Melatonin: better sleep and greater protection against damage to DNA

Your body has its own internal clock that regulate your natural sleep and wake cycles. Melatonin is better known as a hormone made in your body by the pineal gland (a small gland in the brain) to help control these cycles. The principal factor affecting melatonin production is light which inhibits the secretion of this hormone while darkness istigates the pineal gland to increase melatonin secretion. At the same time many studies revealed that, in addtion to its sleep-enhancing benefits, this hormone acts as a powerful and versatile antioxidant which protects both lipids and proteins against damage by scavenging some of the most dangerous free radicals in the body.

Melatonin works with other antioxidants to improve the overall effectiveness from each antioxidant but, unlike other antioxidants, melatonin does not undergo redox cycling (i.e. it does not reduce to a pro-oxidant after donating electrons therefore it is considered to be a terminal (or suicidal) antioxidant).In this capacity, melatonin has been demonstrated to prevent the damage to DNA by some carcinogens by stoping them cause cancer.It also has been found to be effective in protecting against brain injury caused by ROS release and mitigating damage caused by some types of Parkinson’s disease. One of melatonin’s most important applications is in fighting different types of cancers and playing a role in preventing cardiac arrhythmia. In animal models, it has been shown to increase the average life span of mice by 20%.


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