This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Free radical production plays a pivotal role in the development of systemic inflammation that fuels the aging process. Free radicals are formed as a result of essential metabolic processes such as breathing, walking and eating.
Over the course of decades, these molecules damage sensitive cellular structures and can threaten the integrity of our genetic architecture. Any natural compound that can minimize the effect of free radicals and lower our inflammatory response to stressors is critical to our health and well being.
Melatonin has demonstrated an amazing capacity to blunt the impact of free radicals and lower the risk of many cancers, prevent neurologic deterioration and extinguish the flames of systemic inflammation.
Melatonin Provides Neuroprotective Benefits
Long known for its ability to regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythms in the body, melatonin is rapidly emerging as a powerful agent in the fight against brain aging and neurologic deterioration. Melatonin effectively protects both lipids and proteins from free radical damage as it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. The production of melatonin decreases with age and oxidation slowly diminishes the normal electrical communication patterns seen in a healthy brain.
The result of a study published in the Behavioral and Brain Functions journal found that patients suffering from neurologic disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease were deficient in circulating levels of melatonin. Researchers found that providing supplemental melatonin dramatically lowered the degree of oxidative stress on neural mitochondria and was protective against related free radical damage. The study authors noted that the effect of melatonin was more pronounced on patients in the earliest stages of disease.
Melatonin Shown to Lower Cancer Risk by 34%
Melatonin has been shown to be effective in the fight against many cancer lines including those affecting the liver, breast, prostate, lung and brain. Melatonin is a powerful and versatile antioxidant that is naturally secreted by the pineal gland at night during total darkness. The natural nutrient can scavenge the most dangerous free radicals that are known to result in genetic deletions that dramatically increase the risk of many cancers.
The result of a meta-analysis of ten studies released in the Journal of Pineal Research demonstrated that melatonin is able to lower the risk of many cancer lines by up to 34%. Researchers found that this protection resulted across all dosage ranges and there were no adverse effects reported. The lead author concluded, “The substantial reduction in risk of death, low adverse events reported and low costs related to this intervention suggest great potential for melatonin in treating cancer.”
Melatonin Is an Anti-Aging Nutrient
As our cells age, they are subject to damage from inflammation throughout the body. The endoplasmic reticulum are cellular structures responsible for creating new functional protein and fat molecules that can be rendered non-functional as we grow older. The leads to the production of excess free radicals and the signs of cellular decay we call aging.
Information provided by the Neuroimmunophysiology Research Group explains that melatonin is able to correct many of the age-associated malfunctions induced by inflammation and free radicals. The nutrient was found to slow or even reverse cellular death by regenerating the functional capacity of the endoplasmic reticulum.
Melatonin is a natural nutrient secreted by the brain to provide support in the battle against free radicals and associated inflammation. Small amounts (.5 to 2 mg) taken 30 minutes before bed have been shown to help aging adults in the fight against cancer, dementia and premature aging.