A broken body clock sets the stage for diabetes

The clocks sprung forward two weeks ago now. But if you’re still feeling out of sorts from daylight savings—or perhaps now from practicing social distance—it’s no wonder why. (And not just because of the mass coronavirus shutdowns that have swept across the nation.)

Circadian rhythms may sound like some kind of New Age invention—the kind of thing you’d find next to the horoscopes in the newspaper. But I assure you, they’re a very real—and very important—part of human biology.

Your body runs on a schedule set forth by circadian rhythms. And when you defy that schedule, you put your own health at risk. Because as I’ve explained here before, it can impact your health in more ways than most people likely realize.

Circadian rhythms affect cell behavior, too

 As part of a new study, Swiss researchers observed pancreatic cell behavior from two different sets of patients—one healthy, and one with type 2 diabetes—over the course of a full 24-hour day.

They found that diabetic cells themselves had altered biological rhythms. Not only were their circadian cycles disturbed, but they were also less synchronized—meaning that the release of key blood sugar hormones, like insulin and glucagon, was poorly coordinated.

Which, as you might expect, leads to poor blood sugar control. But that was only the first part of their research…

In the second part of their study, researchers used a flavonoid from lemon peel called nobiletin to re-synch these disrupted circadian cycles, and to help restore the proper rhythm (and at least partial function) to the pancreas.

As a result, they saw an immediate improvement in insulin secretion. And I trust I don’t have to explain the benefits of that…

Getting your body clock back on track

Your circadian rhythms are mainly regulated through light and darkness, and, as I’ve explained here before, they affect just about every function in your body.

Your hypothalamus—the part of your brain responsible for critical functions, like releasing hormones—sets the schedule for all of your body’s organs and cells. And ideally, all of those clocks are going to function in tandem over the course of 24 hours (or a single day-to-night cycle).

In other words, there’s a “right” time for just about every activity—not just sleeping and waking.

Let’s not forget that pancreatic cells are also affected by deviations in fasting and food intake rhythms. And when these clocks get thrown off, your metabolic function is going to decline and your pancreas is going to be compromised.

So, for example, if you eat at night rather than during the day, you’ll have a suboptimal metabolic response— no matter how healthy your meals are.

And between our society’s crazy work schedules, access to electronic devices at all hours, unlimited supply of immediate food sources, and lack of sleep, it’s really no wonder why metabolic disease is so prevalent.

But if this study’s findings hold up in actual human patients, taking a simple lemon extract may be one way to help recalibrate our rhythms and undo the damage. And that’s exciting, to say the least.

Either way, there’s still a lot you can do to fix a broken body clock—from eating at the proper times to exercising more. In fact, I devoted an entire article to just this subject back in the March 2018 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The deadly cost of a broken ‘body clock’”).

Subscribers have access to that article and a whole lot more in my archives. So if you haven’t already, as always, consider signing up today.    


“Could resetting our internal clocks help control diabetes?.” Science Daily, 01/31/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200131074205.htm)