How over nutrition leads to metabolic disorders

While a billion people worldwide are adversely affected by malnutrition, there are another billion who experience excess calorie intake, or “over nutrition” which leads to obesity and other metabolic disorders including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

Accumulation of excess fat in the liver, causes liver inflammation leading to hepatitis, liver failure, and even liver cancer. This is increasingly becoming a problem, as these conditions can lead to an increased need for liver transplantation, and at worse, can be deadly.

In a study published in Cell, researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania assessed the harmful effects of over nutrition, leading to metabolic disorders.

Researchers found that as liver fat production increases, our body’s ability to burn fat also increases. This nutrition-induced synchronization of two opposite liver fat metabolic processes appears to be our body’s response to an environment of over nutrition. These opposing physiological processes reflect an unexpected connection between overeating, circadian rhythms, and fat accumulation in the liver.

The circadian rhythm /cycles (or physiologic periods of close to 24 hours) of fat creation and burning, at the molecular level,  involve ‘feedback loops’ of ‘clock proteins’ expressed in virtually every cell of the body. They act as internal timekeepers, integrating environmental stimuli and genetic information to control rhythmic gene expression.

Metabolic disorders occur when fat burning outpaces fat accumulation in the liver, leading to misalignment of this rhythm/clock/cycle, increasing health risks.

For those treating obesity and other related disorders it is important to understand the relationship between metabolic disorders and circadian rhythms, for development of meaningful therapeutic strategies.


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