Exploring the Seasonal Impacts on Circadian Regulation, Nutrition, and Health

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Circadian rhythms are biological cycles that not only respond to the daily fluctuations between lightness and darkness but are also influenced by seasonal changes. Research studies continue to investigate the relationship between seasonality, the body’s internal clock, and the impact on health as well as disease outcomes. For instance, studies suggest that shifts in autoimmune disease states may be associated with specific months or seasons.1,2 Additionally, seasonal influences on certain nutrient levels and availability such as vitamin D and on circadian regulators such as melatonin may play a role.1

The seasonal variability in foods is another important concept investigated by recent research studies3 that may have a direct effect on dietary prescriptions and overall nutritional treatment strategies. Preclinical trials suggest that foods that are in season, especially fruits and vegetables rich in polyphenolic compounds, may have higher levels of bioavailable nutrients than foods that are not in season.4 In addition, preclinical trials also indicate that some foods consumed out of season may in fact have negative health effects such as metabolic dysregulation.3

Functional medicine nutritionist, scientist, educator, and author Deanna Minich, MS, PhD, CNS, IFMCP, has over 20 years of experience in the nutrition field, including clinical practice, academia, and in both the food and dietary supplement industries. In her AIC 2024 presentation, Rhythms of Life: From Food to Seasons to Health, Dr. Minich discusses the intricate relationship between the changing seasons, the foods and nutrients we eat, and health outcomes. She also explores how the latest research translates to clinical applications for effective personalized health interventions.



  1. Watad A, Azrielant S, Bragazzi NL, et al. Seasonality and autoimmune diseases: the contribution of the four seasons to the mosaic of autoimmunity. J Autoimmun. 2017;82:13-30. doi:1016/j.jaut.2017.06.001
  2. Nabizadeh F, Valizadeh P, Yazdani Tabrizi M, Moayyed K, Ghomashi N, Mirmosayyeb O. Seasonal and monthly variation in multiple sclerosis relapses: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Neurol Belg. 2022;122(6):1447-1456. doi:1007/s13760-022-02103-y
  3. Arola-Arnal A, Cruz-Carrión Á, Torres-Fuentes C, et al. Chrononutrition and polyphenols: roles and diseases. Nutrients. 2019;11(11):2602. doi:3390/nu11112602
  4. Cruz-Carrión Á, Calani L, Ruiz de Azua MJ, et al. Impact of seasonal consumption of local tomatoes on the metabolism and absorption of (poly)phenols in Fischer rats. Nutrients. 2022;14(10):2047. doi:3390/nu14102047

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