Melatonin is a pleiotropic neurohormone controlling many physiological processes and whose dysfunction may contribute to several different diseases, such as neurodegenerative diseases, circadian and mood disorders, insomnia, type 2 diabetes and pain. Melatonin can have side effects.
The circadian production of pineal melatonin is controlled by endogenous oscillators within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and entrained by daily and seasonal changes in the environmental light-dark cycle.
Melatonin may help prevent dementia from occurring
Melatonin could become an attractive and low-cost alternative for slowing the processes of aging and its associated diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders.
Melatonin showed neuroprotective effects on both axons and myelin sheaths of white matter in rats in ultrastructural observations. These effects significantly augmented with dose increase.
Melatonin may protect from neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers led by Atsuhiko Hattori at Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) in Japan have shown that melatonin and two of its metabolites help memories stick around in the brain and can shield mice, and potentially people, from cognitive decline.
Melatonin provides neuroprotecton via enhanced SIRT1 expression in a vulnerable mouse strain.
Melatonin may be beneficial during aging as it reduced the deteriorative oxidative changes in mitochondria and other portions of the cell associated with advanced age in vulnerable mice.
Melatonin prevents neurodegeneration associated with mitochondrial cytochrome c release and downstream caspase activation (both are involved with cell death).
When melatonin is administered orally, it is readily available to the brain where it counteracts different processes that occur during aging and age-related neurodegenerative disorders. These aging processes include oxidative stress and oxidative damage, chronic and acute inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of neural regeneration.
Most people associate melatonin with sleep. But melatonin may also play a role in protecting against neurodegeneration from dementia. Robert M. Friedlander, chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery in Pitt’s School of Medicine, and Amantha Thathiah, assistant professor of neurobiology, are first-time co-investigators on a project to connect the dots. “Melatonin is a strong neuroprotective agent. It is doing a lot of things to stabilize the cell. But as we get old, we lose melatonin production,” said Friedlander.
Melatonin has been extensively studied as a treatment for neurodegenerative diseases
This meta-analysis of 22 studies found that melatonin is effective in treatment for mild stage of AD.
Melatonin and exercise work against Alzheimer’s in mice,
Melatonin reduces levels of amyloid beta-peptides in mice.
It not only inhibits Aβ generation, but also arrests the formation of amyloid fibrils by a structure-dependent interaction with Aβ. Our studies have demonstrated that melatonin efficiently attenuates Alzheimer-like tau hyperphosphorylation.
Melatonin might reduce the severity of mild cognitive impairment and prevent it’s progression into dementia. When melatonin is administered orally, it is readily available to the brain where it counteracts different processes that occur during aging and age-related neurodegenerative disorders. These aging processes include oxidative stress and oxidative damage, chronic and acute inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of neural regeneration.
Endogenous melatonin is best – deficiency is rare unless one is over 50.
Roger Seheult, MD explains here, that sun exposure likely produces melatonin by a completely different mechanism with similar benefits.