Lights may cause obesity, reveals study

By TNT Bureau

Aug 7, 2017: According to a new study that may scare people who work late at night, lights may cause obesity. The study which was conducted on mice found that artificial light tends to increase the fat in the body hence, warning people that even if you work extra for about 3-4 hours per night under artificial light, you may end up gaining a lot of weight,

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What distinguishes the study from others?

Previous studies have revealed that there is some connection between circadian rhythms and obesity, however it was very vague and nothing was said afterwards.

This new study which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has come forward with a novel mechanism to give details as to how light can increase body fat.

For the research, one group of mice were exposed to light for 16-24 hours. On the other hand, there was another group of mice who were exposed to regular light cycle for about 12 hours. Both the groups were given equal amount of food.

Those mice that were exposed to extreme light experienced abridged movement of a particular fat tissue known as brown adipose tissue or BAT which is a chief player in energy utilization among mammals, and it was reported that they became 21% fatter as compared to those mice that were exposed under normal light cycles.

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The research head Dr Patrick C.N. Rensen said that as fundamental mechanism we acknowledged that brown fat, a tissue that combusts huge quantities of fat into heat, becomes less active when exposed to extreme light thus leading to decreased energy outgoings that results in an augment in body fat.

Some interesting details of the study

Over the past few years, brown fat has become the target of a number of pharmaceutical companies in order to develop obesity-fighting drugs as it has the ability to combust fat into heat. The new study indicates as to how BAT functions and also how our social routine and work pressure may hamper our body.

Rensen who is also the head of Endocrinology Research at Leiden University Medical Center Netherlands said that we now demonstrate that brown fat adjusts its movement to changes in circadian rhythmicity. This is suitable for migratory adaptations to exterior temperature. This means that during summer less activity of brown fat is necessary because days are longer.

However, the problem arises when we change our circadian rhythms because of social or work-related activities and end up spending a lot of time under the light bulb. All these can lead to severe consequences. This can also help in explaining the rise of obesity in modern times.

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