Are you a Lark or an Owl?
Have you like me, been binge watching Netflix? I have watched more TV than ever before during lockdown! However, staying up late may have an impact on how you metabolise and store fat! And it has everything to do with the liver. A new liver gene has been discovered that reveals how your body copes (or not) with those late nights and how you store fat!
Our DAY/NIGHT CYCLE Circadian rhythm.
Every living cell in our body (except red blood cells) are controlled by an internal “clock” which drives our circadian rhythm. This process is controlled by some external triggers such as our sleep cycle i.e. light/dark entering the eye and our feeding times.
These cues are known as Zeitgeber or “time-givers” and help set our internal clock and even affect how our gut bacteria and immune system responds which you can read more about in my recent blog “how to improve your immunity”
A team of scientists at the University of Oxford have discovered an important component of our circadian rhythym; a liver gene known as REVERB-alpha which is one of a network of proteins that keep our organs “ticking” in time with our internal clock.
This gene – if you have the “fully coded” version can help your liver deal with the occasional “insult” i.e. late night and late night snacks but variations in this gene are associated with obesity so it is not surprising that those unlucky people will not be so lucky with out of sync eating habits. Timing is more important than we ever realised when it comes with your body’s immunity, sleep, digestion and metabolism.
Research shows that mice lacking this gene were more prone to storing fat around the middle and around their organs and became obese very quickly when given a high-fat diet.
When it comes to the liver; it loves a strict regime to help it do its job effectively filtering blood and storing glycogen which is released as glucose when a demand for energy is initiated. The liver is fully “in the dark” and relies on your zeitgeber to tell it when to supply energy to the rest of the body.
Disrupting our circadian rhythm by going to bed later than normal or eating too late can lead to poor sleep patterns, leading to low energy the next day which then leads onto unhealthy food choices as you drive your waking day with stimulants such as coffee, sugar and carbs to keep you going!
The liver stores and releases glycogen on demand and is critical for maintaining energy balance and of course is designed to cope with fasting through the night whilst we sleep. Interestingly, shift-workers are more prone to obesity and higher risk of Diabetes Type II as their circadian rhythms are forced out of sync. Supporting the health of your liver is critical to longterm health and wellbeing and giving it a little holiday with my one-day liver detox plan is also a great kick-start to weight loss.
The gene REVERB-alpha may hold the clue to why disordered eating causes may fat to be stored around our middle and organs. When the gene was “deleted” in mice it caused a massive alteration in the expression of other genes that control fat metabolism and storage but this only happened when the gene was deleted from the liver.
What can you do?
So, we may get away with the occasional late night eating /drinking and delayed sleep but if this becomes a regular habit and if we constantly go against our natural circadian rhythm, our body clock is disrupted and the liver knows it and responds producing more energy than we can make use of, disrupting fat metabolism, resulting in fat storage.
It is clearly important to our internal clock and organs to eat at a regular time of the day consistently with a clear period of fasting overnight to keep our liver clock ticking.
Do you stay up late or eat later than you know you should? try sticking to a routine of going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time in the morning and aim to have your meals at the same time. Meal planning ahead can help you be more organised and you can download your FREE meal planner and get started today.
If you need some healthy inspiration, my new recipe packs are packed with tasty, easy and healthy recipes, the new 5-ingredient pack is proving very popular with some fabulous time-saving recipes and all packs come with a handy meal planner and shopping list, why not download yours today and save yourself some time so you can get to bed earlier!
Get in touch to get my help to re-set your metabolism and improve sleep patterns in an easy, achievable way eating real food with my full support and heaps of healthy inspiration. Contact me
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