Melatonin & Vitamin D

This is a reprint of a recent article by Dr. Mercola.

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The Importance of Melatonin for Optimal Health

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola
February 06, 2020

Story at-a-glance

  • Your circadian rhythm is largely dictated by your pineal gland, located near the center of your brain, which produces melatonin, a hormone that is crucial for the regulation of your sleep cycle
  • Melatonin is also an important energy hormone and a potent antioxidant that appears to play an important role in cancer prevention. It also benefits your brain, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health, and has been shown to boost immune function
  • Melatonin helps protect your mitochondria, which generate energy inside your cells. Melatonin appears to be the most powerful antioxidant in this regard, as it has the ability to enter into your mitochondria. It also recharges glutathione
  • Melatonin works synergistically with vitamin D to optimize mitochondrial function. It also enhances vitamin D signaling
  • Multiple sclerosis, cancer, neuropsychiatric disorders and high blood pressure are all examples of diseases that appear strongly linked to and affected by your vitamin D and melatonin status

Sleeping well is an essential strategy to optimize your health, and at the heart of it is your circadian rhythm. This is also known as your body clock. It’s a natural, biological timer present in every one of your cells that helps your body recognize sleepiness and wakefulness over a period of 24 hours.

Your circadian rhythm is largely dictated by your pineal gland, located near the center of your brain, which produces melatonin, a hormone that is crucial for the regulation of your sleep cycle.

If you have had enough exposure to bright light in the daytime, your pineal gland typically starts secreting melatonin around 9 p.m.1 As the amount of melatonin in your brain increases, sleepiness sets in as your body begins to prepare for sleep.

If you stay awake past dark, artificial light — especially that emitted by electronic devices — will inhibit your body’s melatonin production, so, ideally, you would stop using electronics at least an hour or two before bedtime to help increase melatonin production and maintain a steady circadian rhythm.

Melatonin Does More Than Control Sleep

While melatonin works as a natural sleep regulator, its biological effects don’t end there.2 It’s also a potent antioxidant3 that plays an important role in cancer prevention.4 It’s also thought to be important for brain, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health,5 and has been shown to boost your immune function in a variety of ways.

In one study,6 researchers suggested melatonin may even improve the treatment of bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis. In another, melatonin was identified as a potential tool against inflammation and autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 diabetes.7

Melatonin is also an important energy hormone. As noted in the Stanford University course paper “Melatonin and Energy Levels:”8

“… decreasing the melatonin in the blood stream, consistent with the body’s natural response to suppress the secretion in the presence of light, causes the body to function at a higher energy level … An increase in the melatonin levels leads to a subsequent decrease in energy levels.

As such, understanding how to control and optimize the secretion and suppression of the melatonin for optimal hours of the day could help improve the treatment of sleep disorders and positively impact the energy levels of individuals.”

In short, if your sleep efficiency is impaired, meaning you’re not sleeping as deeply as you should, for as long as is ideal, then your energy level is going to be adversely affected.

Conversely, spending most of your daytime hours in poorly lit rooms, especially if you’re also exposed to excessive light after sunset, can impair your melatonin production, causing you to not sleep well.

Melatonin Protects Your Mitochondria

Importantly, the antioxidant activity of melatonin also helps protect your mitochondria, the tiny organelles inside your cells that generate most of the ATP or energy currency of your body. As noted in a 2007 paper in the Frontiers of Bioscience:9

“Melatonin is an ancient molecule present in unicellular organisms at the very early moment of life … The best-known actions of melatonin, currently supported by experimental and clinical data, include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, some of them involving genomic regulation of a series of enzymes.

Besides, melatonin displays anticonvulsant and antiexcitotoxic properties. Most of the beneficial consequences resulting from melatonin administration may depend on its effects on mitochondrial physiology.”

In fact, melatonin appears to be the most powerful antioxidant in this regard, as it has the ability to actually enter into your mitochondria.10 This is an ability that not all antioxidants have. According to this Frontiers of Bioscience paper,11 melatonin helps “prevent mitochondrial impairment, energy failure and apoptosis in oxidatively-damaged mitochondria.”

One of the things that makes melatonin so powerful is that it doesn’t just act as an antioxidant in and of itself; it also interacts with your body’s innate antioxidant system where it recharges glutathione.12 However, this brings us back to the importance of sleep.

Since melatonin is only released in response to darkness, and is easily and significantly inhibited by light (such as regular room lighting and electronic screens, after dark), your mitochondrial health will suffer if you do not take steps to optimize your sleep.

Aside from worsening your sleep quality and decreasing your sleep quantity, low melatonin production also increases oxidative stress, speeds up the aging process and raises your risk of degenerative diseases and chronic fatigue, thanks to its influence over your mitochondria.

Melatonin Works Synergistically With Vitamin D

In my February 2, 2020, article “The Importance of Vitamin D for Optimal Sleep,” which features my interview with neurologist and sleep coach Dr. Stasha Gominak, I review the hidden influence vitamin D has on your sleep.

