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Skin Damage: The Effect of Late-Night Snacking

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New research suggests you might want to take extra care when eating late at night. It could cause skin damage and make your more vulnerable to sun damage.

Does late-night snacking cause skin damage?

According to researchers, mice that were fed during the day rather than at night experienced more skin damage. The skin damage is caused as a result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation, compared with mice fed at normal times.

Study co-author Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi, of the Department of Neuroscience at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. And colleagues report that the irregular eating times changed the circadian rhythm in the skin of the mice. This occurs because of decreasing the daytime activity of a skin-protecting enzyme.

The results were recently published in the journal Cell Reports. Whether from the sun or tanning beds, UV rays harm the DNA in skin cells. Making UV contact a main risk factor for sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancer. UVB rays caused most harm to the outer skin layers, and they are the chief factors of sunburn and skin cancer.

Wearing sun-protective clothing and sunscreen are two of the best ways to avoid skin damage against effects of UV radiation. The new study from Dr. Takahashi and colleagues, however, advises that following to a normal eating pattern may also help.

Activity of skin-protecting enzyme altered

The researchers came to their conclusion by evaluating the effects of UVB contact on skin of two groups of mice. One group was fed during the daytime only, an irregular eating time for the nocturnal rodents. The other group was fed at nighttime only, the usual eating time for mice.

The team found that contact to UVB radiation during the daytime caused more skin damage in mice. Whose eating patterns were irregular, compared with mice that had regular eating patterns.

Further investigation showed that abnormal eating times generated changes in the circadian rhythm of the rodents’ skin.

Specifically, an enzyme called xeroderma pigmentosum group A (XPA) became less active in the daytime and more active at nighttime. Mice that monitored their regular eating patterns, however, showed no change in XPA activity.

Additionally, the researchers discovered that different eating patterns in the rodents affected the expression of around 10 percent of their skin genes, though the effects of these gene expression changes are uncertain.

Further research is required to check whether eating times affect the circadian rhythm of skin in humans. The researchers say their results specify that our eating habits may influence our vulnerability to UV damage.

“If you have a normal eating schedule, then you will be better protected from UV during the daytime. If you have an abnormal eating schedule, this could cause a harmful shift in your skin clock. Says, Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi

“It’s hard to translate these findings to humans at this point.” Adds study co-author Dr. Bogi Andersen, of the University of California, Irvine. “But it’s fascinating to me that the skin would be sensitive to the timing of food intake.”

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