Why This Sleep Aid is an Anti Aging Hormone
Growth hormone gets the press when discussing anti aging hormones, but some scientists and physicians believe melatonin is the real master hormone and the real anti aging hormone.
Best known as a sleep aid, the health benefits of melatonin have been researched since 1958, and melatonin has been shown to slow down the aging process in laboratory animals. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant, cancer inhibitor, and immune system booster, all of which are important to increasing longevity qualifying melatonin as an anti aging hormone.
Melatonin deficiency may also contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, breast and prostate cancer, and neurologic disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The Pineal Gland
Melatonin is made and released by the pineal gland, a small pea-size gland in the brain. Its production is linked to daylight and nighttime darkness. When it’s dark out melatonin production increases making us drowsy. Production ceases when the sun rises in the morning. The production of many of our hormones varies throughout the day. As melatonin regulates our wake-sleep cycle it also effects production of many other hormones – thus may be the master anti aging hormone.
Melatonin production declines with age leading to disordered sleep, immune dysfunction, and other hormonal issues. It is during deep sleep that growth hormone; the healing hormone is primarily released. Poor sleep means lower growth hormone levels.
Melatonin and Cancer
Melatonin boosts the immune system, specifically T-cell production from the thymus gland, and is an inhibitor of tumor growth. Melatonin is an effective adjunctive treatment in the management of breast cancer and enhances the effects of chemotherapy agents. Melatonin also lessens the side effects associated with chemotherapy.
Interesting, blind women who have higher levels of melatonin (since it is always dark to them) have lower incidence of breast cancer.
Melatonin: Free Radical Fighter
Melatonin is a potent antioxidant and neutralizes free radicals that are harmful to our health contributing to a host of medical problems. Melatonin protects our DNA from injury from free radicals. Free radicals accelerate the aging process. Melatonin’s role in fighting free radicals is another reason why it is an important anti aging hormone. See our post “Free Radical Theory of Aging”.
Melatonin and Jet Lag and Sleep
Melatonin has long been used to treat jet lag and is quite effective for many individuals in this regard.
When you consider the other potential health benefits from melatonin it makes sense to try it first if you suffer from poor sleep as opposed to one of the prescribed sleeping medications. Melatonin is non-addictive unlike many prescribed drugs used for disordered sleep.
Sleep well – age well.
What’s the Right Dose of Melatonin?
That’s hard to say. Studies have shown that high doses of 10 mg or more are safe. Most people seem to respond to 3 mg a night or even less. We recommend obtaining a pharmaceutical grade product and start with the lowest dose available and gradually increase the dose until you find the dose that gives you the best sleep without any hangover effect or other unwanted side effects. Also take melatonin 30 to 60 minutes prior to bedtime. Results are usually seen the first night with more noticeable results being seen after 2 to 3 weeks of treatment.
Don’t forget to add melatonin to your anti-aging program. It just might be the master hormone.
See related articles.