The Blood Sugar Hormone Adiponectin is Linked to Your Circadian Clock

Wednesday, September 09, 2009
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

A detailed analysis of biological clocking genes1 has shown that adiponectin function is in sync with 24-hour patterns.  The data also showed that fasting causes the adiponectin-relating timing to fast forward, whereas a high fat diet causes adiponectin-related timing to enter jet lag.

Many people know that on some days their energy is in gear and clicking along and on other days their body feels more like molasses, a struggle to stay in motion.  These are examples of good timing and bad timing, regardless of the reason why.

Leptin is the commander in chief of all hormones and one of its main timing rhythms is on a 24-hour cycle wherein leptin levels are highest at midnight (meaning don’t eat food and prepare other hormones for sleep-related timing release).

In health, leptin and adiponectin levels rise together as a team.  During weight gain, leptin levels rise excessively in the blood and do not enter the brain properly (causing leptin resistance and food cravings any time, especially at night).  The excess leptin in the blood causes adiponectin to fall, resulting in insulin resistance and the risk for developing type II diabetes.

In addition to these general patterns and relationships of leptin and adiponectin this new study indicates that the precise timing of adiponectin can be thrown off, especially by over-consuming food.  The researchers also showed that bad timing caused gene related defects in adiponectin receptors, interfering with the healthy processing of blood sugar.

It is interesting that fasting fast-forwards adiponectin timing, a feature that may be useful in that a one-day fast will often clear the feeling of jet lag many people have from eating too much.  However, continued fasting for any length of time beyond 24 hours is very likely to induce the leptin-starvation response as well as disrupt the 24-hour rhythm just as much as overeating.

Managing adiponectin well is the single most important hormone for preventing insulin resistance and type II diabetes.  The most basic way to do this is to follow the Five Rules of the Leptin Diet.


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Adiponectin and Circadian Rhythms  Obesity  Maayan Barnea, Zecharia Madar and Oren Froy.

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