Melatonin And Confusion

jandrade1997

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So, I've been reading Dr. Peat's articles on sleep and light lately and they have me quite confused. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he thinks we should seek to minimize melatonin levels. Melatonin has been repeatedly shown to inhibit lipid peroxidation, reduce estrogen, increase ATP production, act as a powerful antioxidant, and is inversely associated with cortisol levels. These all seem like things Peat would be in favor of. The only thing I could think of him disagreeing with, is the fact that it reduces body temperature. However, lower nighttime body temperatures are more conducive to deep sleep and high body temperatures are linked with insomnia. Any thought?
 

jandrade1997

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Further, Ray Peat states that melatonin results in a shrinking of the thymus gland, but the few studies that have been done on this subject show the exact opposite. Melatonin supplementation and pineal grafting actually was highly protective against and could even reverse thymus atrophication.
 

jyb

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I'm also not clear yet about the role of melatonin, since its something we need to fall asleep hence the need to avoid blue light during night. I think RP's stance is that one should aim for the minimum sufficient for sleeping, as one doesn't need a lot and shouldn't supplement due to it being a stress.

jandrade1997 said:
However, lower nighttime body temperatures are more conducive to deep sleep and high body temperatures are linked with insomnia.

Not sure about that. If temps is low, then stress hormones will come in the keep the temperatures high enough, and these stress hormones are the ones responsible for poor sleep. High temps would mean high metabolic rate and no stress hormones. RP thinks that the higher the temp (thyroid, shower...), the deeper the sleep. And I would certainly agree with that, since days when I have hypo symptoms and low temps, and feel tired, insomnia gets worse despite needing more rest -- I sleep best if I was in good healthy ie high temps.
 
J

j.

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jandrade1997 said:
Melatonin has been repeatedly shown to inhibit lipid peroxidation, reduce estrogen, increase ATP production, act as a powerful antioxidant, and is inversely associated with cortisol levels.

Are these human studies? In the 1996 NPR Interview Peat talks extensively about melatonin and why some animal studies don't apply to humans.
 

Mittir

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There are numerous studies that show the variety of health benefits of
estrogen, serotonin and PUFA. If someone choose to believe those studies to be
true then most of Ray Peat's claims are invalid.
RP has mentioned melatonin in many of his articles and audio interviews.
It is unfair to criticize someone without knowing their complete view on
a particular topic. If you are curious you can go to raypeat.com and plug
"melatonin" in the search box and this will show all the articles with "melatonin"
in it. In another interview he explained why melatonin is a bad idea even when it is an
anti oxidant. Here is link to all the audio interview
http://www.functionalps.com/blog/2011/0 ... nterviews/

jandrade1997 said:
I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he thinks we should seek to minimize melatonin levels. Melatonin has been repeatedly shown to inhibit lipid peroxidation, reduce estrogen, increase ATP production, act as a powerful antioxidant, and is inversely associated with cortisol levels.

RP cites a study that showed melatonin increases estrogen and inhibits progesterone.
He speculated on thymus gland shrinkage based on his Lab experience and then proposed
how low thyroid, high estrogen and low progesterone can lead to this situation.
He does not cite any specific study on shrinking thymus but the possibility.
Here is the quote
Ray Peat said:
In our lab at the University of Oregon, our hamsters would try to hibernate, even though they were in temperature-controlled laboratories with regular cycles of artificial light. (The ceiling lights provided only dim illumination inside their cage boxes, so they were probably in a chronic state of light deprivation, which probably increased their sensitivity to the weak environmental cues that Frank Brown had investigated, possibly microwaves that easily penetrated the lab walls.) During the winter, when they were infertile, I found that their thymus glands practically disappeared. The mechanism seemed to include the increase of pineal gland activity (probably increasing melatonin synthesis) in the winter, under the intensified activity of the “sympathetic nervous system” (with increased activity of adrenalin and other catecholamines), and the melatonin was apparently a signal for suppressing fertility during the stressful winter. In some animals (Shvareva and Nevretdinova, 1989), estrogen is increased during hibernation, contributing to the reduction of body temperature.

In 1994 A.V. Sirotkin found that melatonin inhibits progesterone production but stimulates estrogen production, and it’s widely recognized that melatonin generally inhibits the thyroid hormones, creating an environment in which fertilization, implantation, and development of the embryo are not possible. This combination of high estrogen with low progesterone and low thyroid decreases the resistance of the organism, predisposing it to seizures and excitotoxic damage, and causing the thymus gland to atrophy.http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/aging-eyes.shtml
 

jandrade1997

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If Ray Peat rejects animal studies, why does he use one to support the idea that melatonin atrophies the thymus. The studies showing a regenerated thymus were in rats. However, the studies showing powerful antioxidant capabilities and lipid peroxidation inhibition were in human studies.  The study showing that melatonin interferes with estradiol/estrogen binding sites was in vitro. The study showing a positive correlation between melatonin and progesterone was an in vivo human study. There are two in vitro studies showing that melatonin protects granulosas and encourages progesterone production. This study shows that melatonin promotes fertility and progesterone secretion in sheep. Contrary to Ray Peats statements, the only human study on melatonin and vasoconstriction actually showed no effects of melatonin on cerebral blood flow and vasodilation, not constriction, peripherally.
 
