Ann Conkle
Mar 19, 2012

Circadian rhythms have profound influence on metabolic output

By analyzing the hundreds of metabolic products present in the liver, researchers have discovered that circadian rhythms greatly control the production of key molecular building blocks like amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids. Approximately 60 percent of the 600 liver-originated metabolites were found to be dependent on the circadian clock. Hence, metabolites and related signaling proteins in cells seem to be acutely tied to circadian disruptions. This may help explain some of the primary physiological factors underlying obesity, high cholesterol and metabolic-based diseases like diabetes. "By identifying the relationship between metabolites and the body clock, we have taken a first step toward a better understanding of how nutrients interact with our metabolism, giving researchers a new opportunity to spot the optimal times for us to get the fullest benefits from the foods we eat and the medications we take," said Kristin Eckel-Mahan, a study co-author.