We all know (or most of us anyway) that melatonin is the sleep hormone. That in and of itself is an important role. Sufficient good quality sleep is key for functioning optimally, or at all! But tied in with that role is melatonin’s role in preventing, slowing and perhaps even reversing, cancer. Isn’t nature beautiful? So much bang for your buck, wouldn’t you say? Stop and think about how many natural body functions, herbs and remedies there are. Once you’ve done some research, let me know if you can find one body part, herb or nutraceutical that only has one benefit. Mother Nature was more practical than that! Anyway, where were we? Oh yes! …
Shift workers – awake during the night hours – are at a greater risk of developing cancer. In fact, anyone who is exposed to light after dark and awake between the magical hours of 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. are at increased risk. Even a brief glimpse is all it takes to halt the production of melatonin. Why? Because when the pineal gland senses light, it stops production of melatonin. After all, light means it’s time to get up! So no melatonin needed! Melatonin is responsible for so much. It is known as the anti-aging hormone. It will keep you young! “Beauty sleep” anyone?
Here’s the thing about melatonin and cancer: Melatonin connects with its receptors in your body, cancer cells included. So when you have a breast cancer cell that is estrogen hormone positive (which is my diagnosis), the melatonin hormone will attach to its receptor, blocking the estrogenic activity. Prostate cancer is also a hormone-driven cancer, and melatonin has been shown to be beneficial with that cancer as well. Of course, ovarian cancer is also an estrogen-driven cancer. With proper sleep, estrogen-driven cancers can realize a benefit from natural melatonin supply. Get to bed before 10:00 p.m.! I learned this the hard way, and am under doctor’s orders – in bed by 10:00 p.m. It’s admittedly hard to do, given all that I have to accomplish in an evening.
Melatonin supports the immune system, and so it is important that you maintain your natural supply regularly. It is an antioxidant and free-radical scavenger. It helps calm inflammation. Supplementation is available; however, it’s not optimal when compared to natural melatonin. And it’s not a good idea to just take melatonin and stay up late or have the light on regularly. You still need sleep. It defeats the purpose. Supplementation certainly has its benefits in the absence of the real thing, but if you cut your finger with a knife and your finger goes on to heal, would you want to keep cutting it knowing that that’s the problem?
Certainly I am taking a therapeutic dose, given my diagnosis; but you will find some sleep relief with the 3 mg tablets. Always consult with your treatment provider, having consideration to your own unique health factors.
Sweet dreams my little cells. I’ll be watching out for you! Zzzzzzzzz