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THE INSIDE SCOOP ON APOPTOSIS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT FOR YOUR HEALTH

Published August 04, 2019
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

the-inside-scoop-on-apoptosis
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@type":"BlogPosting", "headline":"THE INSIDE SCOOP ON APOPTOSIS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT FOR YOUR HEALTH", "datePublished":"August 04, 2019", "description":"Believe it or not, cell suicide keeps your body healthy. Here’s how keto and intermittent fasting help promote apoptosis!", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/07/science-blob-thumbnail-0223.jpg" }, } ] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What is Apoptosis, and Why is It Important?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Apoptosis vs. Necrosis: What’s The Difference?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">What Happens During Apoptosis?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Can Apoptosis Be Reversed?</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Apoptosis and The Ketogenic Diet</a></li> <li><a href="#section6">Apoptosis and Intermittent Fasting</a></li> <li><a href="#section7">Apoptosis—Wrapping Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>Our cells mirror how the world works: things live and then they die, leaving space for new life. Cell death is a natural process that makes way for new cells to thrive.</p> <p>But what if we told you that programmed cell death, or “cell suicide”, was actually <i>healthier</i> for you than some of the alternatives? </p> <p>You might have some additional questions.</p> <p>Cell death sounds scary, but it’s not. This process, known as apoptosis, is actually a natural process that helps our bodies thrive. It may sound grim, but it’s actually preferable to other forms of cell death, such as necrosis.</p> <p>So why are we talking about developmental biology? Apoptosis is actually a very important part of health and weight loss tools like the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. </p> <p>In this article, we’ll break down apoptosis, necrosis, caspases proteins, and how cell death relates to health and weight loss.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What is Apoptosis, and Why is It Important?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Apoptosis is when a cell “kills” itself. Signals are sent from within the cell through apoptotic pathways, triggering the release of caspases proteins (more on those in a second).\n\nApoptosis is a protective mechanism for the body, and something our bodies have been doing as long as humans have existed. There are different forms of programmed cell death, but apoptosis is the one best understood by science.\n\nWhile cell death might seem like a bad thing, programmed cell death is necessary for proper health and function. Cell death rids our bodies of harmful or unnecessary cells.\n\nThese signals sent along apoptotic pathways help prevent inflammation and toxins from spreading into healthy cells that are nearby a dead or damaged cell.\n\nThese days, doctors are even using programmed cell death and apoptotic pathways to treat certain cancers.\n\nFun fact: apoptosis is how we developed ten fingers. The cells between our fingers were killed off, leaving us with the hands we have now. Thanks, apoptosis!"}}]}</script> <h2>What is Apoptosis, and Why is It Important?</h2> <p>Apoptosis is when a cell “kills” itself. Signals are sent from within the cell through apoptotic pathways, triggering the release of caspases proteins (more on those in a second).</p> <p>Apoptosis is a protective mechanism for the body, and something our bodies have been doing as long as humans have existed. There are different forms of programmed cell death, but apoptosis is the one best understood by science. </p> <p>While cell death might seem like a bad thing, programmed cell death is necessary for proper health and function. Cell death rids our bodies of harmful or unnecessary cells<sup>1</sup>. </p> <p>These signals sent along apoptotic pathways help prevent inflammation and toxins from spreading into healthy cells that are nearby a dead or damaged cell. </p> <p>These days, doctors are even using programmed cell death and apoptotic pathways to treat certain cancers<sup>2</sup>.</p> <p><i>Fun fact: apoptosis is how we developed ten fingers. The cells between our fingers were killed off, leaving us with the hands we have now<sup>3</sup>. Thanks, apoptosis!</i></p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"Apoptosis vs. Necrosis: What’s The Difference?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"There are two ways cells die: apoptosis and necrosis.\n\nApoptosis, as grim as it sounds, is also called “cell suicide”.\n\nNecrosis is cell death due to injury. “Injury” could mean physical damage, infections, cancer, or toxins destroying the vital parts of the cell. It is a form of unprogrammed cell death.\n\nBelieve it or not, apoptosis is the “cleaner” way for a cell is to die. Compared to necrosis, apoptosis is fairly straightforward once the body sends caspases proteins to destroy the cell.