Can Melatonin Help Prevent Alzheimer's disease
Some recent report suggests that it can. Hi I am Dr. James Meschino. You know melatonin is a hormone that's made in the pineal gland in the brain and late at night when it gets dark out it gets secreted, which helps us get into a nice deep level of sleep. But as we
get older, the amount of melatonin we secrete is much less; there is a decline in melatonin secretion as we get older. By age 40, it can lead to sleep disturbances and insomnia problems for people. But over and above helping you get a good nights sleep melatonin has other health benefits.
Melatonin is also very important brain antioxidant. That's important because the brain uses about twenty percent of the body’s oxygen at any given time. That is good for energy production in brain cells, but the side effects of this process generate a lot of free radicals, which damage brain cells and are linked to Alzheimer's disease and other conditons such multiple sclerosis. Melatonin helps quench and mop up those free radicals. As mentioned, radical damage is known to damage the brain and in diseases like Alzheimer’s disease there is always evidence of free radical damage. In the Alzheimer’s brain you also seee a build up what's known as the beta-amyloid plaque. It’s a type of protein that sort of strangles the nerve cells and leads to cell death. Emerging research shows that melatonin can stop the build up of amyloid plaque in the brain of animals and also block free radical damage. So, animal studies suggest melatonin can prevent important events that led to Alzheimer’s disease.
In recent years we've seen some human clinical trials that are really compelling because they suggest that melatonin supplementation may help prevent Alzheimer's disease in high riks individuals. The prelude to Alzheimer’s disease is a condition called mild cognitive impairment. This is when your memory starts to go to slip to a certain degree. We've seen that melatonin provided to patients that have mild cognitive impairment has improved their cognitive function compared to the group that were not given melatonin supplementation.
As of this publication date there have been four small studies performed involving patients that already have mild cognitive impairment, who were on their way to Alzheimer’s disease. Melatonin supplementation has been able to halt the process or improve cognitive function in a high percentage of subjects. So, the bottom line is that if you're having trouble sleeping at night a lot of doctors prescribe sleeping pills, and we've seen recently that this may be a mistake due to the risk of certain health conditions I will mention shortly. The bette solution is the use of melatonin as a supplement because not only improves sleep duration and quality, but may help prevent Alzheimer's disease. I like melatonin in the capsule that also contains 5HTP, GABA and also Bacopa Monnieri. That is what I take personally, about an hour before bedtime each night.
You can click on the associated video link to gain a greater sense of the importance of this information. I also have antother article on this website, which provides more details entitled, "Melatonin May Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's Disease". You’ll see all the evidence there.
This information is quite vital as we recently saw a study showing that when people use sleeping medication, such as the benzodiazepines, and other drugs you see advertised on TV as sleep aids, they use is linked to increase risk of cancer, heart attack, premature death, and other health problems. This data was publshed by Kripke in British Medical Journal called Open in the year 2012.
So my preference is, after the age of forty you should take some melatonin, in a capsule with the other agents that I mentioned, to help compensate for he age-related decline in melatonin, to improve sleep quality, protect the brain from free radical damage, and it may also suppress the buildup of beta amyloid plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Remember too that Melatonin also supports immune system function and has been shown to help decrease risk of breast and prostate cancer. Thus, there are many benefits to the use of melatonin. Including it in you wellness game plan after age 40 makes good sense in my view