Efforts have been made to decode the working of the biological Body Clock, which often reiterates the age-old nature versus nurture debate. But today’s scientists have conceded that neither nature nor nurture solely can illustrate the molecular mechanism which governs our health. In most of the cases, the predisposition to a health condition is merely due to the presence of a certain gene or a mutation (alteration at the DNA level). This understanding of genes has allowed us to focus on the multifaceted gene-based approach for various health concerns.
Many studies targeting body clock have shown that a disrupted body clock can increase risk towards various health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, depression etc. A healthy body clock can positively influence the entire health make up. Keeping this in mind a famous project called “Nuclear Bunker” was conducted by BBC–“The Horizon” in association with Ella Al- Shamahi. Where in an army commando Aldo Kane was locked in the nuclear bunker for about 10 days!
So let’s gauge the journey of his 10 days locked up period & how it influenced the body clock….
Locked In A Nuclear Bunker….
You must be thinking why to lock in a bunker that too a nuclear one! Well, it was necessary to keep the commando away from the daylight which directly affects our body circadian rhythm (Biological Body Clock). This way his body clock was controlled using artificial lights available in the bunker.
The Scientific Funda of Body Clock….
The discovery of Body Clock has been marked with Nobel Prize in 2017 to the scientist Jeffrey Hall and Michael Roshbash. Every one of us has a body clock which allows us to march in a 24-hour cycle. This body clock is located near hypothalamus region of our brain (located at the base) which works in response to the day sunlight received. In response to this daylight, different hormones and signals are transmitted throughout the body which regulates this 24-hour rhythm of waking, eating, sleeping, working and continuing the same at fixed timings.
The studies also revealed a gene known as Clock Gene located on Chromosome 4 in human, which regulates the body clock.
Coming back to Nuclear Bunker Experiment….
The study was carried out in 3 phases –
Phase 1 – Where Aldo was left in a bunker and was allowed to follow the normal routine work in absence of daylight.
Phase 2 – “Going Dim”, Earlier Aldo was able to control the lights but in this phase, he was kept on Dim light mode thus inducing a shift in the body clock.
Phase 3 – “Jet Lag Mode”, flying through two time zones disrupts the sleep until the next few days due to disruption in body clock. Here Aldo was kept in continuous Jet lag with no break by waking him up before his normal timings.
The observation throughout the Experiment…
Initial phases he was able to keep 24 hr. cycle rather than exceeding for 12 hr. or 36 hr. cycle. This tells that in such excluded environment it was his body clock which kept things to tick on time!
But as soon as he was shifted to phase 3 where there was no daylight, his body entered a “Free Running” stage where his body struggled to keep note of time. Whereas putting back into the normal condition recalibrated his body clock to normal again.
The relevance in today’s lifestyle….
This experiment paved way for the scientist to know more about the CLOCK Gene- The driving force behind your Body Clock. Working according to your body clock can help your body transform into a healthy you! Know your body clock through Clock Gene test & start eating and exercising according to it to experience rapid transformation.