Amazing antioxidant and disease fighting properties of melatonin

Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound found in mammals, plants and microbes that in animals fluctuates on a daily cycle. In mammals melatonin is secreted into the blood stream by the pineal gland in the brain and is known as the “hormone of darkness.”

That is, melatonin is secreted in the middle of the night in both day-active (diurnal) and night-active (nocturnal) animals, including humans. Endogenous peak melatonin production occurs at 2 AM and ceases when the sun rises, making measurements of melatonin problematic. There are no foods that one can eat to raise melatonin levels, although it is synthesized in the brain from the essential amino acid L-Tryptophan.

Melatonin is available as an over-the-counter supplement and has been studied for the treatment of cancer, immune disorders, cardiovascular disease, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), circadian rhythm and sleep disorders as well as sexual dysfunction and many other diseases and conditions. This is obviously a very large topic, so we will limit this discussion to melatonin’s antioxidant and sleep inducing effects, as well as how it prevents and may even help cure cancer.

Many years ago I was attending a bioidentical hormone conference where the speaker presented the case of a 20 y/o woman who had developed bilateral breast cancer. That is very unusual of course, and in the process of a complete diagnostic work-up, it was found that her pineal gland was completely calcified, essentially a piece of stone in the middle of her brain. Since the pineal gland is where melatonin is produced, this meant she had no melatonin whatsoever.

This indicates melatonin has very potent anti-cancer effects and when absent markedly increases cancer risk, especially breast cancer.

The World Health Organization has named late night shift work as a probable cancer provoking activity. Reduced melatonin production has been proposed as a likely factor in the significantly higher cancer rates observed in night workers.

Melatonin is a very powerful antioxidant that can easily cross the cell membrane and blood brain barrier. It is a direct free radical scavenger of hydroxide, oxygen and nitrous oxide free radicals. Unlike vitamin C that can be “recycled” which allows it to also be a pro-oxidant, melatonin is reduced to several stable endpoints upon reacting with free radicals, meaning it is a terminal (or suicidal) antioxidant.

Recent studies of melatonin metabolites show it can neutralize up to 10 reactive oxygen or nitrogen species. This makes melatonin capable of creating a “free radical scavenging cascade” that is not possible with other antioxidants. In animal models this superior antioxidant ability can prevent damage to DNA by some carcinogens.

Melatonin’s antioxidant activity may reduce cellular damage such as in Parkinson’s, as well as prevent cardiac arrhythmia and possibly increase longevity.

The average life span of mice has been increased by 20% with melatonin. Another way in which melatonin may prevent cancer is its radiation protecting effects. Melatonin protects against ionizing radiation via free radical scavenging of the hydroxyl free radical that attacks DNA, proteins and cellular membranes. A systematic review of unblinded clinical studies involving a total of 643 cancer patients using melatonin documented a reduced incidence of death.

Melatonin may have exceptional anti-aging effects as well. Young children hit their peak melatonin production at night. As we age, the peak melatonin production occurs earlier at night, which may explain why adults go to bed earlier, wake up earlier and have more sleep difficulties.

Another study has found melatonin is crucial to slowing the aging process via its effects on specific genes. The administration of melatonin may reverse the gene expression of over 100 genes, making the genes of elderly people similar to those of younger people. Thus, using melatonin supplements may assist in reversing some signs and symptoms of aging by working at a genetic level, influencing the aging process favorably.

Poor sleep is a symptom that plagues millions of men and women. The melatonin signal forms part of the system that regulates the wake-sleep cycle by chemically causing drowsiness and lowering body temperature. Human melatonin production decreases as a person ages. In humans, 90% of melatonin is cleared in a single pass through the liver. This is why those who use melatonin supplements to improve the length and depth of sleep may not find success, as over-the-counter melatonin supplements create a rapid blood spike that is rapidly washed out.

Using a compounded, slow release version with a higher dose (3 – 20 mg) may be a better option that will create a more sustained blood melatonin level. A prolonged release prescription version of melatonin called “Circadin” has been approved in Europe for patients over age 55 for the treatment of insomnia.

Melatonin is remarkably safe with few side effects.

Next day grogginess, irritability, vivid dreams and/or nightmares and hypothermia have occurred in some people with doses over 3 mg taken at bedtime. Toxicity has not been seen in doses as high as 200 mg/kg bodyweight in mice.

In summary, melatonin is a very safe and potentially very effective hormone treatment for improving sleep, treating jet lag and insomnia that has minimal downside. It may help prevent a number of cancers as well as slow down the aging process.

Even children with autism have been documented to fall asleep faster and longer with nightly doses of 2-10 mg of melatonin.

Other studies have found melatonin may relieve headaches, reduce delirium, and improve mood disorders such as SAD, bipolar disorder and some forms of depression. Vivid dreaming indicates melatonin is increasing REM restorative sleep.

Randy Ice and David Mitzner are with Vintage Medical Group.

This article contains information provided by Randy Ice, PT, CCS and David Mitzner, DO.

