Can Intermittent Fasting Change Your Internal Clock?
Your circadian rhythm helps your body run on a roughly 24-hour cycle. Think about how you tend to get sleepy when the sun goes down, which happens because your body starts producing melatonin as it gets darker outside.
This study shows that IF has a role to play in this 24-hour clock, as well as the way cells behave over time. As Satchidananda Panda, Ph.D., a senior author of the study, explains, “Circadian rhythms are everywhere in every cell.” And the results of this study showed that time-restricted feeding synchronized the circadian rhythm in cells in a way that promotes health.
More specifically, the data showed that 40% of genes in three areas of the body (the adrenal gland, hypothalamus, and pancreas) were affected by time-restricted eating. “We found that time-restricted eating synchronized the circadian rhythms to have two major waves: one during fasting and another just after eating. We suspect this allows the body to coordinate different processes,” Panda continued.
This coordination may be able to promote health and fend off disease. Previous research by the same authors showed that time-restricted eating could improve the health of firefighters, who often experience circadian rhythm disruptions due to their work schedules.