Melatonin’s Anti-Stress and Anti-Cancer Effects

Collectively we can all agree that the world is under an enormous amount of stress, so I’m going to shine a light on the affordable supplement melatonin that we should all be exploring. I love high doses of melatonin, it’s anti-cancer, anti-stress effects and role in diminishing estrogen dominance while elevating the function of the pineal gland is all backed by science.

Melatonin is the major hormone responsible for regulating sleep and was first isolated by Dr. Aaron B. Lerner of Yale University, New Haven, in 1958. Initially known as a regulator of circadian rhythms (i.e., the influence of the time of day on physiology), melatonin has also been shown to function as anticancer activity through at least five different mechanisms. These include:

1) an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells

2) stimulation of anticancer immunity

3) changes in the expression of cancer-prone genes called oncogene

4) powerful antioxidant

5) anti-angiogenic effects

Paolo Lissoni, MD, who is the chief of oncology at a large Italian state hospital in Monza, outside Milan, has described cancer as an “immune-endocrine disorder.” Lissoni is the author of over 250 peer-reviewed, PubMed-listed articles, 33 of which are randomized controlled trials.

When patients are in a state of immune suppression, Lissoni says they can’t dismantle their cancer cells. Most patients with advanced cancer have clear deficiencies of immunological function. Typically, they register low levels of the anti-cancer cytokine, interleukin-2 (IL-2), while simultaneously exhibiting an increase in levels of pro- inflammatory IL-6 and IL-10. They also frequently have reduced functioning of the pineal gland and a decrease in production of its characteristic peptide hormone, melatonin.

Dr. Lissoni has demonstrated that under experimental conditions, this neuroendocrine disorder actually precedes the development of clinical cancer. Every condition that diminishes the healthy functioning of the pineal gland and its output of melatonin, he says, thereby increases the risk of cancer. When asked about causes of this malfunction of the “master gland,” and therefore of cancer itself, Dr. Lissoni singled out electromagnetic field emissions; chronic emotional stress; and mental depression. Such malfunctions, he told me, almost always have significance in regard to the development of cancer.

The basis of Lissoni’s research approach has been to restore a state of health by using the same biologically active substances that are diminished in the cancerous state. He has experimented with many potentially useful agents such as IL-2, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), naltrexone, and L-carnitine. However, the major focus of his work for almost two decades has been the pineal hormones, of which melatonin is the best known.