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Research

Disturbed eating patterns to disrupt circadian clocks, leading to metabolic diseases

A study, published in the Journal of Cell Metabolism, reveals that the body clock and eating behaviors of an individual have strong connection between them. The researchers of the study revealed that metabolism is a highly time-influenced characteristic. Managing the times of meals can resolve a number of metabolic issues like obesity.

The research was based upon the diet evaluation of lab mice with disrupted circadian clocks. It explains that regulating the eating times in the mice helped improved obesity and related metabolic problems.

The mice under examination belonged with three different strains and all of them had disrupted circadian clocks. They knocked out the specific genes regulating the internal timing.

The mice, employed for the study, were fed with the same calorie content but their eating schedules were changed. Some of the mice could eat whenever they wanted. However, the others could only eat for a restricted nine- to 10-hour time window. However, the total calorie intake was the same for both, the mice with normal or disrupted clocks.

Dr. Satchidananda Panda, a professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute, served as the senior author of the study. He explained that it was previously believed that circadian clocks impact one’s metabolism. And now this research serves as evidence to it. He further added that the circadian clocks produce daily eating-fasting rhythms. An interrupted eating pattern disrupts these rhythms, giving rise to most of the metabolic diseases.

Circadian clock to regulate metabolism

Having a direct impact on the metabolism, circadian clocks affect various corporal functions. Furthermore, environmental factors such as humidity and temperature also regulate various bodily processes like,

  • Blood pressure
  • Digestion
  • Body temperature
  • Melatonin (the sleep hormone)

Earlier studies also suggest that an intact circadian clock tells the subjects when to eat. Moreover, the results from this study also reveal that defects in the circadian clocks tend to disrupt the eating patterns. This may cause the subjects to develop signs of metabolic diseases.

Separate studies had confirmed that when normal mice were openly allowed to opt fat-and-sugar-rich food, the bad diet annulled their circadian clock. In turn, the mice ate at random and developed metabolic diseases. Thus, the researchers then restricted the eating timing of the mice and the results reversed.

Factors like glucose levels, high cholesterol, and stamina were measured, on a treadmill after eight- to 12-hours. This time-restricted feeding endorsed healthy rhythm in circadian clock mechanism.

Dr. Panda added that a healthy, robust circadian clock is the basic requirement to prevent metabolic diseases. Furthermore, the researchers noted that a limited time of feeding helped prevent the decline in the health, regardless of the deficiency of a normal circadian clock. Dr. Panda concluded that an individual may lose their clocks with age.

The researchers are looking for ways to apply the findings to human studies. However, this study reasonably determines new ways to manage irrational eating in people with disturbed circadian clocks.

Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan has studied bio-medical sciences and loves to contribute her research into the field of health through her writing. Her expertise includes product reviews and health news reporting but she enjoys writing research-based news, the most. Twitter- @MichelleKwan19

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