How an insomnia cure could change the face of breast cancer treatment

In my business, it’s rare for a treatment to have just one benefit. Unlike Big Pharma, which makes endless piles of money off of synthetic one-trick ponies, Nature is a bit of a multi-tasker when it comes to providing solutions.iStock_000017462311_Medium

And melatonin is just one shining example of this talent.

You might know it as the sleep hormone. Melatonin originates in your pineal gland as a response to darkness. And it plays a critical role in regulating your circadian rhythms—the technical term for your body’s sleep/wake cycles.

But that’s hardly all it does. And the recently published research I want to share with you today offers an important reminder of just how many benefits melatonin has to offer.

As part of this study, researchers assigned mice with triple negative breast cancer—one of the hardest breast cancers to treat—to two different groups. One group received melatonin an hour before lights out every night for 21 days. The other group served as a control.

After just 21 days of treatment, tomography showed that the mice receiving melatonin had significantly smaller tumors. And those tumors showed less blood vessel growth too. (Blood vessel growth is technically known as angiogenesis, and it’s one of the main ways cancer feeds itself.)

Of course, these results were in mice, not humans. So you might be tempted to take them with a grain of salt. (I most certainly would.)

But this new study is just the latest installment in a growing body of research linking melatonin to breast cancer prevention. In fact, you might remember me sharing some of the findings in this field in the September 2013 issue.

Among other discoveries, researchers have found that low levels of melatonin are linked to breast cancer development. And higher levels appear to slow breast tumor growth. Supplementation may also help buffer your body from some of chemotherapy’s less desirable side effects. (Not to mention shrink tumors in women who weren’t seeing results with tamoxifen treatment alone.)

The takeaway here? You don’t have to be an insomniac to benefit from extra melatonin.

I recommend a starting dose of 3 mg of melatonin at bedtime. Feel free to experiment over time in order to find the dosage that works best for you—up to 15 mg a night is perfectly safe.

Reference:

1.“Effect of Melatonin on Tumor Growth and Angiogenesis in Xenograft Model of Breast Cancer.” PLoS One. 2014 Jan 9;9(1):e85311.


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