Would you believe: prevention of cancer; inhibition of immunosuppression; a treatment for Jetlag; for serving as a potent body antioxidant; as therapy for preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders and also as the familiar use as a sleep aid.
Undoubtedly many DK readers will have no interest in reading this Diary although, since so many persons in the general public are seemingly very much interested in cancer prevention and also have sleep problems I would not be able to fathom as to why that just a few DKers at the least might not choose to learn something of potential value for them from this Diary especially since almost all DKers would not have access to the source data at :
without being a registered member.
Disclosure: Having read Anton Bursch’s Diary “How to get on the Daily Kos Recommended List” on Wed Apr 24, 2013 I state here that my interest and enjoyment in publishing Diaries to The Daily Kos Community section lies predominately in providing a source of data that I assume that most DKers would not encounter in the course of their daily readings. By writing such Diaries there are no ulterior motivations on my part, such as making the Recommended List. Rather, it is my sincere hope that at least one DKer might gain some personal useful knowledge from what is written.
Harkening back to Anton’s Bursch’s article just mentioned please all note that I certainly can not muster a state of”passion” for my Diary subject after alleging above, that” many DK readers will have no interest in reading this Diary.”
So, for the few and intrepid with even a modicum of interest please venture below the squiggle.
About Melatonin per se.
Melatonin, as I expect that readers may well know, is secreted by the Pineal gland, which is located in the brain, after being synthesized there. Normally, the hormone is secreted during the night and secretion gets turned off during daylight.
“ There appears to be a general mechanism by which the hormone melatonin regulates gene expression to link the central circadian pacemaker and peripheral tissues, resulting in modulation of circadian and seasonal rhythms. Tissues endowed with fully characterized functional MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptors include the retina, brain, suprachiasmatic nucleus, pars tuberalis, ovaries, cerebral and peripheral arteries, kidney, pancreas, adipocytes and immune cells [Dubocovich and Markowska, 2005; Dubocovich et al. 2010]"
The Target Tissues of melatonin in humans.
"Pancreatic islets [Peschke et al. 2007] and adipocytes [Brydon et al. 2001] express melatonin receptors. MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptors & have been detected in peripheral and cerebral arteries [Ekmekcioglu, 2006]. MT1 melatonin receptor localization in the arterial wall and hippocampal microvasculature of normal subjects and patients with Alzheimer's disease suggest involvement of melatonin in the regulation of cerebral blood flow [Savaskan et al. 2001]. In the vascular system melatonin evokes opposite responses, as it potentiates vasoconstriction through MT1 and induces vasodilatation via MT2 receptors [Dubocovich et al. 2010]. Melatonin receptors have also been detected in the human kidney [Drew et al. 1998]. Melatonin membrane receptors are expressed in lymphocytes and are involved at least in part in regulating immune responses [Pozo et al. 2004].
Membrane melatonin receptors appear to be involved in melatonin's oncostatic effect. Prostate tumor and breast cancer cells express melatonin receptors [Dillon et al. 2002; Gilad et al. 1999; Rögerlsperger et al. 2011]. Colon cancer cells also express melatonin receptors [Nemeth et al. 2011], melatonin's oncostatic action being mediated primarily through activation of MT1 melatonin receptors.
Melatonin-mediated effects are time dependent, with the efficacy of melatonin being probably dependent on the diurnal sensitivity of MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptor expression. The in-depth study of melatonin receptor function will facilitate discovery and development of novel agents[see *2. below] for the treatment of sleep, circadian, metabolic and endocrine disorders, as well as tumor cell growth.
Melatonin may contribute to the conservation of DNA integrity and may thus be involved in cancer prevention. Other research data show that the hormone is a natural oncostatic agent, being involved in protection from the development of malignant neoplasms. As such, Melatonin may soon find clinical applications as it has been successfully used in cancer therapy and in the management of the adverse effects of anticancer therapy.
