For More Than Sleep Related Issues and Why Less is More – Symphony Natural Health

Anti-oxidant and anti-plaque effects: Apart from its function as a hormone that can align the body’s circadian rhythm, melatonin also acts as an anti-oxidant, combating the free radicals which can cause oxidative damage to cells. Melatonin, uniquely, can cross the blood- brain barrier. Usually the blood-brain barrier is non-porous, inhibiting substances from coming in contact with our precious brain tissue.

Most substances that we consume, including common antioxidants, do not cross this barrier. Yet, nature in its wisdom has provided protective effects for our brain through melatonin, which may in part explain its benefits in brains whose function is compromised. For example, research groups have demonstrated the correlation between melatonin deficiency and conditions such as ADD and ADHD.

We also know that oxidative stress is a leading factor in age-related brain dysfunction in diseases such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s. Research has also demonstrated the beneficial anti-plaque effects of melatonin in patients with Alzheimer’s. These anti-plaque and antioxidant effects, together with further identified benefits, make melatonin an attractive potential solution for conditions that adversely affect the brain.

Mitochondrial protection: Melatonin is selectively taken up by mitochondrial membranes, a function not shared by other anti-oxidants. Mitochondria, the cellular source of energy, can be damaged by a plethora of factors, with mitochondrial dysfunction contributing to conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease. The sensitive nature of mitochondrial membranes means they may be protected from the use of melatonin supplements.

Because of the serious nature of these conditions, doctors are often careful to suggest natural products. However, in many instances these patients have already tried or use standard medications and the addition of melatonin in low 0.3 mg doses, which is unlikely to interfere with the drug regimen, may be worthy of consideration.

Anti-inflammatory, immune-modulation and more: In a study of subjects who ran a 50 km (31 mile) course, those who took melatonin had reduced levels of stress markers, emphasizing not only antioxidant but anti-inflammatory effects, potentially reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes in such endurance athletes.

Patients with elevated body weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, have shown improvement in LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and reduced blood pressure after just two months of melatonin use. Even more interesting is the fact that these improvements were seen in patients who had not responded to a three month program of diet and exercise modification.

Melatonin has positive effects on the immune system, demonstrating some anti-carcinogenic properties. In 1991, the pioneering work of Dr. Paolo Lissoni from Italy demonstrated that high doses of melatonin were effective in arresting tumor growth and improving quality of life markers. Subsequent studies have confirmed his findings.

Other studies have looked at how shift work, particularly that including night work, may increase the risk of cancer and may aggravate gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disease, complicate pregnancy, and interfere with drug therapy

Source link: by By Corey Schuler, DC, MS, LN at