Wednesday January 29, 2020

If Doing Night Shift, Eat Small Protein-Rich, Complex Carb Snack to Stay Alert, Productive

According to researchers, working at night conflicts with a person's circadian clock, making it harder to stay focused and awake

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Night, Protein, Snack
To limit this impact and maintain alertness and productivity, researchers say a light snack is better than a full meal. Pixabay

If you are a night shift worker, eating at irregular hours is just par for the course, but it impacts the body. To limit this impact and maintain alertness and productivity, researchers say a light snack is better than a full meal.

According to researchers, working at night conflicts with a person’s circadian clock, making it harder to stay focused and awake. Managing fatigue is thus critical for workplace health and safety.

“Night shift work is linked to certain chronic illnesses and diseases, including metabolic gastrointestinal issues, ulcer, obesity and heart disease. People who do night shifts don’t get sufficient sleep, which impacts their metabolism and appetite,” Shalini Bliss, Head Dietitian, Columbia Asia Hospital, in Gurugram, told IANS.

“They also tend to have a poor diet and irregular eating habits, which can affect their health and performance. If you are doing night shift, you should eat a small protein-rich, complex carb snack instead of a full meal during the break,” she said.

Night, Protein, Snack
If you are a night shift worker, eating at irregular hours is just par for the course, but it impacts the body. Pixabay

Published in the journal Nutrients, researchers from the University of South Australia surveyed 44 people to test the impact of a snack, a meal or no food at all during night shifts.

The study found while all participants reported increased sleepiness, fatigue and decreased vigour, a snack lowered the impact more so than a meal or no food at all. The snack group also reported no discomfort, as noted by the meal group.

“The findings show the strategic eating pattern on night shift may contribute to more alert and better-performing workers,” said study lead author Charlotte Gupta.

Sharing his experience with IANS, New Delhi-based Varun Matta, who does night shifts at an MNC, said, “I have been doing night shifts for over two year. I have found that people often complain about restlessness, migraine and headache. Every alternate week, I have seen an ambulance leaving office due to these problems.”

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Neha Pathania, dietitian at Paras Hospital in Gurugram, told IANS the human body through thousands of years of evolution is programmed to sleep during night and work during the day.

“While no food is a strict no-no, a heavy meal can slow the body metabolism and signal the body to go to sleep. The best option, therefore, is light healthy snacks, including fruits and fluids,” she said. (IANS)

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Protein Named ‘Sestrin’ May Help You Cut Flab Without Moving a Muscle

This protein may help cut flab without moving a muscle

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Protein fat
Here comes a protein that can help them cut flab without high-intensity gym. Pixabay

In good news for couch potatoes, here comes a protein that can help them cut flab without high-intensity gym or even a brisk walk around the park. The catch is: It is not yet available as pills but occurs naturally in the body.

Called ‘Sestrin’, the protein might harness the benefits of a good workout without ever moving a muscle, say researchers from University of Michigan.

While studying a class of naturally-occurring protein called Sestrin, they found that it can mimic many of exercise’s effects in flies and mice.

protein workout
The beneficial effects of Sestrin include more than just improved endurance and physical performance. Pixabay

The findings could eventually help scientists combat muscle wasting due to ageing and other causes.

Researchers have previously observed that Sestrin accumulates in muscle following exercise,” said Myungjin Kim, research assistant professor in the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology.

Kim, working with professor Jun Hee Lee and a team of researchers wanted to know more about the protein’s apparent link to exercise.

Taking advantage of Drosophila flies’ normal instinct to climb up and out of a test tube, their collaborators from Wayne State University in Detroit developed a kind of fly treadmill.

Using it, the team trained the flies for three weeks and compared the running and flying ability of normal flies with that of flies bred to lack the ability to make ‘Sestrin’.

“Flies can usually run around four to six hours at this point and the normal flies’ abilities improved over that period,” said Lee. “The flies without Sestrin did not improve with exercise”.

What’s more, when they overexpressed Sestrin in the muscles of normal flies, essentially maxing out their Sestrin levels, they found those flies had abilities above and beyond the trained flies, even without exercise.

In fact, flies with overexpressed Sestrin didn’t develop more endurance when exercised.

The beneficial effects of Sestrin include more than just improved endurance.

protein workout
Called ‘Sestrin’, the protein might harness the benefits of a good workout without ever moving a muscle. Pixabay

Mice without Sestrin lacked the improved aerobic capacity, improved respiration and fat burning typically associated with exercise.

“We propose that Sestrin can coordinate these biological activities by turning on or off different metabolic pathways,” Lee said, adding that this kind of combined effect is important for producing exercise’s effects.

Lee also helped another collaborator, Pura Munoz-Cánoves of Pompeu Fabra University in Spain to demonstrate that muscle-specific ‘Sestrin’ can also help prevent atrophy in a muscle that’s immobilized, such as the type that occurs when a limb is in a cast for a long period of time.

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“This independent study again highlights that Sestrin alone is sufficient to produce many benefits of physical movement and exercise,” Lee said.

Could Sestrin supplements be on the horizon? Not quite, said Lee, adding that Sestrins are not small molecules, but “we are working to find small molecule modulators of Sestrin”. (IANS)