J

j.

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jandrade1997 said:
If Ray Peat rejects animal studies, why does he use one to support the idea that melatonin atrophies the thymus.

He doesn't think some animal studies are valid for conclusions about humans. Not all animal studies.
 

jandrade1997

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Alright, the thymus gland was the only cited rat study so I'll disregard that for now. Even so, that supports the antioxidant, anti-lipid peroxidation, progesterone supporting, estrogen reducing and mitochondria supporting aspect attributed to melatonin. Seems like Peat would like all of these things.
 

AmandaWald

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ttramone said:
j. said:
jandrade1997 said:
Oh, ok. Why not rat studies?

I don't remember, he talked about it in detail in the 1996 NPR interview.

j, was it because rats are nocturnal? I vaguely remember that from the interview.

Yup, it's because they have different rhythms. We don't want to reverse our rhythms and end up nocturnal like rats.
 

jyb

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On a related note. Are lights in the household have enough blue light to reduce the melatonin in the morning and set the circadian rhythm properly? Because in winter, on a cloudy day, outside light can be dim so I wonder. What about those powerful incandescents/halogen that some of us use?

That could be a concern for those experiencing delayed sleep onset type insomnia. I often hear that it helps a lot to have a regular sleeping schedule, particularly a fixed wake up time, so maybe this is related to melatonin reset with blue light in the morning.
 

fyo

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If you google search "site:raypeat.com melatonin" he has some thoughts across a few articles.

For me, I see how melatonin derives from serotonin, I find that highly suspicious.
Melatonin also rises at night, suggesting to me its a stress-related hormone.


Stress hormones are necessary for life and will have many clinically positive effects on an animal, especially when they're under stress, and your average lab rat is under a large deal of stress (consider the 'rat park' experiment). Even cortisol can have many positive effects in the immediate term. In the long term, however, chronic stress is a killer and overall destabalizer, and the best approach I belive is to overall minimize stress and its reactions.

From what I understand, melatonin seems like a detoxifying product or a 'reaction' to serotonin. Serotonin is something I want to minimize in the first place, and lower melatonin would only come along with that.
 
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I remember reading an older article where he suggests it is helpful, to reduce serotonin I think. In every other article he is against it, though; he seems to have ruled out everything and anything that has to do with darkness.
 

jandrade1997

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I'm even more confused now. I just listened to an interview wherein Ray Peat stated melatonin is anti-serotonin. I'm very confused, how can Ray Peat be both anti-serotonin and anti-melatonin if he believes melatonin is a serotonin antagonist? Am I missing something?
 

kiran

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jandrade1997 said:
I'm even more confused now. I just listened to an interview wherein Ray Peat stated melatonin is anti-serotonin. I'm very confused, how can Ray Peat be both anti-serotonin and anti-melatonin if he believes melatonin is a serotonin antagonist? Am I missing something?

Yes, melatonin is anti-serotonergic to some extent and serotonin is converted to melatonin when you sleep, but you're better off having less serotonin to begin with. That's the impression I've got from RP.
 

natedawggh

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jandrade1997 said:
So, I've been reading Dr. Peat's articles on sleep and light lately and they have me quite confused. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he thinks we should seek to minimize melatonin levels. Melatonin has been repeatedly shown to inhibit lipid peroxidation, reduce estrogen, increase ATP production, act as a powerful antioxidant, and is inversely associated with cortisol levels. These all seem like things Peat would be in favor of. The only thing I could think of him disagreeing with, is the fact that it reduces body temperature. However, lower nighttime body temperatures are more conducive to deep sleep and high body temperatures are linked with insomnia. Any thought?

I don't understand where your ideas of melatonin are coming from or why you're so concerned about it, your body is making as much or as little as you need. It's not a vitamin. Dr peat repeatedly challenges "repeatedly shown" ideas about other substances, but Melatonin is where you draw the line? Either you listen to his logic or you don't... Take melatonin if you want and see what happens. I'm definitely not going to.
 

jandrade1997

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I don't really draw a "line" per se. I look at research and determine conclusions based off that. I'm not planning on supplementing melatonin in supra-physiological doses, of course that's harmful. However, if you wanted to minimize the stress of darkness and melatonin, you could simply shine a blue light on you all night. That, however, manifests as high cortisol, clearly a stressful situation. Research is pretty clear in melatonin's ability to restore mitochondrial respiration, which is why I'm confused that Peat dislikes it.
 
J

j.

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jandrade1997 said:
Research is pretty clear in melatonin's ability to restore mitochondrial respiration, which is why I'm confused that Peat dislikes it.

He says it can make your wee-wee smaller.

Ray Peat said:
Many health food stores are now selling melatonin, to induce sleep and "prevent cancer." They have taken some information out of context, and don't realize how dangerous melatonin is. It makes the brain sluggish, causes the sex organs to shrink, and damages immunity by shrinking the thymus gland.

USING SUNLIGHT TO SUSTAIN LIFE

Have you listened to the 1996 NPR interview where he talks about melatonin?
 
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