Mode of Action of Melatonin." Melatonin’s mode of action has been worked out. However, that action mode is quite complex and I do not feel that a review of it would be appropriate to this Diary or particularly helpful to any reader.
Melatonin and Circadian Rythms. . “Melatonin resynchronizes the disordered circadian rhythms and induces sleep in people with delayed sleep phase syndrome and in shift workers. Ramelteon and agomelatine are melatonin receptor agonist drugs that have been developed.[*2.] They have a longer half life and higher affinity for melatonin receptors than melatonin itself, and research has shown that they have great potential for the management of biological rhythm disorders.”
Melatonin and Neurodegenerative Disorders.
“ Studies in mice show that melatonin administration may inhibit the appearance of neural cell abnormalities and the attendant memory disturbance which are observed in Alzheimer's disease. Continuous light exposure in rats induces the appearance of changes related to those observed in Alzheimer's disease while melatonin administration protects against their appearance [Ling et al. 2009]. In humans with Alzheimer's disease, disorders in melatonin secretion and biological rhythm disorders are observed.
Melatonin may be used therapeutically for the resynchronization of the biological rhythms and the prevention of histological changes in Alzheimer’s disease [Olcese et al. 2009]. Melatonin has a potential therapeutic value as a neuroprotective agent in Parkinson's disease, amyotropic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s disease and brain trauma [Pandi-Perumal et al. 2012; Rothman and Mattson, 2012; Srinivasan et al. 2011a].”
However it is to be noted that,” clinical trials using melatonin are warranted before its relative merits as a neuroprotective agent are definitively established.”
A SUMMARY FOR QUOTED DATA FROM ARTICLE AT [*1.] ABOVE.
Melatonin is a hormone with multiple actions. It is involved in the regulation of biological rhythms, in sleep regulation, it has potent antioxidant action and protects the organism from carcinogenesis and neurodegenerative disorders. The hormone possesses immune-enhancing activity. Therapeutically, it may be used for the management of insomnia, jet lag, the resynchronization of circadian rhythms, as an adjuvant in cancer therapy and in the inhibition of disease progression in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
REGARDING MY PERSONAL USE & BENEFIT FROM MELATONIN.
For many years, going back to age 17, my sleep pattern approximated that of the Shift Worker. As a Naval Hospital Corpsman starting in 1946 I from time to time worked an 11 PM to 7 AM on ward duty shift. From start of college and thru medical school on some nights I was up to midnight studying and some nights, preparing for major tests, I would pull an “all-nighter”. During my surgical training Residency years I would get so sleepy during the daytime that on one occaission I fell asleep while standing up in a group discussion concerning a patients care. I was very embarrassed when I bounced of a nearby wall.
Also in my clinical practice years I would be called out at night when on call.
So, the above text outlines a history for me of years of fragmented sleep and then that was not helped, when in my seventies I was diagnosed with “sleep apnea”. Hence it was probably for many preceding years that I had been experiencing multiple, during the night, awakenings without even being aware of them.
Now in my eighties my prostate gland is small secondary to Proton beam radiation for cancer however that likely led to some shrinkage in urinary bladder size also as manifested by several urinary needed trips to the bathroom nightly and…. therein lay yet another sleep problem for me.
After returning to bed I would regularly lay awake for hours or up reading a book. So, for any reader that has during the night insomnia, and that is not rare with age alone, you can note my personal solution as follows:
At my first awakening , usually around 2:00AM, I take 5 milligrams of quick dissolving melatonin. I make sure, bed out to bed back in, to remain in the dark and with melatonin plus darkness I am soon asleep again. The melatonin effects are good for any subsequent bathroom excursions during the same night also.
My understanding is that melatonin is virtually harmless to take and after reading the article, which was the source for this Diary, I am delighted to know of all of its other potential beneficial effects for me also.
DISCLAIMER: This Diary is informational only. It is not to be construed as providing medical advice or directions to any reader.