“Every day, it seems there is never enough time to do what we need or want to do. But clocks, calendars, and schedules aren’t an invention of humans. Clocks are an integral part of life”
I’ve recently attended a fascinating workshop on chronobiology. While listening to the expert, I was reflecting on the teaching from my grandparents. They were living a life ordered by set sequences and rituals around food, sleep and physical activity, punctuated by seasonal changes.
All life is regulated by biological natural rhythms. Modern life, on the other hand, has disrupted these rhythms with shift work, exposure to prolonged hours of artificial light and… erratic eating patterns. Scientific research starts to highlight the consequences of these disruptions on physical & mental health.
Your Body Internal Clocks
We are unique and closely connected to our environment, in space & time. Chronobiology is the science that studies all living organisms adaptation to natural periodic phenomena known as biological rhythms, such as solar and lunar related rhythms. Human capacity to adapt to biological rhythms has a direct implication on body physiology and mental health.
Clocks are not human invention, there are an integral part of all forms of life on earth. Your body is governed by circadian rhythms and your master clock sits in your brain – the suprachiasmatic nucleus in your hypothalamus – that responds to the strong cues of light and darkness. However, Scientifics found more recently that this central body clock synchronises numerous peripheral clocks, not so much entrained by light but by some modification of the body ecology. Physiological & physical activities, such as the time of feeding and nutrient content, vigilance, arousal or stress, exercise influence these peripheral clocks. Your digestive and endocrine organs, such as your liver, your gut or your adrenal glands, have their own clocks!
That’s how chronobiology goes way beyond sleep /awake states.
ChronoNutrition – WHEN & HOW matter!
‘‘Chrono-nutrition’’ refers to eating schedules in coordination with your body’s natural rhythms. This concept reflects the basic idea that, in addition to food amount and food content, food timing is also critical for well-being.
A growing number of scientific researchs indicates that nutrition, especially MEAL TIMING regulates human molecular clocks (called peripheral oscillators), inducing metabolic changes such as blood glucose levels, hormonal balance or detoxification capacity. When central and peripheral clocks become out of sync, it may lead to potential disease onset.
Late eating, for example, is linked to increased blood sugar levels in the morning, overcompensation and poorer dietary choices (towards more refined and fatty foods). As shown in animal studies, the disruption of the clock in fat cells may modify the concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids in hypothalamus, resulting in altered feed behaviors. Even your gut microbiome synchronizes with the circadian rhythm of your digestive system and reciprocally influences it.
Meal timing can also affect a wide variety of other physiological processes, including sleep/wake cycle, core body temperature, performance and alertness. As your watches still working but out of sync would lead to an unproductive life, central and peripheral clocks mismatch leads to unproductive metabolism, resulting in poor digestion, low mood or bad digestion.
Disrupting your natural body rhythmic activity leaves your body and mind disturbed, desynchronized and creates dissonance in your capacity to connect with your hunger signals. When back in sync with your own natural circadian rhythms, you experience balance, harmony and congruence for optimal wellness and vitality. This is the purpose of ChronoNutrition.
Re-Entrain your brain
HOW & WHEN you eat is as important as WHAT you eat to stay healthy, lose weight and get your vitality back. To maintain eating patterns in sync with your natural rhythms, the secret is in your breakfast. By eating during daylight with the most energetic foods consumed in the first part of the day, you follow your natural metabolic peaks and synchronize your central clock with your peripheral oscillators.
You can re-train your eating habits. Eat within light hours and get your late meal around 5:30 – 6pm. With Time Restricting Feeding you may well shed few extra kilos, improve your sleep and get more energy. You may well live longer, better
Thank you to Dr Alessandro Ferretti from Equilibria for its brilliant presentation and research in chronobiology.