Several studies suggest that there could be a connection between melatonin and cancer. Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps in regulating sleep. It appears that melatonin also influences the other hormones in the body. Today, melatonin supplements are very popular as natural sleep aids. Melatonin has also been studied to see its effect on cancer. There are still speculations on whether it can protect against cancer cells by preventing the growth of tumors.
Melatonin and Breast Cancer
The researchers at Harvard evaluated 147 people that suffer from breast cancer and 291 people without cancer. They took urine samples to measure melatonin levels through a melatonin byproduct called 6-sulphatoxymelatonin. The research concluded that women with the highest melatonin levels are at low risk of getting cancer.
Researchers at McMaster University in Canada did a review of studies about the effect of melatonin on the survival rate of people suffering from solid tumor cancer. They were able to analyze 10 studies that were published between the years 1992 and 2003. Researchers reported that melatonin reduced the risk of death from any type of cancer. There were no serious or adverse melatonin side effects reported.
The researchers gave a conclusion that while Melatonin is a promising treatment, there is still a need for well-designed studies to further evaluate the safety and effectiveness of Melatonin for cancer.
Spanish researchers used melatonin as a form of treatment for rats that have advanced and untreated breast tumors. Melatonin supplements were given daily and it increased the survival rate in animals. They concluded that melatonin is beneficial for the treatment of advance breast cancer because it can increase survival time.
Although the results are very promising, there is not enough evidence to determine whether melatonin is effective and safe and if melatonin can decrease the effectiveness of anti-cancer medications.
Studies at the University of Texas Medical Branch showed that “melatonin significantly increased the latency period of the tumor, by delaying the appearance of the tumor”
According to the American Cancer Society: “A National Institute of Health panel found evidence that regular meditation can also reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome, and increase longevity and quality of life. The same study found that those who meditated had a better immune response than those who did not meditate.”
Melatonin and Cancer References:
- Mills E, Wu P, Seely D, Guyatt G. “Melatonin in the treatment of cancer: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and meta-analysis.” J Pineal Res. 2005 Nov:39(4):360-6.
- Saez MC, Barriga C, Garcia JJ, Rodriguez AB, Masot J, Duran E, Ortega E.” Melatonin increases the survival time of animals with untreated mammary tumors: Neuroendocrine stabilization.” Mol Cell Biochem. 2005:278(1-2):15-20.
- Schernhammer ES, Hankinson SE. “Cancer Inst. Urinary melatonin levels and breast cancer risk.” 2005 Jul 20;97(14):1084-7.