Business may take you from New York City to Mumbai, India and back in a matter of days. London, England to Australia might be your fate for a weekend seminar. How about Portland, Oregon to Tokyo for a quick board room meeting? Even Los Angeles to Atlanta and back in 24 hours can be a real brain-jiggler. If you have traveled multiple time zones, you know how debilitating jet lag can be, especially when facing adjustment to a number of time zones in a short period of time. Thanks to new scientific findings, we may be closer to no more jet lag effects.
The University of Oxford conducted research which led to finding that which prevents us from quickly adjusting to time zones. There are a number of genes involved, but more specifically, a protein activated, which also keeps us from making mad, unnecessary adjustments to random changes in light and the different phases of the moon. Our body clocks are regulated by an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei, governing circadian rhythms and keeps us producing melatonin when required, according to light and dark. This body clock also tells us when we are hungry and affects our moods, producing other hormones as necessary.
Mice were tested, as all mammals apparently have the same body clock mechanisms. The scientists were looking at the “master clock” and observing which parts of the DNA were affected by a rapid change in light signals. It seems as though we have what is being called “molecular brakes” which keep us from adjusting to light alterations rapidly. In the mice, when these brakes were “turned off” or “uncoupled” the result was rapid adjustment to light, or no jet lag. Instead of taking six days in regular mice, the uncoupled mice were able to adjust to light after six hours only. These findings were reported in the journal Cell.
Apparently, a number of genes are activated by light adjustments, but one particular protein named SIK1 goes around and turns all the genes off keeping the body from making alterations. In the experiments, this protein was reduced with great results. This is very exciting news for those who travel a lot and even for those with other body-clock disorders such as schizophrenia. As more research is conducted, hopes are high that a remedy for jet lag is at hand in the medical world utilizing this knowledge.
For everyone else, it is important information to have if you hope to take control of your own health. The more and more we learn about the functions of the human body, the more we can affect change with our minds. When you are aware of what is happening inside the form, one is able to visualize the desired results with much greater benefit. Even without the aide of a drug of sorts, which would turn off the production of SIK1 (which they are hoping to now create), a person can suggest such an alteration to the mind with much greater benefit than before the knowledge of such a protein’s existence.
As scientific findings reveal what causes jet lag in hopes of removing its effects from the long list of human discomforts, we can raise our voices in cheer of what may be the dawning of painless worldwide travel and no more jet lag.
Written by: Stasia Bliss