X-Message-Number: 4428
From: Peter Merel <>
Subject: CRYONICS melatonin
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 00:39:00 +1000 (EST)

Robert Ettinger writes,

>[What's the scoop on melatonin]

There's been considerable traffic in sci.life-extension dealing with 
melatonin over the last year; I'll reproduce some of it here. The basic
story seems to be that melatonin supplementation in mice has been shown
to increase maximum life-span by about the same degree as calorie restriction
does - ie. about 30%. Many folks have gone right out and bought melatonin
supplements, which are available OTC in the US, but this is probably
a little premature - supplemental melatonin taken on the wrong schedule can
actually depress your melatonin levels, so it would probably be a good 
idea to wait until a time-release version of the hormone becomes available.
Apparently a number of different companies are working on such a thing.

The fact that mel. supplementation seems to have had a similar effect
to CR has got a lot of people thinking. Apparently a strict CR schedule
also bumps up mel. levels, so it may be that the benefits of CR are 
entirely due to increased mel. On the other hand, CR affect a great many
bodily functions, most especially glucose metabolism, so it may be that
the two together would be synergistic. No one seems to have the faintest
idea whether this is really so at the moment.

If you are really interested in taking the stuff, you should probably 
read the melatonin articles that VRP have at 


I think that VRP sell melatonin supplements, but their articles have a
lot of references at the end that you might use to verify their
treatment. Here's a couple of recent s.l-e clippings. I better warn
folks that I'm not a doctor, I don't take melatonin, I didn't write
what follows and I have no idea if it's true. I've been doing CR for
about 6 months, and I have no intention of bothering with mel. on a
regular basis until some more results come in.


The connection between light and melatonin is direct. Light
stimulates adrenergic (norepinephrine using) neurons which inhibit
the pineal gland. When light ceases at the end of the day, this
inhibition ends and melatonin production begins. The use of light
to delay and magnify melatonin release is effective, but time
consuming. Melatonin supplements do essentially the same thing.

SAD is probably caused by subtle shifts in the circadian rhythm
caused by seasonal variations of the photoperiod. Extending the
photoperiod by an hour in the morning or evening seems to
provide clinical relief. When using melatonin for SAD, these
subtle timing effects may be just as important. If taking
melatonin just before bed doesn't help enough, try taking it
two hours earlier. If that's not effective, try taking it an hour
after dusk.

Standard dosing is 3 mg, but individual dosages have ranged
from 0.33 mg to over 20. The most common dose is 3 or 6 mg. If you
wake up in the AM with a "lethargic" hangover, you are probably
taking too much.

I'm not sure what tanning might be doing. :-)

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