Jet Lag Promotes Obesity

Flying sucks! Combine cramped seating, long lines at the security gates, flight delays, high prices, limited baggage allowance and cabins packed with disease-ridden passengers and you have the perfect storm for a miserable day. Christoph Thaiss and co-workers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, in a study on mice, found that jet lag promotes obesity by altering the microbes in the gut. Crossing time zones throws off the normal feeding patterns of the microbes that bias the metabolism toward fat storage. This study might explain why shift workers and frequent fliers have an increased risk of the metabolic syndrome— a group of symptoms that include high blood pressure, high blood fats, abdominal obesity, poor blood sugar regulation and inflammation. (Cell 159: 514-529, 2014)

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