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Melatonin Levels Tied to Prostate Health

There are many strange associations in the body, but one of the strangest may be the link between melatonin levels and your prostate health. Recent studies have uncovered that low melatonin levels increases risk for prostate cancer. Find out more below.
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Can sleeping more prevent prostate cancer? Recent studies suggest it may be true.

Research was released at the AACR-Prostate Cancer Foundation Conference in January 2014, which found that high levels of melatonin were linked to a reduction in prostate cancer risk. Other studies suggest that melatonin may actually halt prostate cancer progression, or even reverse it. Want to learn more about this curious connection? Read on.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone made in the brain. It is produced by the pineal gland and is used to regulate other hormones and also controls the body’s circadian rhythm. This rhythm is your body’s internal clock that tells us when to sleep, when to wake up, and how to go about your day.

Melatonin controls the timing and release of female reproductive hormones. Some researchers believe that melatonin may also relate to aging. Children have higher levels of melatonin at night than adults. Low melatonin levels has been linked to many of the side-effects of aging, like disruptive sleep, insomnia, and early waking.

Other research has indicated that melatonin is also an immune-supporter and strong antioxidant. It is these properties that make melatonin a key hormone for prostate cancer.

Although your body always produces some melatonin, your body makes the most at night when it is dark. That is why it is important to be exposed to clear light/dark phases of the day to keep the hormone regulated. Exposure to too many lights at night (particularly blue light) can disrupt your melatonin levels.

Melatonin and Cancer

According to recent studies, melatonin influences many of the hormones that influence both breast cancer and prostate cancer (studies show that breast cancer and prostate cancer come from many of the same sources and problems in the body, such as lack of use and hormone imbalances).

Studies indicate that the balance of melatonin in the body can reduce risk for breast and prostate cancer by up to 75 percent. Researchers believe that melatonin may help cancer by providing antioxidant properties and the block of free radicals. This helps stop the spread and formation of dangerous cancer cells.

There is also some evidence to suggest that melatonin stimulates the production of white blood cells that attack tumors and faulty cells specifically.

Studies on Prostate Cancer and Melatonin

In 2006, researchers from Seattle looked at the incidence of breast cancer in women who work nights. Individuals who work at night typically have lower melatonin levels than individuals who have a normal sleep cycle. The researchers found that women who work nights were more likely to have breast cancer. These study findings are significant for prostate cancer as research has shown that breast cancer and prostate cancer are closely related.

One study that looked specifically at men’s prostate risk as related to melatonin was conducted on over 900 men from the AGES-Reykjavik cohort between 2002 and 2009. The researchers took urine samples and gave the men a questionnaire to fill out each day reporting their sleep patterns.

Of the study participants, about 1 in 7 had sleep problems, 1 in 5 men had trouble staying asleep, and 1 in 3 men took sleep medications. The researchers found that men who had the highest sleep troubles had the lowest levels of melatonin.

By the end of the study, 111 of the men had prostate cancer (24 had advanced prostate cancer). Men who had the highest levels of melatonin in their urine were 75 percent less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer. Men with higher melatonin levels were about 30 percent less likely to ever get prostate cancer.

Using Sleep to Prevent Prostate Cancer

Sleep (under the right conditions) is useful for promoting your natural production levels of melatonin. The main problem with today’s modern lifestyle is that the natural sleep clock of the body is often confused. Work at night, too many lights, sources of blue light, and electronics all interfere with the production of melatonin. This can have dangerous consequences far beyond what we understand currently.

Since this pattern of life has existed for relatively little time, it is difficult to know the full repercussions of low melatonin production. However, it is clear that low melatonin levels are linked to an increased risk for developing prostate cancer. Therefore, fixing your sleep rhythms and melatonin production is one simple step to reducing prostate cancer risk and curing prostate cancer if you currently suffer from the condition.

Luckily, complications for prostate cancer are relatively low, and cancer rarely spreads beyond the prostate. This makes it easy to use natural methods to cure prostate cancer without the high risks of side effects that conventional treatments bring (such as loss of libido, fatigue, urinary problems, loss of fertility, and bowel dysfunction).

How can you boost the production of melatonin in your body? It is actually extremely simple. Follow the steps outlined below to boost your melatonin production.

Up Your Vitamin Intake

Certain vitamins are linked to the production of melatonin. If you are deficient in these vitamins, then you may not have the right building blocks to create melatonin. The best vitamins to consume to help boost melatonin production include:

Essential Vitamins for Melatonin Production
B12 B9 (folate) B6 B5 B3 These vitamins contribute to the production of S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe). SAMe is an amino acid necessary for the production of selenium and for the conversion of selenium into melatonin.

You can find these vitamins in leafy greens, seafood, and dairy products. Supplements and Herbs A variety of herbs can raise your melatonin levels naturally. These herbs boost the production of the right acids and hormones in the body that lead to healthy sleep. The best supplements for supporting melatonin production include: St John’s Wort, magnesium, and valarian.

