Today, I have some unbelievably good news about the hormone melatonin. Everybody seems to think of melatonin as a sleep aid and a remedy to help with jet lag. But there is so much more to this incredible hormone. For example, did you know that melatonin may be the best remedy there is for the prevention and treatment of macular degeneration?
What happens as you get older? Do your hormone levels increase or decrease? The answer is obvious, they decrease. And what happens to your body as it gets older? Does it get stronger or does it tend to break down? The answer once again is obvious. But hormones are one of the most potent ways that the body maintains its strength and integrity. So do you not expect that there is probably some relationship between sagging hormone levels and sagging body performance? Of course there is. And melatonin is no exception.
The older we get, the worse our vision becomes. And the greater the level of retinal deterioration that our eye doctors are going to see when they take a close look at our retinas. These changes might be because as we get older our production of melatonin decreases. And melatonin is known to affect our vision. For one, melatonin acts to control eye pigmentation. And thus it regulates the amount of light reaching the photoreceptors in the retina. It is also the strongest antioxidant in the human body. And because of this, it is one of the most powerful ways our retinal cells have to protect themselves from the free radical damage that happens with aging.
So knowing all this, scientists set about to discover what effect taking a regular supplement of melatonin might have on macular degeneration. They looked at 100 men and women with macular degeneration. They included both dry and wet cases of macular degeneration. For six months, they gave all of the patients 3 mg of melatonin to take every night. The results were astounding for such a short period of time.
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First of all, none of the patients had a decline in visual acuity during the six months. Second, and more amazing was the fact that when they examined the retinas, the majority of the patients had a reduction in the abnormalities that they saw on their retinas initially. The authors of the study put it this way, "The change of the fundus picture [retinal examination] was remarkable. Only eight eyes showed more retinal bleeding and six eyes more retinal exudates. The majority had reduced pathologic macular changes." They also noted that no significant side effects were seen. The results of this study are amazing for several reasons.
First, the dose was small. In my practice, I often find it necessary to use doses 5-10 times greater than that. So one has to wonder how much better the results might have been with even higher doses. By the way, melatonin is one of the most interesting hormones there is. There seems to be no toxicity even with doses in the order of 1-200 mg per day. And unlike with other hormones, there is no suppression of natural production when you use very high doses.
Second, melatonin is so valuable for so many other conditions of aging, including cancer prevention, immune stimulation, infection prevention, diabetes prevention, depression, cardiovascular diseases, sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal reflux disease, and, of course, sleep problems. So here's my advice.
If you are over 65, have an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) take a good look at your retina. Ask him if he sees any drusen, pigment, or exudative changes on the retina. Drusen are yellow or whitish spots that appear on the retina. They are an early sign of macular degeneration. Be sure to tell him you want to know not what is normal for your age, but whether or not your retina is completely normal or not compared to the average healthy young person. Here's why.
I had a 61-year-old man come in the clinic the other day. He was complaining that his vision was not what it used to be. So he went to an eye doctor who examined him and said he was normal. But he was not normal. When I reviewed the doctor's notes, the man had early signs of macular degeneration. Now why in the world didn't that doctor tell my patient the truth? It was for two reasons. One, for his age, early signs of macular degeneration are the norm. And two, his doctor had nothing to offer for the problem. The conventional wisdom is just to wait until the vision becomes seriously compromised and then start some sort of drug therapy. I think we can all agree that this approach makes no sense at all, especially when there are so many natural things that you can do.
So if your doctor tells you that all is well, just make sure that all really is well. And if so, great! But if not, then it's time to do something, and not just sit around and wait. I would take 3 mg of melatonin at bedtime along with Advanced Vision Formula. Remember that the melatonin was not 100% effective in this trial. So there are also other factors. Advanced Vision Formula contains other nutrients that have also been shown to prevent macular degeneration.
After 12 months, have your eyes checked again just to make sure that the original signs of macular degeneration are going away. And even if your eye exam is completely normal, because of all of the other anti-aging effects of melatonin, I would suggest you take 3 mg every night anyway.
Yours for better health,