A new study has found evidence of an independent association between lower levels of the natural hormone melatonin and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes .
The research found that women with decreased levels of melatoni, which calms the body and is important for sleep and the body’s biological clock, were more than twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to women with higher levels of the hormone at night.
Dr. Ciaran McMulla, a research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Bosto, American, and colleagues reviewed data from the US Nurses’ Health Study. The researchers found 370 women who developed type 2 diabetes from 2000-2012 and also selected 370 non-diabetic women for comparison.
After obtaining melatonin levels of both groups through urine samples, they discovered that women with the lowest concentrations of melatonin during sleep night had more than twice the risk (2.17 times) of developing type 2 diabetes than those with the highest levels, even after controlling for other risk factors such as BMI, diet, family history of diabetes, menopausal status and medication .
Dr McMullan and colleagues said the results show an association between melatonin and type 2 diabetes, but do not prove decreased secretion of the hormone causes the metabolic disorder.
They concluded that the next step of the research is to determine whether increasing melatonin levels (either through prolonged exposure to darkness or by taking supplements) can boost insulin sensitivity and prevent type 2 diabetes.
The study, published in the April 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), is believed to be the first to establish a link between diabetes risk and melatonin secretion.

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