Breaking: Melanopsin Discovered in Human Adipose Tissue


"It is clear that centrally mediated circadian rhythms play an important role in human health and our results provide initial information about how appropriate sunlight exposure to subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT) might act as a peripheral circadian sensor that contributes to metabolic health. In contrast, a lack of sufficient bodily exposure to sunlight may contribute to long-term scWAT dysfunction and the current epidemics of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease."


Melanopsin is the blue light photon receptor in our eyes responsible for relaying sunlight to the SCN to entrain the central pacemaker. Well, a group of scientists accidentally discovered it fat cells:

Subcutaneous white adipose tissue express a light sensitive signaling pathway mediated via a melanopsin/TRPC channel axis (Ondrusova et al., 2017)

Figure "C" takes the cake. Electrophysiology studies show this receptor is highly sensitive to 465 nm blue/green, meaning it's probably definitely melanopsin.

and guess what it does?

LIPOLYSIS -- see Figure "E" above. Activation of melanopsin reduces the size of lipid droplets and lowers leptin. Interestingly, it also reduces adiponectin.

They also discovered this in mice, who are covered with fur and most of their melanopsin-containing scWAT is on their bellies which would never be exposed to the sun anyway. So....

The role of this system in biology isn't precisely known. But the authors did all the maths and figured out that physiological exposure to sunlight may actually encourage lipolysis via this mechanism.


Breakfast in the morning because our fat cells don't really want to store fat in the morning. Sunlight in the morning to bolster this effect. Don't just sunbathe, do something so the fat gets burned! The power of a good walk. Lipolysis doesn't do much good if the fatty acids just get re-stored.

Tl;dr: go for a walk outside after breakfast in the morning.

You see it all makes sense. At night, your adipose wants to store fat and artificial light at night scrambles your circadian rhythms. So you could save up all day and have a big dinner and shine yourself with artificial light to attempt to reduce adipose fat storage but that would be the worst possible thing to do hahaha

Sleep well. Do whatever you need to prioritize this. How long? Robb Wolf said something like this: as long as you can without getting divorced or fired. I like that; my personal opinion is that I can't really control how long I'm actually asleep, but I can control how much time is spent in darkness. T.S. Wiley recommends, seasonally, 8-9.5 hours. That's reasonable, imo.

Circadian rhythms: blocking the blues. AND THE GREENS

That's all for now!

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