Be Wary Of Some Melatonin Ads
Scientists say older consumers
should be wary of melatonin ads based on the premise that as we age, the
hormone decreases in our system.
Results of a new study fly in the face of this notion, they say. In the
study, Dr. Charles Czeisler and colleagues at Harvard Medical School and
Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston studied 34 healthy men and women
ranging in age from 65 to 81.
They found their night-time melatonin levels did not differ significantly
from those of 98 men in the 18 to 30 age range. The five- year study appears
in the American Journal of Medicine.
"In our analysis, we did not find any statistically significant
difference in night-time melatonin concentrations between the young and
older subjects, although our study does not address whether melatonin levels
change after the eighth decade," Czeisler said.
"This means that in most healthy people, concentrations of melatonin in
plasma probably do not decline with aging." Melatonin is secreted by the
pineal gland, deep within the brain.
The hormone may be a natural sleep inducer. It is produced at high levels
during a person's normal sleeping hours and is low during the day. A number
of factors, including light and many common medications, can affect