Night shift workers and people with not enough sleep risk type 2 diabetes
The researchers are now studying the processes in mice and human beta cells, as well as completed a study of how the effects of drugs are influenced by genetic factors – one of the first of its kind within type 2 diabetes, where participants have been recruited based on their genetic make-up.
The study included 23 healthy people and carriers of the gene variant in question and 22 non-carriers. All participants were roughly of the same age and with the same body mass index (BMI). There was also no difference in terms of their family history of diabetes.
They were given four milligrams of melatonin before bedtime over the course of three months.
Researchers found that insulin secretion was significantly lower among those who carried the risk gene than those in the control group. They also reported that the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood was higher among all participants after being treated with melatonin for three months. However, it was especially evident in carriers of the risk gene who were unable to increase their insulin secretion.
It has been previously known that people who work overnight shifts suffer from metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes to a greater extent.
Professor Mulder said: “It is perhaps therefore less suitable for carriers of the risk gene to work overnight shifts, as the level of melatonin will probably increase at the same time as the effects of the increase are enhanced. There is still no scientific support for this theory, but it ought to be studied in the future, on the basis of our new findings.”
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