This webinar explores the known pathways associated with enhancing autophagic flux, and how to influence them with botanical medicine, caloric restriction, exercise, and additional therapies. Our discussion focuses on strategies for regulating mTOR to enhance autophagic flux, as well as the role of sirtuins and AMPK in the regulation of autophagy and the promotion of longevity.
Autophagy is a recycling pathway that is responsible for the breakdown of damaged and/or dysfunctional cellular proteins and organelles. When this physiological housekeeping mechanism in inhibited, cells accumulate dysfunctional and damaged material that leads to premature degeneration and cell death. Owing to its influential role in longevity, and in the regulation of a growing number of known disease processes, autophagy has become a focal point of scientific research and discussion. It has also become a major target for pharmaceutical drug development.
Because of the intricate nature of the process of autophagy and its complex role in the body, single-molecule, single target pharmacological approaches are inherently limited.
The maintenance of physiological homeostasis depends on tightly interwoven regulatory systems that control the ongoing balance of breakdown and repair. This is analogous to the relationship between anabolic and catabolic processes, wherein the process of breakdown and build-up is in a dynamic flux that maintains physiological health. The regulatory process by which autophagy is facilitated or inhibited is termed “autophagic flux.”
Autophagy is regulated by a number of key biological pathways, including mTOR, which is considered its most important upstream regulator. When mTOR is induced, autophagy is inhibited, and as mTOR is inhibited, autophagy is induced. Evolutionarily, this relationship is likely related to the variability between times of fasting/famine, and times of plenty. In simplistic terms, when nutrients are in abundance, the body goes into building and storage mode, and when times are lean, the body goes into conservation/recycling mode. The process of degrading and recycling cellular components provides energy and materials for the maintenance of essential biological functions, while also clearing out cellular “garbage” that negatively affects cellular function.
A large number of phytochemicals have been studied for their influence on autophagy. The basic sciences research and animal studies that comprise the bulk of the existing data are focused on the induction of autophagy by phytopharmacy, while it is the unique quality of phytochemicals to regulate physiological functions that makes them uniquely well suited to target autophagy and promote health and longevity.
Read more on autophagy from Donnie Yance in his blog: A Scientific, Cellular Look At How Our Bodies Deal With Toxins
Note: This webinar is intended for healthcare practitioners.