Day feeding and mental health

Participants in the group that only ate during the day did not experience this increase, suggesting that meal timing may influence mood vulnerability. The results are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Our findings provide evidence for the timing of food intake as a novel strategy to potentially minimize mood vulnerability in people experiencing circadian misalignment, such as those who work shifts, experience jet lag, or suffer from circadian rhythm disorders.” “said the correspondent. Author Frank ScheerHMS Professor of Medicine and Director of the Medical Chronobiology Program in the Division of Circadian and Sleep Disorders at Brigham and Women’s.

“Future studies in shift workers and clinical populations are required to firmly establish whether meal timing changes can prevent their increased mood vulnerability. Until then, our study brings a new ‘player’ to the table: the timing of food intake is important for our mood,” Scheer said.

Shift workers represent up to 20 percent of the labor force in industrial societies and are directly responsible for many hospital services, factory work, and other essential services.

They often experience a misalignment between the brain’s central circadian clock and daily behaviors, such as sleep/wake and fast/meal cycles.

Importantly, they also have a 25 to 40 percent increased risk of depression and anxiety.

“Shift workers, as well as individuals experiencing circadian disruption, including jet lag, may benefit from our meal timing intervention,” said the corresponding co-author. Sara Chellappa, who completed work on this project while at Brigham and Women’s. Chellappa is now at the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Cologne.

“Our findings open the door to a new circadian behavior/sleep strategy that could also benefit people experiencing mental health disorders. Our study adds to a growing body of evidence finding that strategies that optimize sleep and circadian rhythms can help promote mental health,” Chellappa said.

To conduct the study, Scheer, Chellappa, and their colleagues recruited 19 participants (12 men and 7 women) for a randomized controlled study.

Participants underwent a forced desynchronization protocol in low-light conditions for four 28-hour “days,” such that on the fourth “day” their behavior cycles reversed by 12 hours, simulating night work and causing a circadian misalignment.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of two meal timing groups: the day and night meal control group, which ate according to a 28-hour cycle, resulting in eating during the night and day, which which is typical among night workers), and the daytime meal-only intervention group, which had meals on a 24-hour cycle, resulting in eating only during the day.

The team assessed mood levels similar to depression and anxiety every hour.

The team found that the timing of meals significantly affected the participants’ mood levels. During the simulated night shift (Day 4), those in the daytime and nighttime eating control group had increased depression-like mood levels and anxiety-like mood levels, compared to baseline ( day 1).

In contrast, there were no changes in mood in the daytime meal intervention group during the sham night shift.

Participants with a higher degree of circadian misalignment experienced mood more similar to depression and anxiety.

“Meal timing is emerging as an important aspect of nutrition that can influence physical health,” Chellappa said. “But the causal role of timing of food intake in mental health remains to be proven. Future studies are required to establish whether changes in meal timing may help people experiencing depressive and anxiety/anxiety-related disorders.”

Este estudio fue financiado por los Institutos Nacionales de Salud (Números de subvención R01HL118601, 1UL1TR001102 y 1UL1TR002541, R01HL118601, R01DK099512, R01DK102696, R01DK105072, R01HL140574, R01HL1HL1HL1OTA, Y K999TA, Y LA AJUSTACIÓN Y HUMBOND Y HUMBOND Y HUMBOND Y HUMBOND Y HUMBOND. 17 -PDF-103).

Disclosures: Scheer served on the board of directors of the Sleep Research Society and has received consulting fees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Adapted from a Brigham and Women’s press release.

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