A paper13 that will be published in the May 2020 issue of The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology — which I was able to review early, parts of which I’m sharing with you here — sheds further light on this connection. Not only does melatonin enhance vitamin D signaling, the two molecules act synergistically to optimize your mitochondrial function.

As noted in this paper,14 “The biosynthetic pathways of vitamin D and melatonin are inversely related relative to sun exposure,” meaning both are dependent on properly timed exposure to the sun.

A hypothesis presented by the researchers is that vitamin D and melatonin “play an essential role as modulators of mitochondrial function and adaptation to circadian and seasonal variations.”

Additionally, “both molecules are involved in the homeostatic functioning of the mitochondria,” the authors point out, stressing that the mitochondria are, in fact, “the final common target for melatonin and vitamin D.” Furthermore:

“A deficiency of these molecules has been associated with the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, including arterial hypertension, neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, kidney diseases, cancer, psychiatric disorders, bone diseases, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, among others.

During aging, the intake and cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D, as well as the endogenous synthesis of melatonin are remarkably depleted, therefore, producing a state characterized by an increase of oxidative stress, inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction …

Mitochondrial dysfunction has been related to the etiologies of many complex diseases where overactivation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), vitamin D deficiency and the reduction of melatonin synthesis converge.

In this sense, experimental and clinical evidence indicates that inflammation, oxidative stress, as in mitochondrial dysfunction, are consistent with low levels of melatonin and vitamin D, and also represent risk factors connected with development and maintenance of prevalent acute and chronic pathologies.”

Melatonin-Vitamin D Combo Produces Strong Synergistic Effects

According to the 2020 paper in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,15 multiple sclerosis, cancer, neuropsychiatric disorders and high blood pressure are all examples of diseases that appear strongly linked to and affected by your vitamin D and melatonin status.

Interestingly, a 2012 study16 pointed out melatonin is “an overlooked factor in schizophrenia and in the inhibition of antipsychotic side effects.” Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to a higher risk of schizophrenia,17,18 especially when levels are low during development.19

When combined in treatment, melatonin and vitamin D produce strong synergistic effects against cancer. Two separate studies20,21 have demonstrated the combination induces apoptosis and inhibits growth and division of breast cancer cells. In one of them, the combination resulted in “an almost complete cell growth arrest at 144 hours.”22

These effects were attributed (at least in part) to enhanced release of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1), a type of cytokine that controls cell growth, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Melatonin in combination with vitamin D has also been shown to protect against apoptotic ischemia-reperfusion injury in the kidney.23

Simple Ways to Optimize Your Melatonin and Vitamin D

The evidence suggests optimizing your melatonin production by making sure you sleep well at night may be a hidden key to maintaining mitochondrial health, which in turn is paramount for longevity and the prevention of virtually all chronic health problems.

However, while there are likely many benefits to supplementing with vitamin D and melatonin, it makes no sense to do so unless you are seeking to optimize your body’s own production.

The good news is it’s relatively simple and inexpensive to increase your melatonin and vitamin D levels. To optimize your vitamin D, I recommend getting sensible sun exposure on large portions of your body on a regular basis, ideally daily.

For further guidance, see “The Risks and Benefits of Sun Exposure.” If for whatever reason you cannot get sufficient amounts of sun exposure, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement (along with a little extra vitamin K2 to maintain a healthy ratio between these two nutrients).

I personally have not taken any oral vitamin D for well over 10 years and my levels are typically over 70 ng/mL, even in the winter, but I have started taking sublingual melatonin as I am now older than 65, and believe there are benefits for such, even though I sleep in pitch dark and get bright sun exposure around 85% of the time during the day.

Optimizing your melatonin production starts with getting plenty of bright sunlight during the day, as this helps “set” your circadian clock. Then, as the evening wears on and the sun sets, you’ll want to avoid bright lighting.

Blue light from electronic screens and LED light bulbs is particularly problematic and inhibits melatonin the most. If you need lighting, opt for incandescent light bulbs, candles or salt lamps. The blue light from electronic screens can be counteracted by installing blue-blocking software such as Iris,24 or wearing blue-blocking glasses.

Additionally, an interesting paper25 in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, published in 2017, highlights the usefulness of time-restricted eating to improve your sleep cycle. As noted in this paper:

“The robustness of the circadian clock deteriorates with aging. Two new studies show that aging reprograms the circadian transcriptome in a cell-type-dependent manner and that such rewiring can be reversed by caloric restriction …

Surprisingly, the expression of core clock genes and clock-controlled genes remained unchanged with aging, despite the drastic circadian reprogramming. Thus, the core clock machinery remains largely intact in old age, giving hope for the prospect of reversing aging-associated circadian reprogramming to potentially improve physiological functions.

Indeed, CR-induced robust reprogramming of the circadian transcriptome partially overlaps with the circadian transcriptome in young mice. Thus, the profound physiological impact of CR may be, in part, mediated by the reprogramming of the circadian clock …

Given that aging-associated accumulation of DNA damage in stem cells originates from exposure to mitochondrial stress and that the mitochondrial protective programs are repressed in aged adult stem cells, it is tempting to speculate that reactivating the mitochondrial protective programs may provide a means to reduce the accumulation of cellular damage and reverse aging-associated circadian reprogramming.”Sources and References

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Vitamin D deficiency plays a roll in Myopia and Glaucoma

Once again the information we are given regarding Sunblock Creams come into question. Biased towards the cosmetic industry and scaring everyone thinking that sunlight causes Malignant Melanomas.

