While its essential to eat healthy to ensure metabolic health, it is imperative to eat at the appropriate time. For the first time, researchers at the University of Copenhagen, The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, investigated the early effects of intermittent fasting also called as time-restricted feeding on the daily cyclic alterations of metabolites (end product of metabolism) and genes in muscles, and metabolites in bloodstream.
Research findings revealed that intermittent fasting does not affect the muscle clock, along with key changes in genetic material, muscle proteins and fats (lipids) in muscles following the time restricted diet, published in Nature.
— DW Maas (@dw_maas) September 18, 2020
Previous scientific evidence shows that one of the effective means of losing weight and obesity management is to reduce the eating per number of hours in the day. Time-restricted feeding in this regard is proved beneficial.
Disrupted eating patterns and a reduction in the time spent in the fasted state is found to lead towards aberrated energy homeostasis, predisposing to digestive disorders. In mouse models, extended fasting duration is found to improve obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
Time-restricted feeding (TRF), typically defined as food consumed for more than 10 hour per day, represents a practical means to control dietary intake by extending the time spent fasting and improves markers of metabolic health in both animal models and humans.
Muscle clocks are group of gene encoding factors or genes inside each muscle that control the physiological cycles based on the external environmental changes and physical activity. The fundamental role of muscle clocks is to be monitoring the internal and external changes happens for 24 hours period.
Researchers have also found that, genetic mutations in clock genes in mouse models can cause obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions that includes high sugar and low insulin levels in the blood). Also, individuals working at night shifts are at greater risk of getting these metabolic diseases.
In the study, researchers recruited 11 men who were overweight ad had obesity. They were assigned one of two eating protocols for a period of five days; unrestricted feeding and eight-hours of time restricted feeding. Samples were collected on the fifth day for every four hours for a full day. The protocol was repeated after the ten-day break. Following, their gene profiles were studies and profile of metabolites were measured in the blood and muscles.
Results revealed that the intermittent fasting profoundly changed the rhythmic concentration of metabolites and expression of muscle clock genes in blood and muscle, predisposing towards a positive outcome by helping the transport of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
Postdoc Leonidas Lundell, from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) at the University of Copenhagen, said, “We also see that the metabolite profile of skeletal muscle switches from being predominantly lipid based, to amino acid based, after time-restricted feeding. This coincides with changes in rhythmicity of amino acid transporters, indicating that part of the amino acid profile could be due to absorption from the blood.”