CIRCADIAN MEDICINE

A new study by a research team in Germany show that  mitochondria,  are highly regulated by circadian rhythms

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You are when you eat: The Circadian System and the Metabolic Disorders 

Not uncommon is this idea that "you are what you eat". However, as scientists make more discovries in the field fo circadian biology, the interaction between time of feeding and risk of metabolic diseases has become more apparent.

The metabolic syndromes, diabetes and obesity, have become topics of increasing concern in our modern society.  Similar to the circadian regulation of cardiovascular physiology, circadian rhythms also regulate the critical pathways that control metabolic activity and energy balance. For example, our metabolic rate increases throughout the day when the brain sends signals to the body to prepare it for food.  However, the opposite occurs at night , and failure of that to occur can cause diseases such as diabetes (Fig 1)

Figure 1. Difference in metabolic activity during the day and night
A new study by a research team in Germany show that mitochondria, which are parts of our cells that are involved in converting the food we eat into energy, are highly regulated by circadian rhythms. As a result,  mitochondria have a peak time of activity which means that our body's ability to break down food also has a peak level of activity. Based on how our metabolism changes, it is intuitive to say that this peak occurs during the day. This likely explains why our mothers and grandmothers tell us not to eat too late at night.​ 

However with the demands of our society, people are required to work around the 24 hour clock, and thus consume food at times that our bodies are not accustomed to. It is no surprise that diseases of the metabolic nature (diabetes and obesity) are more likely to occur in shift workers. It is important to educate people about the intricacies of the body clock to reduce the incidence of metabolic diseases.

References:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308011.php
http://advances.nutrition.org/content/5/3/312S.full