Slash breast cancer risk with a common sleep aid

I almost never talk about animal studies. (If you really want my attention, you’ve got to show me research on humans.)

But I’m going to make an exception today. Because this is too important not to share: A team of researchers recently found that melatonin can slow breast cancer tumor growth in mice.

This animal study showed that melatonin supplementation was able to block the growth of tumors and new blood vessels that support tumor growth.  (A process known as angiogenesis.)

After three weeks, mice receiving melatonin had significantly smaller tumor volume than controls, as well as less vascular growth in those tumors.

What’s more, none of the mice on melatonin suffered from weight loss or lethargy during that time period. In fact these mice seemed to have extra energy as a result.

This is really exciting stuff. Because basically, it says that melatonin supplements do exactly what chemotherapy drugs do. Without ravaging your body in the process.

Now, like most people, you might have thought melatonin was only good for one thing—as a sleep aid. But if you’ve been a reader of mine for a while, then you’ll remember that it actually does a whole lot more than that.

That’s partly because melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. (Among its other noteworthy properties.) Something I explained back in the September 2013 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives. (If you’re not a subscriber yet, consider signing up now.)

I shared some of the more impressive research behind melatonin in that issue. And not just animal studies, either. Actual human studies also show that low levels of melatonin raise breast cancer risk. And higher levels seem to slow breast tumor growth. Research also shows that supplementing with melatonin can even minimize the side effects of chemotherapy—as well as shrink tumors that won’t respond to tamoxifen treatment alone.

Is melatonin a bonafide breast cancer cure? No, it’s not. But research certainly supports its use in women struggling with the disease—or who are at high risk for it.

And especially in the wake of the news that mammograms may not prevent breast cancer deaths (which, in my opinion, is the only true indicator of whether an approach to cancer treatment is successful or not) isn’t it time to start focusing a little more on modes of prevention that do work?

Really, that’s how you should approach every facet of health. Let’s try to prevent illness—not wait until something bad happens and then worry about it.

If you’re a long-time reader of mine, then you already know how to prevent disease. Because I talk about it all the time. But it’s actually doing it—and doing it consistently—that’s the key here.

All it takes is a simple commitment. And as this research demonstrates, the rewards are immense. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re immediate. (Although you’ll probably start to feel better very quickly.) But they are life changing.

Yes, eating a donut feels really good now. But it’s not going to make you healthy. You know what will?  Exercising, not eating sugar and other refined carbohydrates, taking your supplements, and getting enough sleep.

So, please, do yourself the biggest favor of your life. Stop living with the old habits that have trapped you. And start living as a person with the future you want.



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