We need Vit. D from sunlight on our skins to be healthy !!

They need to be exposed same as the food industry was for the high carb low fat misinformation that we were fed for so many years.

I’m refering to the article “Associations of vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D receptor (Cdx-2, Fok I, Bsm I and Taq I) polymorphisms with the risk of primary open-angle glaucoma” by Lv et al. in the BMC Ophthalmology (2016) 16:116
DOI 10.1186/s12886-016-0289-y

The shortage of vit. D does play a significant causative roll in high myopia and primary open angle glaucoma.

“Vitamin D deficiency and the presence of the BsmI ‘B’ allele and the TaqI ‘t’ allele are relevant risk factors in the development of glaucoma.” as stated by Lv et al in the above mentioned article.

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Milk allergy, really !! Think again …..

Milk allergy, really !! Think again …..

“Commercial milk” is  a synthetic “milk derivative” and not “real milk” at all.

You may mistakenly believe that you’re lactose intolerant when the effects could actually be a response to the casein A1 in the milk. In an ideal world, the best milk to drink is raw milk from organic, grass fed, casein A2-producing cows.

A2 milk

Guernsey Cow producing A2 milk

Many of the 1-in-4 people who exhibit symptoms of lactose intolerance might instead be unable to digest the A1 casein. 40% of people that are sensitive to dairy, are also sensitive to soy, so switching to soy is not the answer. While many people find that they need to go on a gluten-free, casein-free diet, it is worthwhile to consider the information that Dr. Woodford presented in his book, Devil in the Milk in 2007. The problem with milk may not be milk itself, but rather the type of milk we, are consuming.

Casein A2 is the normal protein in milk. It is present in milk from buffalo, goats, sheep and some breeds of cows. Unfortunately, most cows today produce casein A1, and not A2. The majority of store-bought milk is A1, even if it’s organic.

Although sheep and goat milk do not have the same benefits as cow milk and are often grain-fed, their milk is free of beta-casein A1. Truly fermented dairy (such as Amasi) can heal the gut, strengthen immune function, and cleanse the body of toxic materials.

A1 was never in the original composition of cows milk. A mutation occured many centuries ago and the proline at position 67 was replaced by histidine, the mutation subsequently spread widely throughout herds in the western world through breeding. Not only is the exogenous opioid peptide not supposed to be in milk, its also a BCM7 carrier, up to four times the amount we can handle. BCM7 may play a role in the aetiology of many human diseases, such a sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), autism, schizophrenia, type I diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune disorders.  Fortunately people with healthy digestive tracts do not absorb as much BCM-7.

The percentage A1 and A2 beta-casein protein in milk varies between herds of cattle, and also between countries. Guernsey cows, ancient cattle breeds such as the African zebu cattle (Bos taurus indicus) and Asian cattle  produce milk with predominantly A2 protein. Holstein cow milk should be avoided because they produce mainly casein A1 and Ayrshires produce between 46 and 70 percent A1 milk. The A1 version of the protein is common among cattle in the western world of Europe (excluding France), the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

        

Beta-casein is a long chain of amino acids – 229 to be exact. In ancient cattle breeds, an amino acid in this long chain of amino acids called proline is number 67  This protein found in ancient breeds of cattle is called beta-casein A2. Centuries ago, a mutation happened in this long chain of amino acids. When the mutation occurred, an amino acid called histidine replaced proline. This new protein is called beta-casein A1. In both beta-casein A1 and A2, there is a side chain amino acid that comes off amino acid 67. This side chain amino acid is called BCM7. BCM7 is a powerful opiate and responsible for much of the grief related to current milk consumption in the western world. This also includes minor irritations, such as BCM7’s ability to bind to mucous membranes in the nose and stimulate mucous secretions. BCM7 is less likely to be absorbed by those with a healthy gut. In older breeds of cattle that have the beta-casein A2 structure, the opiate is far less likely to become free in the body than with Beta-casein A1, which has a weak bond to this dangerous opiate called BCM7. Biochemically, histidine simply cannot hold on to BCM7 for very long and much of BCM7 gets into our bloodstream, especially in those who have a “leaky” gut. The absorption of BCM7 causes all sorts of changes in the immune system, the blood vessels, and in the brain.

Jerseys & Holsteins give A1 milk

Zebu & Asian give A2 milk

In our modern world we have over worked, over drugged cows trying to keep up with supply & demand  It is not natural for cows to be in perpetual lactation with the help of hormones & drugs  A cow was never meant to produce 75 times the amount of milk that its naturally designed to make.

So, don’t be too quick too hasty to label yourself as lactose or gluten intolerant, or even allergic to milk. Look at where the milk comes from ……it must be A2 milk. Even if you are 100% healthy, stay away from A1 milk, get A2 and try to get “real”  milk from the correct breeds of grass fed cattle such as Guernsey cows.

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