Daily activity rhythms that are dominated by internal clocks are called circadian rhythms. A central clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, and peripheral clocks are located in most mammalian peripheral cells. The central clock is entrained by light/dark cycles, whereas peripheral clocks are entrained by feeding cycles. The effects of nutrients on the central and peripheral clocks have been investigated during the past decade and much interaction between them has come to light. For example, a high-fat diet prolongs the period of circadian behavior, a ketogenic diet advances the onset of locomotor activity rhythms, and a high-salt diet advances the phase of peripheral molecular clocks. Moreover, some food factors such as caffeine, nobiletin, and resveratrol, alter molecular and/or behavioral circadian rhythms. Here, we review nutrients and food factors that modulate mammalian circadian clocks from the cellular to the behavioral level.
Keywords: chrononutrition; circadian rhythm; clock genes; insulin.