Fasting can essentially reprogram a range of cellular responses. Several versions of the intermittent fasting diet have many weight loss benefits. New research examining why the work determines that circadian rhythms are key.
Intermittent fasting comprises eating nothing for prolonged periods of time. It has been found that this type of diet is useful, but precisely why it aids health is not yet clear. Therefore, a team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine studied the effect of fasting on our circadian clock.
Daily circadian rhythms, or sleep-wake cycles, or drive the variation of human life; they control more than just our levels of sleepiness. Our 24-hour cycles include physiological, metabolic, and behavioral changes which have an impact on every tissue of our body.
Fasting and circadian rhythms
The researchers of the study, published in the journal Cell Reports, were mainly interested in learning about how fasting influenced these rhythms in the skeletal muscles and liver.
For most animals, fasting is a natural phenomenon. This is because food is not always easily available to them. Therefore, in times of hardship, some metabolic changes occur which permit the body to adapt.
For example, when glucose is limited, the liver creates ketones from fatty acids. These fatty acids are then used by the body as an emergency energy source. Some fasting-induced transcription factors initiate these metabolic variations. These factors also appear to affect circadian rhythms.
To understand further about this, researchers of one study split the mice into two groups. They put one group on an irregular fasting regime and allowed the second group to consume whenever it liked.
Both groups consumed the same amount of calories and fat. Although having the same energy consumption, mice in the fasting group did not develop metabolic disorders or obesity as the other mice did.
Findings of the study
The researchers of the study noted that the circadian oscillations of animals were more forceful in the fasting group. Thus, according to them, fasting seems to be a strong metabolic signal to entertain rhythmic gene expression. They further believe that more clearly defined circadian cycles might be part of the reason that fasting supports good health.
Several recent investigate also involved mice. Though the animals adhered to a 24-hour fasting period, the researchers measured various physiological functions.
Researchers saw that while fasting, mice used less energy and oxygen. On the other hand, once the mice ate, these gene-driven physiological changes were reversed. This mirrors what they have formerly seen in humans. Thus, the researchers discovered that fasting impacts the cellular responses and the circadian clock, which work together to attain fasting-specific temporal gene regulation.
They also found that it influenced different tissues to different degrees. Skeletal muscle, for instance, seems to be twice as receptive to fasting as the liver.
How might this benefit us?
After assessing the gene changes which occur with fasting, the researchers now have to clarify how they might benefit our health.
Therefore, they discovered that the reorganization of gene regulation by fasting could prime the genome to a more lenient state. This helps to anticipate arriving food intake and thus initiate a new cycle of gene expression.
In other words, fasting is able to essentially reprogram various cellular responses. Thus, optimal fasting in a programmed manner would be tactical to certainly affect cellular functions and eventually aiding health and protecting against aging-associated diseases.
Over the years, it has grown clear that disturbing circadian rhythms can increase the risk of obesity and metabolic disorders. This work brings us much closer to understanding why this might be.