Satchidananda (Satchin) Panda is a professor at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, California, where his research focuses on the circadian regulation of behavior, physiology and metabolism in model organisms and in humans. He discovered a blue-light sensing cell type in the retina entrains our master circadian clock, affects mood, and regulates the production of sleep hormone melatonin. Recently he discovered that maintaining a daily feeding-fasting cycle – popularly known as Time-restricted feeding (TRF) – can prevent and reverse metabolic diseases. Based on a feasibility study in humans, his lab is currently carrying out a smartphone based study (www.mycircadianclock.org) to assess the extent of circadian disruption among adults.
Time-restricted eating for the prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases
Circadian timing system is a dynamic integrator of genome-environment interaction. Chronic circadian rhythm disruption increases risk for numerous chronic diseases. Therefore, approaches to sustain robust circadian rhythm hold untapped potential to prevent or reverse chronic diseases. Time-restricted eating (TRE; 8-12 h food access in the active phase) without changing nutrient quantity or quantity improves circadian rhythms and aligns them appropriately to the period of fasting or feeding. Subjecting rodents to TRE prevents excessive weight gain, adiposity, glucose intolerance, systemic inflammation, hepatosteatosis and hypercholesterolemia independent of diet type. Rodents on TRE also show increased endurance, motor coordination, and brown fat function. When high fat diet induced obese mice or mice with genetic predisposition to obesity are subjected to TRE, they also experience similar therapeutic benefits. TRE does not alter the major gut microbiome composition, yet it modulates gut metabolism of carbohydrates and bile acids. Unbiased assessment of the temporal changes in transcriptome, metabolome and gut microbiome revealed TRE exerts pleiotropic effect on metabolism in multiple tissue types in both rodents and insects. To test the translational potential of TRE in humans, we have begun to monitor daily eating pattern using a novel unbiased, evidence-based, and scalable method. Preliminary data shows erratic eating pattern with extended period of frequent caloric intake events that potentially maintains a post-prandial metabolic state in humans in widespread. Time-restricted feeding without overt attempt to alter nutrition quality or quantity might be a potential new lifestyle intervention to improve human health.
The Circadian Code for the fountain of health
Over the last century biomedical research increased human longevity from ~45 years to ~90 years. However, this doubling of human lifespan has not been matched by living healthy. Nearly 1 out of 3 adults and 9 out of 10 people at the age of 60 suffer from at least one chronic disease for which the cure is rare. Doubling of lifespan was driven by the germ theory of disease. We need a similar unifying theory to extend years of life a good health. Here I propose “circadian theory of health” that can revolutionize health care and can give us decades of disease-free healthy life. By following simple lifestyle changes around time of the day and by selecting healthy lighting, we can prevent or reverse many chronic diseases ranging from obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart burn, depression, bipolar disease, dementia, cancer and many more. Even when we fall sick, accurate timing of everyday drugs that matches our circadian rhythm can accelerate cure and bring back our health.