What is Autophagy?
What is the connection between fasting and the Nobel prize in Medicine given in 2016? The link is autophagy, a process triggered inside our cells when we fast. Autophagy is a relatively recent scientific discovery, which scientists did not know until 1962. Autophagy is vital in keeping our cells healthy and live longer. To recognize the crucial research works in this field, the Nobel foundation offered the Nobel prize in Medicine in 2016 to Yoshinori Ohsumi, a prominent Japanese cell biologist.
Autophagy: the natural cleanser
In brief, autophagy involves cleaning up the scrap proteins from the damaged cellular structures, viruses, and bacteria. In other words, autophagy prevents our cells from becoming a junkyard from the damaged proteins by metabolizing them. It also helps eradicate the infection, produces amino acids to form new parts of the cells, and prevents inflammations. It is essential to realize that autophagy is an extraordinarily efficient and strictly controlled mechanism, critical for cell’s well-being, cell survival, and slowing down the aging process.
Fasting in Ramadan: Where science meets humanism and spirituality
We must remember that the reason mentioned in the Quran for prescribing fasting is to help our “taqwa,” which is being in a state of God-consciousness. Yes, now we know that fasting is good to purify our souls and also purify our cells.
Fasting in Ramadan and medical science
The positive effects of fasting on human health include decreasing obesity, lowering cholesterol levels, helping quit smoking and other addictive habits, improves systolic blood pressure, and improves blood glucose levels.
Fasting and Autophagy
In the light of the recent discoveries, now we know that there are significant additional benefits from fasting through its unique capability to stimulate autophagy. Studies suggest that fasting is the most potent triggering factor for autophagy. Exercise stimulates autophagy to a lesser degree. As shown in the studies, 12+ hours of fasting trigger autophagy by increasing the Glucagon hormonal level, enabling autophagy.
In fact, by stimulating autophagy, fasting does the job to our body like a handyman does to renovate a house. Fasting helps remove and replace older worn-out parts of the cell with new components; it also recycles the old parts for reuse. Also, fasting stimulates growth hormone from the pituitary gland that, in turn, builds new necessary features for the cells.
Developing new medicines
In the hope that scientists will develop new drugs that will mimic fasting and stimulate autophagy, the pharmaceutical industries have started investing money in their research projects.
Keeping the balance: the feast and the fast
A practicing Muslim realizes the spiritual benefits of fasting in Ramadan that the Creator prescribed for all adults. We must remember that there should be a balance between eating and fasting, as it is true that if we fast too much, we will get sick. While intake of nutrition allows our cells to grow naturally, intermittent fasting helps detoxify our body at a cellular level. For a healthy body, we need to keep the balance between fast and the feast. Conditions, including diabetes and abnormal blood pressure, can affect our vital body functions and blood chemistry. For those with any physical illness, please consult your physician before starting any fasting regimen to avoid potential risks of dehydration, malnutrition, and other health hazards.
To know more about the meaning of “the Qurans’ consistency with modern science,” please read this: https://qpeace.net/?p=8207
Allah knows the best