Beware! Jetlag can contribute to obesity

Urgent appointments, tight work timetables and hectic social schedules may require you to travel frequently leading to jet lag.  

Updated: Oct 17, 2014, 15:24 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Urgent appointments, tight work timetables and hectic social schedules may require you to travel frequently leading to jet lag.

According to a new study, among other effects of jet lag other than poor health can be that it contributes to development of obesity.

Frequent flying can disrupt circadian clock and alter the rhythms and composition of the microbial community in the gut, leading to obesity and metabolic problems.

Not just this, if the rhythms dictated by our lifestyles are persistently out of phase with our biological clock, the risk of illness, such as high blood pressure and even cancer, rises.

Senior study author Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science was quoted as saying to a news agency: “These findings provided an explanation for a long-standing and mysterious observation, namely that people with chronically disturbed day-night cycles due to repetitive jet lag or shift work had a tendency to develop obesity and other metabolic complications”.

Authors analysed the microbes found in faecal samples collected from mice and humans at different times of day and they discovered that rhythmic fluctuations in the abundance of microbes and their biological activities. The host's circadian clock and normal feeding habits were required for the generation of these rhythmic fluctuations in the gut microbes.

According to the study, when mice were exposed to changing light-dark schedules and abnormal 24-hour feeding habits, the microbial community lost its rhythmic fluctuations and changed in composition.

Moreover, a high-fat diet caused these jet-lagged mice to gain weight and develop metabolic problems associated with diabetes.

The study is published in journal Cell Press.

(With Agency inputs)