Welcome to Our Healing Roots, a blog exploring natural medicine that returns us to the roots of health and wellbeing. Our Healing Roots, LLC, is a private natural healthcare practice and experiential learning center that advocates the safe use of integrated, natural medicine. Many healing ways have gone by the wayside with the advent of conventional medicine. While it is important to receive professional medical advice for serious conditions, there are many things we can do at home to prevent disease and maintain our health. The Latin word for doctor is docere, which means to be a teacher. Our Healing Roots wholehearted embraces the importance of teaching in healthcare, so that people feel empowered about their health and wellbeing. More information about this business can be found at www.ourhealingroots.net.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Melatonin--Not Just for Sleep



When I mention the supplement melatonin, most people think about sleep. However, melatonin is not simply a sleep supplement. Depending on the dose used, it can have different effects. Low dose melatonin (0.3-1.0 mg) for sleep can be effective for some people. Today, I am going to discuss an important use of high dose melatonin (20-40 mg)...

Studies going back to the 1990's have suggested that melatonin can be helpful for people getting conventional cancer treatment of solid-type tumors. Please note--this is not a stand-alone treatment for cancer, nor is this appropriate for all cancer types.

There are several studies done on melatonin, but here are four studies I have come across while cleaning out my closet...

A phase II human clinical trial in 1996 looked at the conventional treatment tamoxifen in conjunction with melatonin in patients with "untreatable", metastatic solid tumors. This was a small study of 25 people. Thirteen people in the study experienced stable disease (this means that their cancer was no longer progressing). Nine people experienced improvement in their performance status. Br J Cancer. 1996 Nov; 74(9): 1466-8.

In a 1999 study, patients were randomized to receive either chemotherapy or chemotherapy + 20 mg melatonin.  This study noted a significantly higher 1-year survival rate and tumor regression rate in the group that was getting melatonin with their chemotherapy. Several side effects of the chemotherapy were also noted to be decreased. Eur J Cancer. 1999 Nov; 35(12): 1688-92.

A 2001 human study looked at 20 patients diagnosed with metastatic cancer. It was noted that levels of VEGF were decreased with melatonin supplementation. VEGF helps tumors build their blood supply. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2001:22(1): 45-7.

A 2003 human study looked at 100 patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. The patients either received chemotherapy or chemotherapy+20 mg melatonin. It was found that overall tumor regression rates and 5-year survival rates were higher in patients getting melatonin with their chemotherapy. Chemotherapy was also tolerated better with the melatonin. J Pineal Res. 2003 Aug; 35(1):12-5.

Melatonin has also been seen to help increase the effectiveness of many other cancer therapies. High dose melatonin is not for everyone. Possible side effects include sleep disruption, sleepiness, dizziness, and headaches. It is taken before bed. As always, it is recommended that you consult with your physician, pharmacist or trained healthcare profession before starting supplements, especially if you are currently undergoing cancer treatment.

If you or a friend/family member are going through cancer treatment and are interested in integrative, naturopathic support, I offer an integrative cancer program at my clinic Our Healing Roots, LLC  in Tulsa, OK and would be happy to serve you.

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