Does Low Melatonin Raise Diabetes Risk?

Wednesday, 03 Apr 2013 07:20 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Decreased levels of the hormone melatonin may be linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, according to new research.
 
A study of U.S. women found that those with the lowest levels of melatonin had more than twice the risk of type 2 diabetes compared to women with the highest levels of the hormone. This association held true even after the researchers controlled for other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as body weight and dietary habits.
 
But whether too little melatonin actually causes type 2 diabetes isn't clear. "We found an association between melatonin and type 2 diabetes; what we haven't got from this study is causality," said study lead author Dr. Ciaran McMullan, a research fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "That's the next step of research."
 
The findings shouldn't change clinical management. "There's no evidence that taking melatonin will improve someone's chances of avoiding dia
betes," McMullan said.
Results of the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, appear in the April 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
 
Melatonin is a hormone most commonly linked to sleep and the body's biological clock. The production of melatonin peaks about three to five hours after you fall asleep in the dark, and almost no melatonin is produced during the day, according to background information in the study. Sleep disruptions can affect melatonin production, as can exposure to more or less daylight, McMullan said.
 
People with type 2 diabetes, by far the more common form of diabetes, don't make enough insulin or use it properly. Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar (glucose) from foods into energy.
 
Melatonin receptors are found throughout the body, including in the islet cells of the pancreas, which produce insulin. This connection suggests melatonin may also play a role in glucose metabolism, according to the study.
 
McMullan and his colleagues reviewed data from the U.S. Nurses' Health Study. The researchers found 370 women who developed type 2 diabetes during the study period, from 2000 to 2012. They also selected 370 women without diabetes for comparison. Melatonin levels were obtained through urine samples.
 
When researchers compared women with the lowest levels of melatonin to those with the highest, they found that low levels increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 2.17 times.
 
McMullan said it's not yet clear how melatonin might affect the risk of type 2 diabetes. "The next step is to look at whether we can adjust melatonin secretion in people, and to confirm whether or not melatonin is a modifiable risk factor for type 2 diabetes," he said.
 
Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said the study illustrates the complexity of type 2 diabetes. "But it doesn't prove that taking melatonin would cause a person to be more insulin sensitive," he said.
 
"While there is a correlation between melatonin and insulin resistance, we cannot tell from this study if low melatonin is the cause," Zonszein said. "We are far away from melatonin as a treatment."
 
In the United States, about 8 percent of residents have diabetes, but many don't know it. The disease, a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, is typically associated with obesity, sedentary lifestyle and older age.

© HealthDay

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

9 in 10 Adults Eat Everything on Their Plate

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 16:34 PM

Unlike children, the vast majority of adults finish all of the food they put on their plate at mealtime, according to a  . . .

Sleeping in Total Darkness Boosts Breast Cancer Therapy: Study

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 16:26 PM

Tulane University researchers have found dim light at night can compromise the effectiveness of the breast cancer drug t . . .

Best Time of Day for Testosterone Test

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 16:21 PM

Timing is important when it comes to testing testosterone levels, according to new research that finds levels of the hor . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved