WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.
Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIABETES AND MITOCHONDRIAL DYSFUNCTION?
Researchers at the University of Granada, La Paz University Hospital, and the University of Texas, found that melatonin can increase mitochondrial function in obese rats. Obese rats are used to model type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Mitochondrial dysfunction plays a part in diabetes. Patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes experience a decreased size, number and efficiency of mitochondria. This affects cells throughout the body. In diabetes, mitochondria enable insulin release from pancreatic beta cells. There is a direct link between mitochondrial production of ATP and insulin secretion. (Learn More)
The study compared the mitochondrial function in eight diabetic rats against eight healthy ones. Mitochondrial function was observed in both the healthy and obese rats who had received melatonin-enhanced drinking water.
Melatonin is a hormone associated with sleep; production of the hormone depends on the amount of light in a person’s living environment. The increase in artificial light matches the increase in obesity trends across nations. Obesity inhibits mitochondrial function by affecting insulin production and release, the hallmark of diabetes.