Melatonin and Lifespan

Jo Robinson jor at teleport.com
Fri Dec 1 17:47:25 EST 1995


H.O.van.den.Berg at Inter.NL.net wrote:
: katel at mv.mv.com (Katharine Lindner) wrote:
: >
: > a_kowald at chemie.fu-berlin.de (Axel Kowald) writes:
: > 
: Well,

: How can we be so sure that young people need a lower dose. 
: After all, they age too in the years from 20 to 30, when
: Melatonin production is at its peak.

	** Interestingly, melatonin levels peak around age 2 or 3, remain
high until pre-adolescence, and then begin a steep delince.  There are 
some fascinating studies suggesting that this rapid decline in
melatonin production just before puberty actually allows puberty to
take place.  Children that have unusually low levels of melatonin for
their age have entered puberty as young as 3 years of age. Correspond-
ingly, adolescents with unusually high melatonin levels have failed
to enter puberty until their mid-twenties.  IT could be that having
the appropriate amount of melatonin at the right stage of life is
essential for the normal development of the reproductive system.(This
is one of the reasons that we advise that children not be given melatonin
except under the close supervision of a physician.)
	[Some references: "Brief Report: Melatonin-related hypo-
gonadotropic hypogonadism." R. J. Reiter. New England J. of Medicine
 1992; 357:1256-59;  "Serum melatonin levels in precocious puberty..."
J. Clinical and Endocrinal Metabolism 1991; 73:793-96.]
	Now -- should "aging" 20-30 year olds take melatonin?  It's
a matter of benefit and risk.  There are unknown risks to taking melatonin
for prolonged periods of time --  precisely because no one has done it
before.  Those of us 40 and older are well into the aging process (come on,
admit it) which, to some of us, increases the benefit to risk ratio. 


: And I don't suppose any of the test animals got an age-dependent 
: dose, or did they ?
	** Not to my knowledge.  What is surprising is that in the anti-
aging experiments in which rodents have been given melatonin in their
drinking water, doses from a low of 10 ug/l up to 4 mg./l have all
had an anti-aging effect. The optimum anti-aging dose is far from 
determined.

Jo, coauthor, Melatonin: Your Body's Natural Wonder Drug (Bantam 1995)

For a Melatonin FAQ, go to http://www.teleport.com/~jor--
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