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Melatonin may help type 2 diabetes

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By Jimmy Downs

Saturday April 27, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in Journal of American Medical Association suggests that taking melatonin supplements may help prevent or treat type 2 diabetes.

The study led by Ciaran J. McMullan, MD and colleagues shows that people with type 2 diabetes made less melatonin than those without the disease.

The case-control study involved 370 women who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and 370 controls without the disease with all enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study.
The study found the median urinary ratio of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin to creatinine was 28.2 ng/mg in diabetes patients, compared to 36.3 ng/mL in controls.

Women with lower ratios of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin to creatinine were found 48 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared with those with higher ratios.

Those with the lowest ratios of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin to creatinine were 117 percent more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, compared with women with the highest ratios fo 6-sulfatoxymelatonin to creatinine.

Specifically, the incidence rate of type 2 diabetes among women with the highest levels of melatonin secretion was 4.27 cases per 1000 person-year, compared with 9.27 cases per 1000 person-year in the lowest levels of melatonin secretion.

The findings are not surprising.   Early studies have shown mutations in the genes responsible for making the melatonin receptor are correlated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, indicating that melatonin plays a role in the insulin sensitivity.

Also even in people without type 2 diabetes, increased insulin resistance was observed when nocturnal melatonin secretion was lower, according to the authors.

The researchers concluded "Lower melatonin secretion was independently associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Further research is warranted to assess if melatonin secretion is a modifiable risk factor for diabetes within the general population."

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