Could Shift Work Damage Your DNA?

This study links melatonin to 8-OH-dG which repairs DNA damage.   Night shift workers show lower levels than day shift workers for the amount of 8-OH-dG in their urine.   Is it possible that this lowered level could contribute to lack of DNA repair which could contribute to cancer and other diseases?

Working at night resulted in lower melatonin levels and a less of the chemical which repairs DNA in the urine. The melatonin production is regulated by the brain and is produced in response to darkness. This hormone regulates the internal clock and is important. It can be found in supplemental form at local pharmacies but caution should be used because it is not regulated by the food and drug administration. It is also unsure whether fillers are used in the over the counter version of melatonin. If you work at night you should try to be extra careful in creating bad health habits. Eating healthy, working out regularly, and leading an overall healthy life should be even more important. Although its hard to do this when working at night.

Although this study hasn’t proven the relationship between the chemicals the body produces and DNA its a very good estimate of results. More research still needs to be done on this subject. The current correlations with shift workers is still interesting.

Key Points:

  • 1There is potential that lower melatonin in night-shift workers could lead to a body’s decreased ability to repair its DNA.
  • 2Shift workers have higher risks for obesity, diabetes heart disease and certain cancers.
  • 3Night-shift workers should be extra vigilant about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The brain churns out melatonin in response to darkness, and night-shift workers tend to have lower melatonin levels compared to people who work days.

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