Scientists say stomach follows circadian rhythms
New research from Australia has found that eating habits are affected partially by stomach nerves that follow circadian rhythms.
Scientists from the University of Adelaide used mice to analyze the relationship between stomach nerves and circadian rhythms. The findings showed that hours during the day associated with being awake correlated with minimally sensitive stomach nerves. So, more food can be consumed during these times, when more energy is required, researchers said. Alternately, times of the day associated with sleeping correlated with increased sensitivity among stomach nerves. Researchers said that this activity signals fullness and limits food intake.
The study’s findings, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that nerves in the stomach act like a clock, sending "fullness" signals to the brain throughout the day to coordinate food intake with energy requirements. Although the study was limited to mice, researchers said that at least in theory, a similar relationship between stomach nerves and circadian rhythms would exist in humans.
The researchers said they plan to conduct further studies to investigate how changes to circadian rhythms affect eating habits and how stomach nerves react to such changes.