These three supplements support healthy sleep patterns and a feeling of rest at night if you are not used to sleeping at night or have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Magnesium supports the nervous system as well as numerous other systems in the brain that interfere with healthy sleep.

St. John’s wort and valerian are used as sleep remedies around the world and have mild sedative effects.

Go Outside in Daylight

Part of resetting your body’s clock is signaling when it is awake time and when it is sleep time. Going outside in the day helps trigger the production of day hormones, which helps your body determine when to produce night hormones as well.

One of the fastest ways to reset your clock this way is to go outside as the sun rises each morning. This signals the brain to wake up quickly, which can be more effective than coffee for a morning wake-up call.

Block Light at Night

Just as important as soaking in sunlight during the day is blocking sources of light at night. According to studies, sources of yellow light are not as bad as sources of blue light. However, today’s lighting is blue light-heavy. All electronics, florescent lights, and most energy-saving bulbs emit blue light. This signals the brain to stay awake and suppresses the production of melatonin.

You can reverse this problem by avoiding blue light at night. Switch to bulbs that use yellow light and avoid the use of electronics for at least an hour before bedtime.

Take the following steps to increase your melatonin production even faster:

  • Eliminate all electronic devices from the bedroom
  • Install blackout curtains on bedroom windows to block street lights
  • Open curtains when you first wake to allow sunshine into the room
  • Engage in calming activities right before you sleep each night Use an alarm clock that emits yellow or red light, not blue or green

Exercise Daily

Exercise boosts the production of serotonin, which is necessary for the production of melatonin. You can increase your melatonin production simply by exercising during the day. Do not exercise right before bed, as this is a stimulating activity. The best time to exercise for maximum melatonin production is during the day outdoors in full sunlight.

Eat the Right Foods

Certain foods can help boost your production of melatonin. These foods are rich in serotonin, tryptophan, and some even contain melatonin as well. Many of these foods also contain the vitamins and minerals essential for the production of melatonin. Add the following foods to your diet to boost your melatonin production:

Foods that Stimulate Melatonin Production
  • Cherries
  • Wheat germ
  • Avocado
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Beans Bananas
  • Poultry
  • Dairy

Should You Supplement with Melatonin?

Melatonin is available as a supplement, but there is some debate about how effective melatonin supplements are in raising melatonin levels in the body. For one, melatonin levels adjust in the body. The more melatonin you consume from outside sources, the less your brain produces on its own. This may eventually lead to a dependency on supplements for the right production levels in your body.

Another possible issue is that melatonin supplements are hormone therapy. The full implications of supplementing with synthetic hormones are unknown, and there could be side effects. However, most studies on melatonin supplements have shown them to be safe with few side effects.

Melatonin supplements interfere with some medications, including blood thinners, birth control pills, diabetes medication, and medications that suppress the immune system.

Other Ways to Heal Your Prostate

Prostate cancer is a condition that can be reversible- or at least stopped. A common condition that many men get when they age is an enlarged prostate, which is a prostate that is larger than it should be but does not threaten the men's health. This condition is known as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), and is far more common than actual prostate cancer.

Some research has suggested that taking the right steps can stop the spread of prostate cancer and BPH and even heal it altogether. The following 4 supplements are highly effective in treating existing prostate cancer and prostate enlargement:

Saw Palmetto

This is the most researched treatment for prostate cancer and one of the most effective. In studies of men with severe BPH, saw palmetto was shown to be more effective with fewer side effects than conventional medical treatments.

Lycopene

Lycopene has long been realized as a powerful antioxidant that can fight cancer cells. According to studies, it may be particularly helpful in fighting prostate cancer. Men who eat a large quantity of lycopene in their diet have a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.

Nettle

Nettle is a highly effective treatment for BPH and prostate cancer. In one study from 2000 conducted in Germany, it was found that nettle supplements were just as effective as conventional medications for treating BPH with fewer side effects.

Soy Isoflavones

Men who have high levels of soy products in their diet are less likely to develop prostate cancer. A 2004 study conducted in Japan found that men with the highest levels of soy in their diets were significantly less likely to have prostate cancer and other prostate problems.

Improve Prostate Health with Melatonin

Although there is not one simple miracle product you can take to cure prostate cancer, there is some evidence that melatonin levels could be a key factor in reducing your risk of prostate cancer or healing it altogether. As these studies show, melatonin may be a lot more than simply just the hormone that helps us sleep at night. More research on this issue is necessary, but it is likely that simply getting a better night’s sleep can drastically reduce your chances of having future prostate problems.

Sources


http://www.science20.com/news_articles/melatonin_may_lower_prostate_cancer_risk-128032

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/melatonin

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine

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