The trouble with being fat, is not the fact that you ooze out of your jeans or wobble a lot on the dance floor, but it is a ticking time bomb, for a very long list of health complaints which ultimately kill you.
Ruled by the clock
Living in the world today, you probably find that your life is ruled by a clock.
The alarm goes off at 6 am, you have an hour to get the morning business of cleaning up, eating and dressing, of yourself and the rest of the family sorted. By 7 am, everyone needs to be loaded in the car, so that you can begin the car run. By 8 am, you should be pulling into the parking lot at the office to put in your 8 hours.
Your life runs according to the clock.
But time drives your biology as well – well at least, that is what should be happening.
Your body physiology is meant to respond to a day/night cycle based on the 24 hour rotation of the planet. Day time is meant for eating and night time is meant for sleeping. The natural order of things is written into your genes. The master time keeper is a molecule called “clock”.
Circadian Biology and Obesity
Shift workers, night owls and insomniacs have a tendency to pack on the pounds, so disregarding the built in metabolic clock, sets the course for metabolic disturbances which can lead to obesity.
Heart clockloses its rhythm in obesity
Every organ of the body has its own tempo. The cardiovascular system is particularly vulnerable to the effects of obesity, so researchers took the pulse of the heart vascular system.
The expression of cardiovascular genes was assessed at three intervals during the day, in three groups of mice (lean, obese and diabetic).
Skinny mice, showed a distinctive pattern over the course of the day. For example, the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), an enzyme which helps to coordinate blood flow by producing nitric oxide, started out low in the early morning but rose during the course of the day.
The same enzyme did not follow this pattern in the obese animals. The levels of the enzyme were either the same all day, or showed the opposite pattern i.e. high in the morning and low in the afternoon.
Being obese unwinds the molecular rhythms of the cardiovascular system.
Poor time keeping
Poor time keeping in obesity is likely to contribute to poor health. Nitric oxide is a very important messenger so the blood vessels can’t function properly. Broken blood vessels are the real problem in lifestyle diseases .
Resetting the molecular clock so that the cardiovascular beat is back to normal should bring health benefits.
Since the molecular clock is connected to the day/night cycle, not the clock on the wall, maybe it’s time to follow the sun.
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Impact of obesity on the vascular circadian clock – the story appeared on the American Physiological Society press room.
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