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In Conversation with Dr Anuj Maheshwari

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Dr Anuj Maheshwari    01 February 2018

Secretion of various hormones in our body follows biological clock of body which is set for the need of it. So, the insulin and glucagon follow the similar trend. As per biological clock of human beings, insulin resistance is highest in late evening. In last quarter of the day from 9 PM to 12 Midnight, human body makes insulin and its reserve remains lowest of the day in body. As per this circadian rhythm of insulin, whatever a person eats between 9 PM to 12 Midnight, increase in the level of glucose occurs as there is lack of insulin in body at this time. In last 20-30 years, we have shifted our dinner time from evening to late evening and mostly dinner is taken during this period when body is busy in making insulin, i.e., 9 PM to 12 Midnight. In last 20-30 years, prevalence of diabetes has increased worldwide. It is not simply disruption of insulin supply, but also the untimely food in intestine, that sends the signal to liver via SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus) to become active at the time when it is actually resting. It promotes deposition of visceral fat, fat in liver as well as weight gain and ultimately T2DM.

How important is adequate sleep in a healthy lifestyle?

Lack of sleep or insomnia is one of the important disruptors of circadian rhythm. Awakening late night compels eating which breaks circadian rhythm of insulin, glucagon and liver. Repairing of DNAs, synthesis of hormones including insulin, takes place during sleep. Many other anabolic activities occur in body during sleep. If sleep is inadequate, it impacts health adversely. Sleep deprivation can cause issues like weight gain, weakened immune system, hypertension, loss of memory, strokes, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Getting enough sleep every night is crucial.

Increasing number of young people are being affected by diabetes. What is your advice to young India to prevent the development of diabetes?

It is true diabetes is occurring in India a decade earlier. To postpone it for maximum possible duration, it is important for our youth to get rid of physical inactivity by including outdoor sports activities in their daily routine. It is mandatory to avoid high calorie food and fast food. Apart from this, good quality sleep for appropriate duration, not <7 hours, and eating appropriate calories at appropriate time can help us in postponing diabetes.

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