Health Lies in Healthy Circadian Habits: Satchin Panda at TEDxBeaconStreet (Transcript)

So within three to four months, these people actually boosted up their circadian rhythm and they lost the excessive body weight that they had. And over the last one year, we’ve had thousands of people from all over the world who are signing up either through our study or doing this by themselves. They try to eat all of their food somewhere between 8, 10 or 11 hours. And when they do that, after a few weeks, they’re truly amazed by the untapped potential of the healing power of circadian rhythm. Almost all of them lose a little bit of weight, but as they continue, they actually feel much better, more energetic throughout the day.

They sleep much better at night, and their mood is much better; they feel very sharp. And slowly, over months, they suffer less from different diseases of the gut, heart, immune system, diabetes and even some of the mental diseases. So we’re truly excited about this study, but at the same time, we learned another very important insight, and let me share that with you. That is, circadian clock tunes the potency of almost every drug that we take for almost every disease. So that means, at certain times of the day, the drug is more potent and can cure you, but at the wrong time of the day it can have a more severe adverse effect, as if it’s a poison.

So this is really important. And the effect is not even only to drugs, at what time of the day we take our flu shots, at what time we schedule our surgery for liver or heart, does matter. Even cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy or radiation therapy, it really matters whether they schedule the chemo or radiation in the morning or late in the afternoon. So this new knowledge about circadian rhythm is poised to start a new revolution in healthcare and healthy habits. Because the current idea of taking care of your health by counting calories and counting steps is just prehistoric.

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And the same software and tools that our tech companies are using to make us watch more arts, sleep less and eat around the clock can be used for something better. We can have devices and sensors that can create a nice circadian lighting environment around us. Sensors can go on us to monitor our own circadian rhythm every day and how it interacts with the real outside world. Devices can prompt us what to eat and when to eat to boost our circadian rhythm. And even there will be smart pills and programmed drug pumps that can deliver the right medicine, at the right dose, at the right time, even in the middle of our sleep, so that we can get cured much faster.

So I truly believe that circadian rhythm has untapped potential to prevent, manage and cure many of the chronic diseases that affect billions of people. Thank you.

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