SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Korea Bizwire) – Circadian rhythms, widely known as body clocks, are heavily affected by visceral fat levels as opposed to belly fat, researchers have found.
Contrary to popular belief, visceral fat, not belly fat, has the biggest impact on circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycle in the biological processes of living things, according to a study conducted by a research team at Gangnam Severance Hospital.
The team revealed its findings after conducting blood-based circadian rhythms tests through peripheral blood mononuclear cells and studying the intra-abdominal fat and subcutaneous fat levels through CT scans of 75 patients who had visited the hospital’s obesity clinic in the past.
The researchers learned that when the level of visceral fat rises, an increased number of circadian clock genes such as PER2, PER3, CRY2, and mRNA were found, genes which produce necessary components for the generation and regulation of circadian rhythms.
In the meantime, other types of circadian clock genes including CRY1 and mRNA decreased, which meant the gene expressions were found to exceed normal levels depending on visceral fat levels.
On the contrary, researchers found no link between the quantity of subcutaneous fat and circadian clock genes, leading researchers to see visceral fat as a major factor impacting body clocks.
Disturbed body clocks can lead to medical conditions such as obesity, infection and metabolic disease.
“Through the study, we found a link between visceral fat levels and the circadian clock gene expression. Going forward, additional research needs to take place to learn about the impact of circadian clock genes on other types of visceral fat-related disease, cerebrovascular diseases, and cancer,” said Professor Lee Ji-won, who led the study.
The concept of body clocks became better known to the public after American scientists Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young won the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine for their work on the internal clock of living organisms last year.
The findings were published in the latest edition of Chronobiology International.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)