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Stomach 'clock' tells us how much to eat

RATE THIS! +21
Posted in Science on 7th Dec, 2013 03:07 AM by AlexMuller

University of Adelaide researchers have discovered the first evidence that the nerves in the stomach act as a circadian clock, limiting food intake to specific times of the day. The discovery, published today in The Journal of Neuroscience, could lead to new information about how the gut signals to our brains about when we're full, and when to keep eating.

 
In the University's Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory, Dr Stephen Kentish investigated how the nerves in the stomach respond to stretch, which occurs as a consequence of food intake, at three-hourly intervals across one day.
 
"These nerves are responsible for letting the brain know how much food we have eaten and when to stop eating," says Dr Kentish, who is the lead author of the paper.
 
"What we've found is that the nerves in the gut are at their least sensitive at time periods associated with being awake. This means more food can be consumed before we feel full at times of high activity, when more energy is required.
 
"However, with a change in the day-night cycle to a period associated with sleeping, the nerves in the stomach become more sensitive to stretch, signalling fullness to the brain quicker and thus limiting food intake. This variation repeats every 24 hours in a circadian manner, with the nerves acting as a clock to coordinate food intake with energy requirements," he says.
 
So far this discovery has been made in laboratory studies, not in humans.
 
"Our theory is that the same variations in nerve responses exist in human stomachs, with the gut nerves being less sensitive to fullness during the day and more sensitive at night," Dr Kentish says.

Tags: foodstomachnervesobesityhungerneurosciencecircadian clock

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-07
+2
This is interesting - sensitivity of nerves can change to get more food at the time of activity and need for energy. Lets find out does this holds for humans Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-07
+2
Circadian clocks are known to play a role in sleep regulation and this discovery of a "clock" in stomach nerves is an important finding Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-07
+1
Eating during the night may be difficult. This could have implications for shift workers and people who stay up later at night Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-07
+1
The findings are exciting but we caution is advised in applying the results to humans until further studies had been conducted. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-07
+0
It will be interesting to find out whether the effects of leptin – a hormone that regulates food intake – changes in over 24 hours and how that interacts with the circadian clock. Reply


 

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