A major cause of chronic disease that hardly anyone considers
A major cause of chronic disease that hardly anyone considers by Erin Elizabeth – Health Nut News
Satchidananda Panda, Ph.D., is a leading researcher in a very important field of study: the circadian rhythm, which is the topic of his book, “Circadian Code: Lose Weight, Supercharge Your Energy and Sleep Well Every Night.” It’s a great read, written at a level that is easy to understand.
Growing up on a farm in India, he was initially intrigued by the fact that he slept best during the summertime. Then, going through agricultural school, he realized that different plants flower at certain times of the day.
“A few years later, when I was thinking about grad school, I realized there are so many things about biology of time,” Panda says. “Every biological system depends on time; just like throughout the day we have a clear timetable when we should be doing this and that — meeting people and having conversation and having dinner.
Every organism has that [but] we haven’t learned the biology of time. That’s why I got excited about circadian rhythms, because this is a universal timing system, starting from pond scum to humans … Every organism has to go through this 24-hour timing schedule.
If this is disrupted, then plants will flower at the wrong time and animals will not reproduce well. In humans, lots of different diseases can happen. That’s why I got excited about circadian rhythms and got into my Ph.D. Now I’m at the Salk Institute, a nonprofit research organization in San Diego, California.”
Circadian Rhythms Are Under Genetic Control
Last year, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three U.S. biologists — Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young — for their discovery of master genes that control your body’s circadian rhythms. Panda explains:
“The bottom line is almost every cell in our body has its own clock. In every cell, the clock regulates a different set of genes, [telling them] when to turn on and [when to] turn off.
As a result, almost every hormone in your body, every brain chemical, every digestive juice and every organ that you can think of, its core function rises and falls at certain times of the day [in a coordinated fashion].
For example, your growth hormone might rise in the middle of the night, in the middle of sleep. At the same time, if there is not [too much] food in your stomach, then the stomach lining will start to repair. For that repair to work perfectly, the growth hormone from the brain has to coincide with the stomach repair time.
In that way, different rhythms in different parts of our body have to work together for the entire body to work optimally. In fact, to have these daily rhythms and sleep-wake cycle, being more alert in the morning, having the bowel movement at the right time, having better muscle tone in the afternoon, these rhythms are the fountain of health. That’s the indication of health.”
Shift Work Disrupts Your Circadian Rhythm
The idea that you could possibly micromanage this intricately timed system from the outside is foolish in the extreme. As Panda notes in his book, the key, really, is to pay attention to and honor ancient patterns of waking, sleeping and eating. By doing that, your body more or less takes care of itself automatically.