The Health Risk of Working Night Shifts: It May Affect Your Liver!

NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: May 06, 2017 19:00 IST

The Health Risk of Working Night Shifts: It May Affect Your Liver!
  • Reversing your sleep cycle can affect the way your liver functions
  • The study was published in the Journal Cell
  • Certain cellular mechanisms disappear on reversing the normal sleep cycle
Working night shifts has become a common scenario especially for multinational companies, media houses, call centres and customer care services. It’s convenient and sometimes beneficial to rotate the work cycle but it may pose a health risk for your sleep cycle and cause other issues connected with it. A new study, published in the Journal Cell, warns that reversing your sleep cycle or following an odd sleep routine may be bad for you liver as it adapts to the cycles of feeding and fasting, and the alternating day and night within 24 hours. 

The study was conducted in a mice model and it shows that size of the liver increases by almost half before returning to its original dimensions, according to the alternating phases of activity and rest. Through their study, they further indicate that the cellular mechanisms of this fluctuation disappear when the normal biological rhythm of the body is reversed. Researchers speculate that the disruption of our circadian clock due to professional activities or personal habits has important repercussions on the functions of the liver.

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(Also read: 7 Tips to Help You Stop Counting Sheep and Sleep Well)
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For the study, the mice were left to forage and feed at night, while the day was spent resting. It was seen that the size of liver cells and their protein content oscillate in a daily manner. First author of the study Flore Sinturel from University of Geneva explains that in rodents who followed the normal circadian rhythm, the liver gradually increased during the active phase to reach a peak of more than 40 per cent at the end of the night, and it returned to its initial size during the day.The number of ribosomes and the organelles responsible for producing the proteins required for various functions of the liver also fluctuate with the size of the cell. The liver is a large organ responsible for detoxifying all the toxic material in our body. It's main job is to filter the blood. It works to digest, absorb and process the food we eat. It also makes certain important proteins with various functions like preventing blood clotting, carrying fats through the body and releasing glucose when needed. Researchers believe that if similar mechanisms exits in humans as found in mice, the disruption of our biological rhythm could have a considerable influence on the hepatic functions.


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