercise bike training session. 


In addition, It was found that cellular proteins involved in processes associated with autophagy were increased in either the MOD or SPRINT group, however the MOD group had higher amounts of a specific protein called Beclin 1 (Brandt et. al). This protein is well-known in the process of forming small areas within the cell known as autophagosomes in which cellular material will be digested, and recycled.



These findings suggest that sustained exercise or sustained exercise interrupted by sprints both stimulate autophagy to some level; however, the addition of short sprints weaved into ones exercise routine may prevent these processes from fully taking off (Brandt, et. al.)