Autophagy is a relatively new term applied to the biochemistry of the cells. It refers to the body’s need and efficiency in cleaning up or taking out the trash. Trash may be described as the debris from dying cells, waste products of cell metabolism, and general extracellular detoxification. It is a necessary function.

Cancer patients may require an even heightened autophagy response – paying overtime for waste management. One of the hindrances that our immune system experiences in attempting to kill a growing cancer is to plow through the waste that surrounds a tumor. Cancer, by definition, is rapidly replicating cells. This rapid replication produces a greater amount of waste that can form a protective barrier limiting T-cell and macrophage attack.

Enter autophagy.

There are a few things we can do to stimulate autophagy and more that can inhibit things that inhibit it. We’ll talk more about this but, as you can see on the chart below, several nutrients are stimulators – berberine and lithium to name a few. And, I have stated in several videos on the subject, inhibiting mTOR, a major growth pathway, is the best way to also stimulate autophagy. This is one reason why Curcumin is so beneficial to cancer patients.

We also look at the ULK, SIRT and mTOR genes as major players.

Autophagy - cleaning up the trash around your tumor 1