Night workers, especially men, are more likely to develop health problems related to metabolic syndrome.
- Working nights increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
- Staggered working hours have a greater impact on men’s health.
- Women would be protected by estrogen.
Night work puts a strain on the body. Many studies have highlighted this fact in the past. But work carried out by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) and published in the journal Science Translational Medicineshow that this lifestyle is especially harmful for men.
Metabolic syndrome: men who work at night are more likely to suffer from it
After conducting studies on mice and studying the files of more than 90,000 people working shifts, the researchers noted that night workers are more exposed to health problems such as metabolic syndrome. And men are more likely than women to develop this pathology corresponding to the association of several disorders related to the presence of excess abdominal fat. They would thus be more at risk of having heart disease, diabetes or even liver and kidney disease.
Tests conducted on male mice showed that disruptions in the day-night cycle had a negative impact on their microbiota, blood pressure and genes. This effect was not observed in females.
Asked by heathdayDr. Garret FitzGerald, lead author of the study, notes “what was striking was how pervasive the disruption is”, in males. “Genes, proteins, bacteria in the gut, blood pressure… everything is turned upside down.”
Night work: estrogen could protect women’s health
Studies conducted on rodents suggest that estrogens offer women protection against the negative effects of night work on health. Indeed, the females whose ovaries had been removed – thus not producing estrogen – and subjected to disturbed day-night cycles, presented more disorders than the mice with a normal production of female sex hormones.
While for Dr FitzGerald, definitively linking disease risk to shift work remains tricky because there are many variables, including differences in education, income and daily exposure across occupations, to consider. , his work confirms that night shifts can have harmful effects on health and reminds us of the importance of “good sleep hygiene”.