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Your Biological Clock May Control Your Weight

This study on circadian rhythms was published in the online edition of the journal Nature. It details an animal study which used a combined molecular compound to alter the biological clock in mice subjects. Circadian rhythms, or biological clocks are present in most living things, humans included. This is the internal clock which aligns itself with the 24 hour day and with light and darkness.

In the study, animal models were given the synthetic compound in their diet. The compound has an effect on the gene expression of the internal clock, altering its patterns in the brains hypothalamus. The mice in the experiment were fed typical weight gaining diets, high in fat and sugar.

Changing up the normal rhythms in the organs seems to have a clear and drastic effect on the mice subjects. Over the course of 12 weeks, the mice were given two doses of the compound per day. At the end of the study, results showed an average 47 percent drop in cholesterol. There was also a significant reduction in body weight by loss of fat mass. The blood also showed an average decrease in triglyceride's by 12 percent. All of these changes were seen without a change in the food content and quantity.

The compound was developed to effect two active proteins known to control the inner clock. The reason for the fat and cholesterol reduction was attributed to the effect the activated protein has on the metabolism of the muscles, liver, and fat. The energy expenditure in these increased, and it was noted that the animals increased oxygen consumption by about 5 percent during the day and night, even though physical movement had actually decreased during the 12 day period. 

 The results in this study are promising, but researchers realise that this is just the beginning. Much more research will be required to corroborate these findings in animal studies, and to ensure there are few negative side effects before moving onto human trials of the compound. The study did not mention any negative health effects as a result of the 12 day dosing in the mice.

Reference

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) (2012, April 3). Caffeine and exercise may be protective against skin cancer caused by sun exposure, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/04/120403142328.htm
 

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