The specific time in which we feed, sleep or take a medication is a key for their effectiveness. These specific times can yield better results even to control sugar levels, reveals UNAM study.

This methodology is known as chronotherapy and is used in the design of treatments to improve the efficiency of metabolism, control sleep rhythms or mitigate the adverse effects of certain diseases.

According to the study, headed by Lorena Aguilar Arnal, from the Biomedical Research Institute (IIBm), pharmacological intervention at specific times (chronotherapy) is more effective in controlling serum glucose levels than a sustained intervention throughout the day.

These results are preliminary and the method has only been tested in mice, so it is necessary to continue with the studies to design in the future a strategy that helps people with obesity and diabetes,” he said.

When applying chronotherapy in obese mice, they recovered from diet-induced obesity. The researchers observed that most evident effect was the elimination of cellular inflammation.

For some time, research on the circadian rhythm (a 24 hour day-night cycle in the physiological processes of living beings) has shown that its alteration can lead to serious health problems. Derived from this knowledge, their observations in the laboratory show that the time of intake of a medicine or food supplement influences the response obtained.

The researcher from the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology of the IIBm said that our central clock is in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, in the brain, but also almost all the cells of the body have their own clock, which allows them to know when it is necessary to activate, make copies of the genome, thermoregulate, and decrease or increase blood pressure.

For her work, Aguilar Arnal and her team reviewed genes such as DBP, which are expressed cyclically during the day. In this phase, he exemplified, a mouse can produce between 500 and 800 copies more than during the night. “The difference between day and night of this gene is impressive.”

Aguilar Arnal, winner of the international Human Frontiers Science scholarship, analyzes what happens when chronotherapy is applied to mice with liver alterations due to diabetes. For this, she reviewed the expression of hepatic genes during the day and night; and the preliminary results indicate that particularly during the day there is a transcriptional reprogramming, that is, the organism works better and takes more advantage of the drugs, which allows recovery.

Aguilar Arnal said that the World Health Organization considers that the alteration of the circadian cycle is a health problem, and it has been associated with several diseases ranging from cancer, metabolism, and mental disorders.