Body clock determines how effective drugs will be: The time of day you take your tablets affects their potency, study finds

  • Scientists in the UK have highlighted importance of body clock in altering concentration of molecules in the blood
  • Study found amount of sleep, levels of light we are exposed to and the timings of meals could alter the way drugs work
  • Suggests blood tests for diseases could be affected by the time of the day

By Ben Spencer for the Daily Mail Published: 15:17 EST, 7 July 2014 | Updated: 15:17 EST, 7 July 2014
The time of day that we take a medicine could have a dramatic impact on its potency, new research suggests. A British study has determined for the first time how the chemistry of our blood stream changes throughout the day.Scientists at the University of Surrey and the Institute of Cancer Research in London have shown that the body clock has a profound role in altering the concentration of different molecules in our blood. The finding means that the amount of sleep we have had, the levels of light to which we are exposed and the timing of our meals could all alter on the way drugs work on our body. It also suggests that blood tests for diseases may produce different results depending on the time of day.

Nearly all living things have an internal mechanism – known as the circadian rhythm or body clock – which synchronises bodily functions to the 24-hour pattern of the Earth’s rotation. In humans and other mammals, the clock is regulated by the bodily senses, most importantly the way the eye perceives light and dark and the way skin feels temperature changes.
The mechanism rules our daily rhythms, including our sleep and waking patterns.

The new study, published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to establish the way the body clock also affects our metabolism. Professor Debra Skene from the University of Surrey, said: ‘Our results show that if we want to develop a diagnostic test for a disease, it is imperative to take the time of day when taking blood samples into account, since this has a significant effect on metabolism.

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