In this episode of Optimal Health Weekly we discuss diabetes. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
Night owls may be more prone to heart disease and diabetes than early birds because their bodies are less able to burn fat for energy. The findings may help explain why night owls are at greater risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and may help doctors to identify patients early on who are more likely to develop the conditions.
People who rise early rely more on fat as an energy source, and are often more active in the day, than those who stay up later, meaning fat may build up more easily in night owls, the scientists found. The team divided 54 obese middle-aged adults into early birds and night owls, depending on their answers to a questionnaire on sleeping and activity habits. They monitored the volunteers’ activity patterns for a week and tested their bodies’ fuel preferences at rest and while performing moderate or high-intensity exercise on a treadmill.
Researchers describe how early birds were more sensitive to blood levels of the hormone insulin and burned more fat than night owls while at rest and during exercise. The night owls were less sensitive to insulin and their bodies favored carbohydrates over fat as an energy source.
Night owls are reported to have a higher risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease when compared with early birds. A potential explanation is they become misaligned with their circadian rhythm for various reasons, but most notably among adults would be work.
The findings could affect discussions around the health risks of night-shift work and even changing the clocks to suit daylight hours. If we promote a timing pattern that is out of sync with nature, it could exacerbate health risks, Whether dietary patterns or activity can help attenuate these is an area we hope becomes clear in time.
Links mentioned in show:
9 - Brain Injuries
10 - Stroke
11 - Spinal Injury
12 - Lyme Disease
13 - Autoimmune Disease
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