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STUDY: Melatonin could help treat multiple sclerosis

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  • STUDY: Melatonin could help treat multiple sclerosis

    This was just published in the Journal Science. Interesting. Maybe it's not just the heat that causes more issues in the spring and summer. - Dave

    Melatonin could help treat MS
    By Hanae Armitage 10 September 2015 12:00 pm

    Insomniacs and world travelers alike use melatonin—a hormone that regulates the body’s internal clock—to help them fall asleep and get some extra shuteye. Now, a new study shows that the “sleep hormone” may also give relief to patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a debilitating neurological disorder that can quickly morph from remission into attacks that last days, months, or even years.

    MS is a rare disease in which the body’s own immune cells attack neurons by eating away at their protective, fatty layer. This layer—the “myelin sheath”—insulates the part of the neuron that transmits signals, just like flexible plastic protects telephone cables. In MS patients, the damaged sheath disables cell-to-cell communication, knocking out vision, balance, and muscle coordination, while impairing thinking and memory. The root cause of MS is still unknown, and scientists suspect that environmental factors like low vitamin D, obesity, and viral infections could contribute.

    Another environmental factor could be changes in the seasons. Mauricio Farez, a neurologist at the Raúl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research in Buenos Aires, and colleagues suspected as much when they noticed that fewer MS flare-ups took place in the fall and winter—the time of year that melatonin production is at its peak.

    Melatonin levels depend on sunlight exposure, so seasonal changes cause the hormone to fluctuate; less sunlight in the fall and winter increases melatonin, whereas more sunlight during spring and summer decreases it.

    To test the “seasonal” effect of melatonin on MS patients, the researchers monitored 139 MS patients for a year, tracking relapse rates and levels of a small molecule in melatonin called 6-SM. They saw that during fall and winter, patients’ relapse rates were 32% lower than the rest of the year, when melatonin levels naturally dip.

    Full Article:
    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    Thanks Dave ! One more thing to pick up at whole foods!