\n\nIn necrosis, because the cell is damaged, it’s harder for your immune system to locate the cell and engulf it. Unlike apoptotic cells, cells destroyed through necrosis can leak harmful chemicals that damage other healthy cells."}}]}</script> <h2>Apoptosis vs. Necrosis: What’s The Difference?</h2> <p>There are two ways cells die: <i>apoptosis</i> and <i>necrosis</i>. <p> <p>Apoptosis, as grim as it sounds, is also called “cell suicide”. </p> <p><i>Necrosis</i> is cell death due to injury. “Injury” could mean physical damage, infections, cancer, or toxins destroying the vital parts of the cell<sup>4</sup>. It is a form of <i>unprogrammed</i> cell death.</p> <p>Believe it or not, apoptosis is the “cleaner” way for a cell is to die. Compared to necrosis, apoptosis is fairly straightforward once the body sends caspases proteins to destroy the cell<sup>5</sup>. </p> <p>In necrosis, because the cell is damaged, it’s harder for your immune system to locate the cell and engulf it. Unlike apoptotic cells, cells destroyed through necrosis can leak harmful chemicals that damage other healthy cells.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/apoptosis-vs-necrosis-0223.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/apoptosis-vs-necrosis-0223.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/apoptosis-vs-necrosis-0223.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/apoptosis-vs-necrosis-LR-0223.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="apoptosis-vs-necrosis-0223"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What Happens During Apoptosis?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"A crude but helpful way to understanding apoptosis is to think of garbage collection in your neighborhood. Your trash is collected in a small, contained vessel, then taken away.\n\nIf that trash was left in your driveway week after week, it would build up, and eventually, your neighbors would be knocking on your door saying, “Hey, can you get rid of this trash before we all get sick?”.\n\nDuring apoptosis, the contents of a cell—the “trash”, if you will— are packed into membranes, then eaten by cells in your immune system. This process is known as autophagy. It’s actually a beautifully organized system. The entire cell is divided into chunks, each of which is packaged away neatly and then eaten."}}]}</script> <h2>What Happens During Apoptosis?</h2> <p>A crude but helpful way to understanding apoptosis is to think of garbage collection in your neighborhood. Your trash is collected in a small, contained vessel, then taken away.</p> <p>If that trash was left in your driveway week after week, it would build up, and eventually, your neighbors would be knocking on your door saying, “Hey, can you get rid of this trash before we all get sick?”. </p> <p>During apoptosis, the contents of a cell—the “trash”, if you will— are packed into membranes, then eaten by cells in your immune system. This process is known as <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/fasting-and-autophagy-understanding-your-body/" rel="noreferrer">autophagy</a><sup>6</sup>. It’s actually a beautifully organized system. The entire cell is divided into chunks, each of which is packaged away neatly and then eaten.</p> <p><i>(Shout out to our bodies for being so fascinating).</i></p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"Can Apoptosis Be Reversed?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"When a cell is told to die, proteins called caspases are sent in to do the dirty work. Think of caspases as the “hitmen” that execute cells during apoptosis.\n\n(Again, can we just talk about how incredibly cool and intelligent our bodies are?)\n\nIt was originally thought that once this process began, apoptosis couldn’t be reversed. But recently, some studies have shown that some cells may be able to recover once the process begins.\n\nCaspases proteins do quite a number on cells, causing them to shrink and split apart. Many cells will die, though it’s not yet known exactly how effective this reversal is or roughly how many apoptotic cells will recover."}}]}</script> <h2>Can Apoptosis Be Reversed?</h2> <p>When a cell is told to die, proteins called <i>caspases</i> are sent in to do the dirty work. Think of caspases as the “hitmen” that execute cells during apoptosis.</p> <p><i>(Again, can we just talk about how incredibly cool and intelligent our bodies are?)</i></p> <p>It was originally thought that once this process began, apoptosis couldn’t be reversed. But recently, some studies have shown that some cells may be able to recover once the process begins<sup>7</sup>. </p> <p>Caspases proteins do quite a number on cells, causing them to shrink and split apart. Many cells will die, though it’s not yet known exactly how effective this reversal is or roughly how many apoptotic cells will recover.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/vegetables-basket-0223.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/vegetables-basket-0223.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/vegetables-basket-0223.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/vegetables-basket-LR-0223.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="vegetables-basket-0223"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section5"> <h2>Apoptosis and The Ketogenic Diet</h2> <p>So, why the heck are we talking about apoptotic pathways and programmed cell death? </p> <p>We know you’re loving this <i>developmental biology</i> lesson, but that’s not the reason.