Messing With Our Body Clocks Causes Weight Gain And Diabetes : Shots - Health News : NPR
Research that helped discover the clocks running in every cell in our bodies earned three scientists a Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday.
"With exquisite precision, our inner clock adapts our physiology to the dramatically different phases of the day," the Nobel Prize committee wrote of the work of Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young. "The clock regulates critical functions such as behavior, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism."
We humans are time-keeping machines. And it seems we need regular sleeping and eating schedules to keep all of our clocks in sync.
Studies show that if we mess with the body's natural sleep-wake cycle say, by working an overnight shift, taking a trans-Atlantic flight or staying up all night with a new baby or puppy we pay the price.
Our blood pressure goes up, hunger hormones get thrown off and blood sugar control goes south.
We can all recover from an occasional all-nighter, an episode of jet lag or short-term disruptions.
But over time, if living against the clock becomes a way of life, this may set the stage for weight gain and metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.
"What happens is that you get a total de-synchronization of the clocks within us," explains Fred Turek , a circadian scientist at Northwestern University. "Which may be underlying the chronic diseases we face in our society today."
So consider what happens, for instance, if we eat late or in the middle of the night. The master clock which is set by the light-dark cycle is cuing all other clocks in the body that it's night. Time t Continue reading