Jet-lag supplements may combat obesity, new research suggests.
Melatonin, which is also released naturally over night, causes rats to produce more heat, which can cause calories to be burnt, a study found.
The ‘sleep hormone’ also increases the amount of fat rodents use as energy rather than it being stored, as well as reducing dangerous fat deposits around their abdomens, the research adds.
Previous studies suggest storing excess fat on the torso increases a person’s risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
Although the scientists did not speculate on why melatonin may lead to weight loss, past findings imply its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects could help burn calories.
Around 27 per cent of adults in the UK are obese, while 36 per cent are overweight.
Jet-lag supplements may combat obesity, new research suggests (stock)
WHAT SIZE BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER IS BEST FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
A blow out breakfast, ‘average’ lunch and small dinner may be the best combination for those suffering from diabetes or obesity, research suggested in March 2018.
Obese diabetes patients following such a diet lose 11lbs (5kg) over three months compared to a 3lb (1.4kg) weight gain for those eating the traditionally recommended weight-loss plan of six small meals a day, a study found.
Sticking to just three meals a day of varying sizes also reduces diabetics’ glucose levels and insulin requirements, as well as their hunger and carbohydrate cravings, the research adds.
Lead author Dr Daniela Jakubowicz, from Tel Aviv University, said: ‘The hour of the day – when you eat and how frequently you eat – is more important than what you eat and how many calories you eat.
‘Our body metabolism changes throughout the day.
‘A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening.’
Results further suggest fasting glucose levels decrease by 54 mg/dl (from 161 to 107) in those eating three meals a day group compared to only 23 mg/dl (from 164 to 141) in those consuming six.
Healthy levels are considered to be less than 108 mg/dl.
Having breakfast as the main meal of the day also significantly reduces the need for insulin by -20.5 units/day (from 54.7 to 34.8) compared to those spread out throughout the day, which requires people have 2.2 more units a day (from 67.8 to 70).
Overall amounts of glucose in the blood are also lower just 14 days after adopting a three meal a day eating plan.
Dieters should take melatonin, expert says
Results further suggest melatonin turns dangerous ‘brown’ fat into ‘white’, which allows it to be used for energy.
The hormone increases levels of the protein UCP1, which is thought to increase heat production and the function of mitochondria, which are cells’ energy powerhouses.
Both of these lead to calorie burning.
Lead author Professor Ahmad Agil Abdalla, from the University of Grenada, recommends people needing to lose weight take melatonin supplements alongside healthy diet and exercise regimens.
The researchers hope to conduct further studies investigating melatonin’s potential to reduce obesity.
The findings were published in the Journal of Pineal Research.
Obesity does run in families
This comes after research released earlier this month suggested overweight children are more likely to come from families with a history of obesity.
Youngsters whose parents or grandparents suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease are also more at risk of carrying too much weight, a study by the University of Messina, Italy, found.
For unclear reasons, younger siblings with overweight relatives are more susceptible to obesity than their older brothers or sisters, the research adds.
Although the researchers did not speculate on why obesity appears to run in families, there may be a genetic link or it could be due to lifestyle factors, such as a preference for fattening foods.
One in 10 children in the UK are severely overweight by five years old and one in five by 11.
Previous research suggests obese children are more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in later life.
Yet, if this excess weight is lost by adulthood, their risk of such diseases is comparable to the general population’s, which highlights the importance of tackling childhood obesity early, according to the researchers.