</p> <p>We’re talking about apoptosis because there’s a link between programmed cell death and the tools we use at <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made</a> to help people get healthy and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/" rel="noreferrer">transform their bodies</a>.</p> <p>For example, science recently uncovered that low carb, high fat diets (like <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101-a-beginners-guide/" rel="noreferrer">keto</a>) induce apoptosis<sup>8</sup>. As a result, the low-carb life has been linked to decreased mortality and improved memory<sup>9</sup>.</p> <p>Think about it this way: if you had a choice between how your cells died, you’d want to pick apoptosis. Letting caspases proteins take care of business in a neat, orderly fashion is preferable to the messy process of necrosis, which only takes place after injury to the cell.</p> <p>Low-carb, high-fat diets like keto increase the likelihood that damaged cells are taken care of the right way, and that toxins won’t be damaging healthy “neighbor” cells.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/autophagy-weight-loss-0223.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/autophagy-weight-loss-0223.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/autophagy-weight-loss-0223.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/autophagy-weight-loss-LR-0223.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="autophagy-weight-loss-0223"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section6"> <h2>Apoptosis and Intermittent Fasting</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/fasting-and-autophagy-understanding-your-body/" rel="noreferrer">Intermittent fasting</a> (IF), or timing your meals into a condensed window, is known for helping people lose weight and get into ketosis faster. That’s one reason we use a cyclical ketogenic diet paired with intermittent fasting in our <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/keto/14-day-diet-upgrade/" rel="noreferrer">14-Day Diet</a> plan. </p> <p>But intermittent fasting also plays a role in cell death. The natural state of depletion—about 16 hours between meals—gives your body time to get rid of these old, damaged cells, making room for new, healthy cells to thrive. </p> <p>When you’re constantly digesting food, the body has less resources to devote to get rid of old, damaged cells. This process, known as <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/fasting-and-autophagy-understanding-your-body/" rel="noreferrer">autophagy</a>, is good for increasing metabolic function, improving performance in the gym, and disease prevention.</p> <p>Think of that 16-hour window as a time where apoptosis and autophagy are doing their job, rejuvenating your body by making room for new cells.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section7"> <h2>Apoptosis—Wrapping Up</h2> <p>That’s a wrap on today’s developmental biology class. Give yourself a pat on the back if you made it this far!</p> <p>To recap: apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is a natural process for ridding the body of cells. It may not sound ideal, but it’s better than necrosis, a messy process that can lead to toxins leaking into other healthy cells.</p> <p>Low-carb diets like keto and weight loss tools like intermittent fasting create an internal environment that’s conducive for apoptosis and autophagy to take place. So these tools aren’t just good for losing weight, but also for keeping you healthy and disease-free!</p> <h3>Resources</h3> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/cellular-microscopic/apoptosis.htm" rel="nofollow noreferrer">What is apoptosis?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319267.php" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Cancer: Novel cell death technique may be better than chemo</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/cellular-microscopic/apoptosis.htm" rel="nofollow noreferrer">What is apoptosis?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/necrosis.htm" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Necrosis</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/necrosis.htm" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Necrosis</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/developmental-biology/apoptosis-in-development/a/apoptosis" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Apoptosis</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.the-scientist.com/features/cell-death-processes-are-reversible-65338" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Cell Death Processes Are Reversible</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4893463/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Apoptosis induced by a low-carbohydrate and high-protein diet in rat livers</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/pdf/S1550-4131(17)30489-8.pdf" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Cell Metabolism</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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