Obesity Linked To Body Clock

Australian researchers have shed new light on the role our 'body clock' might play in controlling appetite. Their findings suggest that an individual's obesity level could be determined by a single gene. In other words, the "big boned" excuse just got trumped by something better.

Body clock picture from Shutterstock

Researchers from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Sydney uncovered a new cell surface receptor in the brains of mice. The 'Y6' receptor, which is produced in a very small region of the brain, was found to regulate the body clock and growth hormone production.

The research team discovered that when this gene was deleted, mice were smaller and had less lean tissue than their normal counterparts. They also grew noticeably fatter as they aged, especially when fed a high-fat diet, resulting in metabolic problems similar to diabetes

“It is now clear to us that signalling through the Y6 receptor system is critical for the ways in which energy is used at different times of the day,” head researcher Professor Herbert Herzog said in a statement.

“Our work shows that [the gene] is a satiety signal, and probably controls the circadian aspect of food intake — because the same amount of calories eaten at different times of the day has different effects on body weight.”

The report concludes that Y6 is a critical regulator of energy homeostasis and body composition, with germline deletion of the gene leading to reduced body weight, inhibition of lean body mass and an age-dependent increase in obesity — in mice at least.

“While it is not clear whether the Y6 receptor is fully active in humans, Pancreatic Polypeptide is highly expressed – even more so than in mice – and it’s possible that another receptor to which the peptide has high affinity, such as Y4, could have taken over this function.”

More research is needed to uncover how closely these findings might relate to the human body clock. In the meantime, you can find plenty of advice on how to maintain a healthy BMI via our Losing Weight, Eating Healthy and Exercise tags.

Pancreatic polypeptide controls energy homeostasis via Npy6r signaling in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in mice [Cell Metabolism Journal]

See also: Your Stomach Has Its Own Body Clock | Ask LH: How Can I Put On Weight? | Master Your 'Body Clock' To Eat, Sleep And Work More Efficiently


    You can link it to whatever you want, it still comes down to too much sugar and a lack of exercise... Put the fork down... :)

      no sympathy? , fat people have feelings to....they just like eating them

    Great, let's give people more excuses to think they 'can't lose weight' because they have this 'special physiological reason'. Eat less, move more. Yes losing weight can be incredibly difficult, and yes some people lose weight easier than others, but short of some very rare medical conditions, everyone can achieve and maintain a healthy weight. If I can lose 40kg with my predilection for tasty treats, so can everyone else.

    I wish exercise was mandatory cause we spend so much money on treating obesity which instead should be to prevent it in the first place and save a whole heap of money.
    Of course there will be a range of conditions that you will have to meet but the idea is to get everyone moving

      Your comment about the money reminded me of what Dubai did in an attempt to solve the obesity problem - offered monetary reward for losing weight (I think it was a gram of gold per kilogram body weight lost). I've often wondered if this sort of thing might work here, offering some kind of tax breaks or reimbursement for losing weight and keeping it off. Money is a great motivator for a lot of people, and it might save the country money in the long run by reducing the medical costs associated with obesity. Of course it'd need to be pretty heavily regulated, but I wonder how it'd work in the long run.

        I'd put that in the same category as the programs that give kids vouchers to go to school: In specific cases it might be just enough motivation to tip somebody over the edge or get them into the right habits...but 95% of the time, people will either not need them or just go through the motions until the rewards stop.

        It'd definitely have to be highly targeted, opening it up to the general population would be a terrible idea - with enough warning I (and many other fools) could easily put on 10+kg, maybe a few kg of water weight, and start marketing some extra-heavy underwear to give you an edge at the initial weigh-in.

        We should have a fat trading scheme, similar to carbon trading but based on an average % body fat deviation from the national median you either get a refund or pay.

        If you are 2 standard deviations on the wrong side you have to pay a small tuba player to follow you around as well, like stewie from family guy.

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