Jet Lag and Obesity: What's the Connection?
the MPR take:
A 2011 study has shown that night shift work lasting ≥10 years can increase one's risk for type 2 diabetes by 40%. A recent study published in the journal Cell examined what mechanisms cross-regulate prokaryotic and eukaryotic circadian rhythms in multikingdom ecosystems. Eran Elinav, MD, PhD, senior scientist in the immunology department at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, posed that the gut microbiome, or the "neglected organ" may be affected by disruptions in the circadian rhythm. In the study, mice were subjected to a condition that resembled jet lag from an 8 hour time difference in humans. The composition and functionality of the gut microbes were changed and proved less efficient in cell growth, DNA repair, and detoxification. The "jet lagged" mice had greater susceptibility to obesity and diabetes. This was further shown when their gut bacteria conferred increased risk of these diseases after its transfer into sterile, germ-free mice. Findings from this study may raise concerns for frequent travelers and especially shift workers, where their work involves constant disruption of circadian rhythms.
Working the night shift has long been linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart attack, and breast cancer. One 2011 study even showed that shift work lasting a decade or more boosts your risk for type-2 diabetes by 40%. And a new study published in the journal looked at why.
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