Changing your eating habits or altering your circadian clock can impact healthy fat tissue throughout your lifespan, according to a preclinical study published today in Nature by researchers with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).
Healthy fat tissue helps provide energy, supports cell growth, protects organs, and keeps the body warm. A good quality diet and one that is consumed in a rhythmic manner (i.e., lamictal vision during our active cycle) is important in maintaining healthy fat, the researchers found.
Adipocyte progenitor cells mature into adipocytes—the healthy fat cells that make up our adipose tissue, which stores energy as fat. Researchers discovered that adipocyte progenitors undergo rhythmic daily proliferation throughout the 24-hour cycle under normal patterns of energy intake.
However, when investigators introduced a high fat diet, or changed the temporal patterns of food consumption so that mice ate equal increments of food during both the sleep and the wake phase, this 24-hour pattern of pre-adipocyte proliferation was destroyed.
“We found that when we fed mice a high-fat diet, it increased the proliferation of preadipocytes and destroyed its rhythmic pattern,” said Kristin Eckel-Mahan, Ph.D., assistant professor with the Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases at the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases at UTHealth and lead author on the study. “What we project is that over the course of our lifetime, these 24-hour variations in the proliferation of these cells is really important in maintaining healthy fat.”
Throwing off the circadian rhythm and eating a high-fat diet over time will deplete healthy fat cells, and the study suggests that this disruption may be difficult to reverse. Depletion of adipocyte progenitor cells will not allow for healthy new adipocytes to be made within the tissue, ultimately causing defects in fat storage and excess lipid spilling over into other organs, such as the liver and muscle. Eckel-Mahan says having fat in these areas can lead to Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
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