Medical application of 'graphene foam' in neural stem cell therapy

Neural stem cell (NSC) based therapy holds promise for treating numerous neurological disorders. In this treatment, NSCs require scaffolds to provide micro-environments for their growth and differentiation. In 2011, Korean researchers had reported that graphene sheets can support the required growth and differentiation of NSCs. Now, for the first time, Chinese researchers have come up with application of graphene foam as efficient NSC scaffolds.

This novel in vitro (arranged in artificial conditions outside body) technique uses three-dimensional (3D) porous graphene foam. The study also found that while acting as scaffolds, these foams can also control NSCs electrically. Using cyclic voltammetry, researchers explored electrical characteristics of graphene foam. They found that NSCs can be stimulated through capacitive charge injection, just like 2D graphene film electrode. Although, because the 3D graphene foam covers larger surface area, it can inject a much stronger charge than 2D graphene sheets and thereby improve electrical stimulation performance of the conductive scaffold.

Using a Nickle foam template, graphene foams were synthesized by chemical vapor deposition method. The resultant graphene skeleton had width around 100-200 μm whereas whole porous structure averaged 100-300 μm, observations under electron microscope revealed. The surface chemistry of 3D-GFs was further characterized by the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).

NSC adhesion and proliferation on 3D-GF scaffold. Credit: Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/srep01604

 

The NSCs are self-renewing and multipotent cell population in the central nervous system. Stem cells are characterized by their capability to differentiate into multiple cell types via exogenous stimuli from their environment. Regenerative NSCs are used in cell replacement therapy to tackle cell death which causes acute Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders and neurodegenerative disease. Patient with these disorders suffer from lack of regenerative abilities for cell replacement and repair. Provided that graphene foam can not only house the NSCs, but also control them electrically, it stands in competition with existing substrates for neural cell based therapy like glass or polymer PDMS.

Potentially, graphene foam has widespread application, ranging from gas sensors to Helium substituteGraphene itself is a biodegradable, which gives it an edge over many toxic substances it aims to substitute. In addition to this medical application of graphene foam, recent advancements in graphene research have been tantalizing and promise to revolutionize our technology while keeping our progress sustainable.

New study: GMOs linked to blood cell disorders, leukemia

 

Widespread industry claims that the altered traits of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) do not persist in food and are thus harmless to humans have once again been proven to be false. A new study published in the open-access, peer-reviewed Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases has revealed that GMOs indeed damage and toxify human blood cells, and can consequently lead to the development of deadly blood diseases like anemia and leukemia.

Researchers from the Department of Genetics and Morphology and the Institute of Biological Sciences at the University of Brasilia learned this after feeding test mice various doses of Cry proteins, or Cry toxins, which are insect-killing agents purposely engineered into many GM crops. After administering just one dose of these toxins, the team observed the development of a number of different blood abnormalities, many of which became progressively worse in the week following the single dose.

Even at the lowest dose tested, Cry toxins were observed to induce damage to bone marrow cells and cause anemia, the latter of which is marked by a lack of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the system. And this was in vertebrate mammals, a species that Monsanto and the rest of the biotechnology cabal has long claimed is not affected by Bt toxin and its resultant toxic byproducts. In the end, damage caused by Cry toxin exposure was found to result in severe hematological malignancies such as leukemia, a deadly type of blood cancer.

“[O]ur study demonstrated that Bt spore-crystals genetically modified to express individually Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2A induced hematotoxicity, particularly to the erythroid lineage,” wrote the authors. “This finding corroborates literature that demonstrated that alkali-solubilized Bt spore-crystals caused in vitro hemolysis in cell lines of rat, mouse, sheep, horse, and human erythrocytes and suggested that the plasma membrane of susceptible cells (erythrocytes, in this case) may be the primary target for these toxins.”

Long-term exposure to GM toxins proven to cause systemic damage to human health

Beyond their inherent toxicity to humans, Cry toxins were also found to activate this toxicity much more easily than previously believed. Rather than have to be exposed to an alkaline pH in the digestive tract of a susceptible species in order to become active, Cry toxins were found to elicit their adverse effects after merely being exposed to distilled water. Cry toxins were also found to bioaccumulate in the body over time, causing progressively more damage in the long term.

“Taking into account the increased risk of human and animal exposures to significant levels of these toxins, especially through diet, our results suggest that further studies are required to clarify the mechanism involved in the hematotoxicity found in mice, and to establish the toxicological risks to non-target organisms, especially mammals, before concluding that these microbiological control agents are safe for mammals,” added the authors.

In other words, there is no sound scientific basis for the use of such toxins in food products consumed by humans, as they are clearly unsafe. Put another way, if independent studies such as this one had been required to be conducted prior to the approval of GM crops with Bt traits, such crops never would have been approved in the first place, as it would have been abundantly evident from the start that they are not safe for human consumption.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/new-study-links-gmo-food-leukemia
http://digitaljournal.com/article/350126
http://www.activistpost.com