Send to

Choose Destination
Ageing Res Rev. 2018 Nov;47:183-197. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2018.08.004. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

The effect of fasting or calorie restriction on autophagy induction: A review of the literature.

Author information

Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Diabetes Research Center, Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Doha, Qatar.
Departamento de Nutrición y Bioquímica, Facultad de Ciencias, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá D.C., Colombia; Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Biotechnology Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran; Neurogenic Inflammation Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran; School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, 9177948564, Iran. Electronic address:


Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation process and protective housekeeping mechanism to eliminate damaged organelles, long-lived misfolded proteins and invading pathogens. Autophagy functions to recycle building blocks and energy for cellular renovation and homeostasis, allowing cells to adapt to stress. Modulation of autophagy is a potential therapeutic target for a diverse range of diseases, including metabolic conditions, neurodegenerative diseases, cancers and infectious diseases. Traditionally, food deprivation and calorie restriction (CR) have been considered to slow aging and increase longevity. Since autophagy inhibition attenuates the anti-aging effects of CR, it has been proposed that autophagy plays a substantive role in CR-mediated longevity. Among several stress stimuli inducers of autophagy, fasting and CR are the most potent non-genetic autophagy stimulators, and lack the undesirable side effects associated with alternative interventions. Despite the importance of autophagy, the evidence connecting fasting or CR with autophagy promotion has not previously been reviewed. Therefore, our objective was to weigh the evidence relating the effect of CR or fasting on autophagy promotion. We conclude that both fasting and CR have a role in the upregulation of autophagy, the evidence overwhelmingly suggesting that autophagy is induced in a wide variety of tissues and organs in response to food deprivation.


Autophagy; Calorie restriction; Fasting

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center