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New ideas about Melatonin  Archive

 

Anti-ageing specialist Dr Marios Kyriazis, advisor to the British Longevity Society, reports on new findings from a conference on anti ageing

Long-haul travellers know melatonin as a substance that helps reduce jet lag, but there is much more to it than that. Melatonin is a hormone with many potential uses in the fight against ageing.  

Production of melatonin is mainly at night, but this declines with age and can have repercussions on the way the body operates. It is no wonder then, that in addition  to jet lag, melatonin can help with sleep problems associated with ageing, such as early morning wakening.

 

All hormones need to work in harmony with each other, and when one (e.g. melatonin) becomes deficient, others go out of control, exactly like an orchestra with one player playing out of tune. Because melatonin affects the level of the sexual hormones (oestrogens, progesterone and testosterone), its age-related deficiency has been linked to the menopause in women and to androgen-deficiency in men.

So far, most research has been carried out on laboratory animals - the hormone has been seen to slow down ageing in mice and rats. Several studies suggest that treatment with melatonin may help reverse the symptoms of sexual dysfunction, but again, these are mainly performed on laboratory animals.

However, a new study on humans by Italian expert Dr Pierpaoli, reported at an international anti-ageing conference held in July 2001, suggests that melatonin can help menopausal women. Dr Pierpaoli’s study was published in the journal ‘Experimental Gerontology’.  It showed  the effects of melatonin on 79 menopausal women aged from 42-62 years. Some women were given 3 mg of melatonin at night, where others were only given placebo (dummy treatment). 

After six months of treatment, most women taking melatonin reported an improvement of mood and a significant reduction of feelings of depression. Also, all women who were on melatonin were found to have improved thyroid function.

Low thyroid activity is a very common problem associated with ageing, and as many as 40% of people aged 60 and over may be thyroid deficient (albeit in a mild form). This study showed that melatonin treatment may help improve the activity of the thyroid gland and as a consequence, reduce the symptoms related to low thyroid function such as: tiredness, constipation, muscle aches, thinning of hair, dry skin and forgetfulness.

This makes melatonin a potential hormone to be used as an alternative to HRT, or perhaps in addition to HRT.

Other recent studies have also found that melatonin may slow down the growth of prostate cancer. The exact mechanism of this action is still not known, but scientists were able to establish that melatonin can penetrate prostate cancer cells and block their division.

Melatonin is not officially licensed in the UK, but a doctor may be able to prescribe it following a personal consultation. It is also available over the internet and it can be obtained quite legally for personal use. It is freely available in the United Sates and in some European countries. . It is available in the UK from World Wide Health

tel 08700 760750, www.wwhcorp.com

Dr Marios Kyriazis is a private consultant in anti-ageing.  He can be contacted at the British Longevity Society, PO Box 71, Hemel Hempstead, HP3 9DN.

NB The conclusions and opinions above are those of the author, and are not necessarily held by laterlife.com

If in any doubt about any of the information covered in any health related article and its relevance for you, consult your GP.

To view previous articles in this series - see the laterlife-interest index page

 


 

laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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