All fat cells have circadian clocks. What does this mean? It means that the function of fat cells is dependent on the time of day. This means that the light signal we put into our eyes matters. Light goes from our eyes to our master time clock in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN).
The SCN uses this time input to sync all other clock genes in the body, including those found in fat cells. Fat cells used to be considered simply storage depots of energy for times of scarcity. We now know fat is an endocrine organ, meaning it secretes hormones and chemicals and plays an important role in energy homeostasis. What happens in fat cells when we have a dysfunctional circadian rhythm?
There is an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS), inflammation, an increase in fat cell size, a decrease in insulin and leptin sensitivity and a decrease in lipolysis. In non-scientific terms, this means the fat cells are likely to get bigger, decrease their ability to burn fat for fuel and become inflamed. This means the ability to burn fat is organized by something independent of what foods you eat. Hence your fat metabolism depends on your circadian rhythm.
What things can strengthen our circadian clocks?
- the day-night cycle
- the 24-hour magnetic flux from the Earth’s core
- timing of meals
- timing of exercise
- timing of certain light exposures to the eyes
When these things are synced, your circadian rhythm is strong. When your circadian rhythm is strong, your body can burn fat for fuel and produces less reactive oxygen species and inflammation. At the most basic level, see the sunrise and allow your home to become dark into the evening when the sun sets. Use Circadian to help you set your rhythm and optimize your timing.