Melatonin --- a summary on Postponing the Aging Process

Peter Ou, Ph.D. Melatonin first came to our attention in an Annal of the New York Academy of Sciences in l991. In a report there, co-authored by William Regelson and others*, subsequently author of a popular book on melatonin, he said, "As melatonin production may govern sexual maturity and declines clinically with age....we felt that its multiple roles may govern the pattern of aging and senescence."

They gave melatonin to young mice and found it to be deleterious. "In contrast, initial results in older mice showed enhancement of longevity by 20% as compared to....controls [mice not given melatonin.]" [emphasis added.]

Considerable research and experimentation provided evidence that melatonin enhanced magnesium synthesis in the body. Also that magnesium enhanced CNS [Central Nervous System] behavior in aging mice, and that it "could be a factor in thyroid function and aging as discussed by Fabris et al, and Travaglini et al.**"

Regelson's group concluded, "We feel the results in this study....suggests that melatonin nocturnal administration....into older mice prolongs median and absolute survival...."

*Regelson, Medical College of Va., Va. Commonwealth U., Box 273, Richmond, VA 23298.

**In The Lancet and J. Clin. Endocrin., respectively.

In 1998, Reiter, Tan & Qi, U. of Texas Health Science Center wrote, "Melatonin is highly effective in reducing [nucleus] DNA damage and membrane lipid destruction due to toxic free radicals....[In conclusion,] these findings have implications for disease processes, e.g., [nerve] degenerative and cardiovascular diseases, which involve free radicals and for aging itself, [emphasis added] which also is believed to be related to accumulated oxidative damage."

Other mentions of longevity-related activities of melatonin include; "The inhibitory effect of MEL [melatonin] on [nervous system] calcium overload is involved in its antiaging effect.".....Zhang and Zhang, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Medical College, Beijing, China, 1999.

And from Pharmacology of Aging Processes, N.Y. Academy of Sciences, 1994, "....the pineal gland [main body repository for melatonin] controls a number of principal biological processes....including water-salt metabolism and the function of [nerve] endocrine and immune systems. It was shown that pineal gland function decreased with age. According to Walker et al.,**** the increase in life span by caloric-restricted diet is due to the delay in age-related decrease of pineal function. These data are in agreement with observations on the life span reduction in [animals with their pineal glands removed] ....and on life span prolongation due to pineal hormone (melatonin or pineal protein) administration....[emphasis added.]

****The above report was by V. N. Anisimov, N.N. Petrov Res. Inst. of Oncology, St. Petersburg 189646, Russia. Walker's study was in Exp. Gerontology

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