Melatonin is best known as a sleep hormone because of its action controlling the circadian cycle.But melatonin also has antioxidant properties, and may have an important anti-aging role. Theability to tolerate inflammation, in whatever form, is a key to healthy aging. A new study showsthat melatonin can restore the ability of important cell components to withstand the effects ofinflammatory stress. This is a distinct anti-aging effect on cells.
Melatonin is a powerful and versatile antioxidant produced within the body. Melatonin protectsboth lipids and proteins against damage, and can scavenge some of the most dangerous freeradicals in the body—including hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide. Unlike otherantioxidants, melatonin easily diffuses into all cells, and even crosses the blood-brain barrier toprotect the delicate brain.1
Unfortunately, levels of naturally produced melatonin decline with advancing age, leaving olderadults with limited antioxidant protection against conditions associated with oxidative stress, particularly neurodegenerative diseases. Supplementing with melatonin may thus help older adults enhance their antioxidant protection against some of the most ravaging diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.
One of melatonin’s most important applications is in fighting a wide array of cancers, including breast and liver cancers, non-small-cell lung cancer, and brain metastases from solid tumours. A factor in restorative sleep, melatonin’s benefits extend to neuroprotection and fighting cancer. Its powerful antioxidant effect offers important enhancements to the brain and nervous system, helping protect against age-related damage.
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