“In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.” – Plutarch



Ahh, the little-understood topic of Chronobiology, and chrononutrition.

The following is a guest post on the subject from IDLife Chief Formulator, Paul Sullivan.  My babblings will be held to block quotes within the body of Paul’s post…

…like this…

I have the extreme pleasure and good fortune to know Paul personally.  He’s a true champion of human health and wellness, and tireless in his innovative efforts towards that end.

Here’s Paul:


Timing is Everything

While the science of Chronobiology is young in its development and understanding, since the beginning of time we have understood “to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and time to pluck what is planted.” Ecclesiastes (3:2-3)

The world is full of daily, monthly, and annual rhythms. The early bird catches the worm, bears hibernate in winter, birds migrate annually, plants open and close their flowers each day and our body temperature rises and falls from mid-morning to early evening.

Life moves in synchrony to the beat of clocks and calendars, some outside the body and some within the very cells of all living things. Like the conductor of a symphony, our biological clock keeps the ensemble of our body beating to a collective time with each musician performing in perfect harmony in a seamless and impeccable concert. Disrupt this timing, and our symphony turns into the instant migraine of the combination of heavy metal and acid rock!

Humans, like all other organisms that inhabit this earth, have a rhythmic order underlying life. Biological clocks impose a structure that enables all plant and animal organisms to change their behavioral patterns in relation to the time of day, month or year. Blood pressure and body temperature rise and fall throughout the day. Cortisol rises in the morning and declines throughout the day. The liver starts its cleansing process at 10pm, continuing to 2am when it starts to release glucose, causing blood sugars to rise between 4am and 6am.

The above are examples of “circadian” rhythms, meaning these activities repeat every 24 hours. But to understand chronobiology, we need to recognize there are two other types of rhythms; Ultradian, that act in less than a day (i.e. REM sleep cycles are usually every 90 minutes) and Infradian, those rhythms that repeat at intervals longer than 24 hours (i.e. monthly menstrual cycle).
Our circadian clock never seems to stop. Modern life, with its incredibly demanding work tensions, personal security concerns, travel requirements, night shifts, poor food quality, the Dallas Cowboy schedule, irregular meals, smart phones and sleep inadequacy is always ticking away. It seems that all the physical and mental challenges as a result of our 24/7 lifestyle are now our reality and sadly our “new normal”.

Somewhat of an aside: see this post – Intensity, Lunar Cycles, and “Wave and Weave” Training, for how this idea relates to training.

This “new normal” is in conflict with our basic biology and threatens the optimal health and healthy aging that we all seek. This lifestyle has created a fundamental strain and contradiction to the way we were built to live and how our bodies are supposed to perform. At IDLife we recognize this conflict between our “lifestyle” and “healthstyle” and integrate all the critical aspects of health, including dietary habits, lifestyle, medical conditions and prescription use with a personalized nutritional program that includes chronobiology and its application with Chrononutrition.

Just one more element of “environmental mismatch”; the cumulative environmental situations that drive us ever further from that environmental crucible under which we evolved, and within which we are best suited to thrive as a species.

How does Chronobiology relate to Chrononutrition?

Chrononutrition is consuming nutrients at times of the day when they are most helpful to meet your body’s energy requirements as well as specific nutrients required by certain body systems at specific cycles of day.

Many studies have shown that circadian clocks intimately control energy metabolism and many genes associated with sugar and fat metabolism. Our internal clocks control energy metabolism and dysfunctional metabolic states can also influence our internal clocks. These studies show prevalence of metabolic chronic diseases has increased in many countries where circadian behaviors, including nutritional timing, can be disrupted and of course can lead to erosion of health and vitality.

At IDLife, (and, specifically, with IDNutrition), we recognize the vital importance of “timing” for nutrient delivery. We use the science available to place specific nutrients in morning and evening packets that will best meet your body’s needs on a 24-hour basis.

Nutrient density is the flip-side of this coin.  Unless you’re the .05% who can eat, exclusively, farm-to-table, you’re the “overfed and undernourished” vast majority.  And your health is suffering for it.  For more on the topic of nutrient density, see The Importance of Nutrient Density.

We carefully designate these nutrients to meet the “timely” needs of your circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, nervous, endocrine, immune, skeletal, muscular and reproductive systems. Competitive companies might supply packets of vitamins to be used throughout the day but from those I have examined, they are simply splitting up the packets to lower the pill count.

The Take Home

Chronobiology recognizes we have biological clocks that impose a formal structure for all plant and animal organisms to change behavior patterns in relation to the time of day, month or year.

Chrononutrition is the application of chronobiology as to when the body need specific nutrients to maximize performance and optimize health.

Failing to respect the value of our body’s needs and their “timing” may allow the “new normal” to dictate how our cells are nourished and that, my friends, will certainly not end well.

IDNutrition is the safety net for your ultimate nutritional needs; supplying the right nutrient, for the right unique person, at the right time of day.

Time to take my evening strip pack.

-Paul Sullivan, IDLife Chief Formulator



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