Humans are complex organisms made up of cells, each with their own structure and function. While we don’t know the exact number of cells in the average human body, scientists have come a long way in estimating a rather unimaginable number: 30 trillion. That’s 30,000,000,000,000.
Cells are the building blocks of the human body. They work in harmony to carry out all the basic functions necessary for humans to survive and are especially important to keeping us healthy. However, over time our cells age, get damaged, accumulate unused or harmful cellular matter and reduce our bodies’ effectiveness. Weak and harmed cells can be attributed to several factors, such as bad nutrition, stress, and aging in general.
Thankfully, our bodies have an answer to this. An evolutionary process of cellular renewal called autophagy. Autophagy is the body’s way of self-purifying on a cellular level: damaged cells get recycled in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells. Autophagy can be activated through various ways; the best know way to induce autophagy is fasting. By depriving the body of nutrition, you force it to seek out alternative sources of energy. The cells begin to “eat themselves,” which is fairly the literal translation of the Greek word autophagy—self-devouring. This process of cell renewal is beneficial for human health and longevity. In other words, autophagy is a kind of ‘management’ system for the cells, in which old cells are broken down, defective cell components are disposed of and new cell energy is generated from them. This recycling process protects the body from age-related diseases, improves the immune system and keeps the cells youthful and healthy.
Autophagy, or cellular renewal, is so important for our health and longevity that the Japanese researcher Yoshinori Ohsumi received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2016 for his contributions to the understanding of autophagy. Ohsumi is not the only scientist researching cellular renewal. To date, thousands of scientists have joined the research on cellular renewal; one of the best known is Frank Madeo, ph.D. The molecular biologist and age scientists at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria, has published several scientific breakthroughs in researching autophagy and its general and indication specific health benefits. Even more interesting is his research in natural substances that mimic Autophagy without the need to fast.
Madeo’s discoveries are the origin of the company Longevity Labs+, which initially started in 2016 as the university’s “intellectual spinoff” by a team of scientists and business experts. Longevity Labs+ mission is to research our cellars and create innovative products that support cellular renewal. So far, this has been a quite extraordinary journey to healthy and happy cells.