WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- Scientists have discovered it’s possible to determine the timing of a person’s internal biological clock via a single blood draw.
Research published in the Journal of Biological Rhythms suggests that day could come in the not-too-distant future that it’s possible to determine the timing of a person’s internal circadian or biological clock by analyzing a combination of molecules in a single blood draw.
“If we can understand each individual person’s circadian clock, we can potentially prescribe the optimal time of day for them to be eating or exercising or taking medication,” said senior author Christopher Depner, who conducted the study while an assistant professor of integrative physiology at CU Boulder. “From a personalized medicine perspective, it could be groundbreaking.”
A central ‘master clock’ in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus helps to regulate the body’s 24-hour cycle, including when people naturally feel sleepy at night and have the urge to wake up in the morning.
In addition to testing their blood for melatonin hourly, they also used a method called “metabolomics” -- assessing levels of about 4,000 different metabolites (things like amino acids, vitamins and fatty acids that are byproducts of metabolism) in the blood.