Fights Prostate Cancer

Emerging research suggests that melatonin may help fight one of the most common malignancies in aging men—prostate cancer. In the laboratory, scientists treated androgen-sensitive and androgen-insensitive prostate cancer cells with pharmacological concentrations of melatonin. Treatment with melatonin dramatically reduced the number of prostate cancer cells, while the remaining cells displayed signs of slowed replication and increased differentiation—characteristics of healthy, non-cancerous cells. Melatonin may thus hold promise against prostate cancers, whether they are hormone-sensitive or hormone-insensitive. top

Fights Breast Cancer

Peer-reviewed and published research has shown melatonin offers particularly strong protection against reproductive cancers. Cells throughout your body — even cancer cells — have melatonin receptors. So when melatonin makes its nightly rounds, cell division slows. When this hormone latches onto a breast cancer cell, it has been found to counteract estrogen’s tendency to stimulate cell growth. In fact, melatonin has a calming effect on several reproductive hormones, which may explain why it seems to protect against sex hormone-driven cancers, including ovarian, endometrial, breast, prostate and testicular cancers. top

Improves Cancer Patient's Longevity

Glioblastoma is a nasty, aggressive form of brain cancer with a poor prognosis and not much in the way of effective treatments. However, melatonin may offer some hope. In one clinical trial,12 patients with a glioblastoma were given either radiation and melatonin, or radiation alone. Twenty-three percent of the patients receiving the melatonin were alive one year later, while none who received radiation alone were still alive. Another study found that melatonin reduced the growth of prostate cancer.13 Studies show similarly encouraging results for lung, pancreatic, colorectal and other types of cancer. top

Fights Cancer

While causing cancer cells to self-destruct, melatonin also boosts your production of immune stimulating substances such as interleukin-2, which helps identify and attack the mutated cells that lead to cancer. Through these dual actions, melatonin delivers a one-two punch! Scientists conducted a meta-analysis of 10 randomized, controlled trials examining melatonin’s effects (alone or as an adjuvant treatment) on patients with various types of cancer. Supplementation with melatonin reduced the relative risk of death at one year by an impressive 34%—regardless of the type of cancer or the melatonin dosage. Importantly, no adverse effects were reported. top

Fight Alzheimer's Disease

Melatonin levels are particularly low in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Nearly half of affected individuals suffer from sleep disturbances and “sundowning”—increased confusion, agitation, and other symptoms in the afternoon and evening.2 Not surprisingly, melatonin supplementation benefits patients with Alzheimer’s disease by improving sleep and reducing late-day aggravation of symptoms. Melatonin has also been found to decrease cognitive deterioration in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, possibly by protecting brain cells from the toxic protein, beta-amyloid. top

Powerful Antioxidant

Melatonin protects both lipids and proteins against damage, and can scavenge some of the most dangerous free radicals in the body—including hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide. Unlike other antioxidants, melatonin easily diffuses into all cells, and even crosses the blood-brain barrier to protect the delicate brain. top

Protects Against Stroke

The brain can suffer dramatic, irreparable damage when an individual suffers a stroke. Utilizing animal models of stroke, scientists have found that melatonin may offer important protection against stroke-related damage and deterioration. When administered at the time of stroke, melatonin limited the area of brain tissue damage, decreased brain cell death, lessened behavioral deficits, and reduced the rate of stroke-related death. top

Prevents Migraines

A promising study suggests that migraine sufferers may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of their headaches by using melatonin. Researchers gave 34 migraine sufferers (29 women and 5 men) a 3-mg dose of melatonin, 30 minutes before bedtime, for three months. Of the 32 patients who finished the study, more than two thirds experienced at least a 50% reduction in number of headaches per month. Additionally, the intensity and duration of headaches decreased. The scientists believe that melatonin’s anti-inflammatory effect and free-radical-scavenging effects contribute to its headache-relieving benefits. top

Promotes Healthy Sleep

Obtaining sufficient amounts of quality sleep is an absolute necessity for good health, yet many of us experience sleep difficulties on occasion. . Elderly adults may be particularly susceptible to difficulty sleeping and nighttime awakenings, due to the decline in melatonin levels associated with aging. Melatonin can help promote healthy sleep patterns in some people, regardless of the cause of insomnia. Reviewing 15 studies of sleep in healthy adults, scientists noted that melatonin administration significantly reduced sleep latency (the amount of time needed to fall asleep), while boosting sleep efficiency (the percentage of time in bed spent asleep) and increasing total sleep duration. top

Prevent or Reduce Jet Lag

Traveling to different time zones often leads to the fatigue and insomnia known as jet lag. Supplementing with melatonin can help prevent or reduce jet lag, particularly when traveling across several time zones. Melatonin works by helping re-synchronize the body’s circadian rhythms, helping the traveler adapt to the local time. top

Fight Aging

Some studies have shown that melatonin plays a crucial part in the aging process and that it may act as an anti-aging agent when administered to older mice. It has been reported in one study that administration of melatonin in elderly mice may reverse this change in expression of some 13 genes, thus making them similar to those of younger mice. Consuming melatonin may neutralize oxidative damage and delay the neurodegenerative process of aging. When small amounts of melatonin were administered to lab mice, it reduced the oxidative damage caused by aging and delayed the inflammatory process, which in turn increased the longevity of the mice. top

Live Longer

In tests on both rats and mice melatonin caused a significant 20 percent increase in their lifespan. This can be attributed to Melatonin's ability to reduce free radical damage, stimulate an aging immune system, protect the cardio vascular system, preserve a youthful circadian rhythm, and stimulate the production of growth hormone. top

Prevent Diabetes

Single-nucleotide polymorphisms of the human melatonin MT2 receptor have been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore women with low levels of melatonin secretion have been found to more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women with high levels. top

Correct Mood Disorders

Melatonin has been shown to be effective in treating seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression, and is being considered for bipolar and other disorders in which circadian disturbances are involved. It was observed in 1985 that bipolar disorder might have elevated sensitivity to light, i.e., a greater decrease in melatonin secretion in response to light exposure at night, as a "trait marker" (a characteristic of being bipolar, which does not change with state). This could be contrasted with drug-free recovered bipolar patients showing normal light sensitivity. top

Weight Loss

Melatonin is involved in energy metabolism and body weight control in small animals. Many studies show that chronic melatonin supplementation in drinking water reduces body weight and abdominal fat in experimental animals, especially in the middle-aged rats and the weight loss effect did not require the animals to eat less and to be physically more active. A potential mechanism is that melatonin promotes the recruitment of brown adipose tissue (BAT) as well as enhances its activity. This effect would raise the basal metabolic rate by stimulating thermogenesis, heat generation through uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria. top