Changes in intestinal parameters and their association with dietary patterns in rotational shift workers

Circadian rhythm disturbances induced by rotating shift work contribute to development of metabolic disorders. However, their effects on intestinal parameters such as epithelial permeability and fecal short chain fatty acid (SCFA) levels have not been established yet. This study was planned to investigate the changes in intestinal integrity, fecal SCFA levels, gut microbiota and nutritional intake of rotational shift workers.


The study was conducted on ten male rotational shift workers, 25–40 years old. Circadian rhythm disruption was assumed to have occurred after 14 days in the night shift. Dietary data which was obtained by using 24 h record for 7 days, physical activity data, anthropometric measurements, fecal and blood samples were collected during day and night shift. Changes in dietary consumption, anthropometric measurements, blood chemistry and intestinal epithelial permeability indicator according to day and night shifts were not significant (p > .05). Additionally, acetic, propionic and total SCFA were associated with the intestinal permeability biomarker in night shift, but not in day shift (p < .05). Consumption of dark green vegetables and beans and peas was positively associated with fecal isobutyric acid and fecal total SCFA concentration (r = 0.685, p = .029; r = 0.695, p = .026, respectively).


The proportions of the genus including Blautia, Bifidobacterium, Dialister, and Ruminococcus gnavus group increased when individuals shifted to the night shift. Gut microbiota changes responding to circadian rhythm disruption became more prominent when consumed high sugar diet. So, changes have been observed in the gut microbiota of rotational shift workers, especially in individuals with certain dietary pattern. Moreover, in individuals with the circadian rhythm disruption SCFAs levels have been demonstrated to be associated with intestinal barrier integrity.


A better understanding of the relation among fecal SCFAs, gut microbiota, intestinal epithelial permeability and circadian rhythm disruption is necessary for the development of new dietary strategies for gut health.



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Published: 02 Mar 2022

Chronobiology International; DOI: