Time-Restricted Eating May Help Lower Diabetes-Related Hypertension

When we go to sleep, our blood pressure naturally decreases, or at least, it’s supposed to. For many with type 2 diabetes, that is not the case. Unfortunately, this correlates with an increased risk of cardiovascular issues. However, a new study may have found a way to address nondipping blood pressure.

A team of researchers from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine instituted restricted feeding schedules with mice, finding that doing so prevented diabetic mice from developing nocturnal hypertension and reversed the problem in mice who already had it. The findings were recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Dr. Zhenheng Guo, study author and professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, says, “We are excited about these findings and the implications they could have in future clinical studies. In addition to lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, time-restricted eating could have a healthy impact on people with type 2 diabetes.”

To conduct the study, the team confined mice’s feeding window to eight hours each day. When they boosted that to 12, they found that both windows were effective in preventing mice from developing nondipping blood pressure, as well as restoring the typical nighttime blood pressure drop in mice who had already developed the issue. According to Guo, it seems the timing, not calorie restriction, was behind the change.

The researchers hope this benefit will also apply to humans with type 2 diabetes. Their findings may also help scientists further understand why nondipping blood pressure occurs. At the moment, it’s unclear.

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Dr. Ming Gong, study author and professor in the Department of Physiology, says, “There are already many studies that show the health benefits of time-restricted eating, particularly for metabolic issues. This is the first basic science research focused on how it impacts nondipping blood pressure related to diabetes and it reveals that the daily timing of food intake could play a critical role.”

What other issues can time-restricting eating address? Studies have found that it can improve metabolism, lower blood sugar, lessen inflammation, and flush out toxins and damaged cells.

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Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center, says, “There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective.”

If you’d like to see if time-restricting eating may help your nocturnal hypertension, ask your doctor.

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