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circadian rhythm clock

Circadian Rhythms and Metabolic Syndrome

As researchers explore the complex relationship of circadian rhythm and metabolic syndrome, they are searching for root causes and best treatment approachesincluding lifestyle, behavioral, and pharmacologic. It's also useful to consider the relationship between circadian rhythm and time-restricted eating to see how that plays into the metabolic syndrome epidemic.

Circadian rhythm and the biology thereof, including cellular mechanistic and genetic controls, has been rigorously studied. In recent years, much has been learned about circadian rhythm disorders, including shift-work, and their impacts on health. The connection between sleep, daylight, and eating patterns all interconnect to the circadian rhythm. More recent research has focused on time-restricted eating and its relationships to metabolic syndrome.

In their 2016 publication in Cell Metabolism, authors Longo and Panda describe time-restricted feeding (TRF) as "a daily eating pattern in which all nutrient intake occurs within a few hours (usually 12h) every day, with no overt attempt to alter nutrient quality or quantity. The concept of TRF arose within the context of circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are daily ~24h rhythms in metabolism, physiology, and behavior that are sustained under constant light or dark conditions." In this article, scientific exploration of the cellular and molecular biology of TRF and circadian rhythm is expounded.

Recently, TRF and other modalities, such as intermittent fasting and periodic fasting, have piqued interest as potential strategies to help those struggling with overweight, obesity, and/or metabolic syndrome. These lifestyle changes in eating patterns avoid major dietary changes while achieving strong effects for multiple risk factors (ie, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) which comprise metabolic syndrome.

  • Longo VD, Panda S. Fasting, circadian rhythms, and time-restricted feeding in healthy lifespan. Cell Metabolism. 2016;23:1048-1059.

Filed under: Cardiometabolic, Miscellaneous, Preventive Medicine, Public Health

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