Many studies on autophagy have shown that the process is vital for tumor suppression, targeting microorganisms in the body, and inhibiting the aging process. Researchers unveil how autophagy, nutrient absorption, and olfactory neurons are intertwined to influence natural human aging.
“If you want to extend the lifespan of any animal, after limiting their diet, you have to have functional autophagy in this animal otherwise you won’t see this lifespan extending effect,” explained corresponding author Kailiang Jia, PhD. In the new study, Jia and the other study authors found that autophagy is closely linked to lifespan because of its influence over nutrient absorption and olfaction.
“Autophagy can be activated and enhanced when you restrict calories, and we can actually see the autophagy process activated through caloric restriction,” Jia explained. Put simply, the flies on a restricted diet who were allowed to smell their food lived longer than the flies who couldn’t smell their food. To learn more about how autophagy, both in the nervous system and the GI tract, is connected to the aging process.
In the GI tract, autophagy is regulated by nutrients that are consumed through food and absorbed in the gut.