Friday, October 24, 2014
Frequent fliers across continents and those working the graveyard shift have a reason to worry. According to a new study, disruption of the biological clock may lead to obesity or other metabolic problems due to disturbances in the gut microbial balance.
The gut microflora can exert numerous systemic effects, in addition to their actions in the gut. Published in the journal Cell Press, the study found that the microscopic bacteria in the gut follow the circadian rhythms of the host in which they reside. Any factor that disturbs these rhythms may alter the composition of the microbes, predisposing the host to metabolic alterations.
In the study, the researchers analysed the microbes found in faecal samples collected from mice and humans at different times of day. They found rhythmic fluctuations in the abundance of microbes and their biological activities. The host’s circadian clock and normal feeding times were the deciding factors for these rhythmic fluctuations.
However, when mice were exposed to changing light-dark schedules and abnormal 24 hr feeding habits, the microbial community lost its rhythmic fluctuations and changed in composition. When these jet-lagged mice were given a high fat diet, they gained weight and developed the metabolic changes seen in diabetes.
Similarly, jet lag in 2 human subjects who had travelled across different time zones had changed gut microbial composition, favouring the growth of bacteria that are incriminated in obesity and metabolic disease.
"These findings provide an explanation for a long-standing and mysterious observation, namely that people with chronically disturbed day-night cycles due to repetitive jet lag or shift work have a tendency to develop obesity and other metabolic complications," said senior researcher Eran Elinav.
These findings highlight a new angle that may be explored to help prevent obesity in high-risk populations such as frequent fliers and shift workers. In that regard, simply balancing the gut microbial composition with probiotic or antimicrobial therapy may be highly beneficial in curbing the incidence of obesity or metabolic conditions in this section of people.
For study details:-Click Here!