Body Clock & Diabetes


Researchers believe they have discovered a link between our internal body clock and the risk of Diabetes.

Scientists believe that our circadian rhythms, or body clock, have a direct link to blood sugar levels and Type II Diabetes;unraveling such links could point the way towards controlling the disease. Hormones released in the brain control a rough 24-hour cycle, allowing us to be awake and active during the day and asleep during the night. One of these hormones, Melatonin, is involved in drowsiness and the lowering of body temperature. Scientists researching human genomes scanned thousands of people looking for associations between particular genetic variations and Type II Diabetes. Two such variations were found on the human genome; one genetic variation appeared to be linked to a 20% increase in the risk of Type II Diabletes, and another could be linked to naturally higher blood sugar levels and diabetes risk. Both were connected to MTNR1B, a gene which helps control the actions of Melatonin, therefore suggesting a link to the internal body clock.

Professor Philippe Froguel from Imperial College London said that the findings fitted with earlier research linking sleep problems with obesity, thus increasing the risk of Type II Diabetes. “We know that obese children tend to sleep badly and that people become more obese if they are not having enough sleep…abnormalities in the circadian rhythm may partly be causing diabetes and high blood sugar levels..” Professor Nick Wareham of Cambridge agreed. However, sleep and circadian rhythm researcher Dr. Jim Horne from the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University suggested that all contributing factors should be examined before drawing conclusions. “There are other explanations for the link between obesity and sleep disturbance – people who eat too much may have disturbed sleep, or be drowsy or sleep during the day, and obese people may suffer from sleep apnoea which can disturb sleep.”