X-Message-Number: 4478
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: Re: Melatonin
Date: Sun, 4 Jun 1995 18:10:29 -0700 (PDT)

Hi again!

I find I must answer Saul Kent.

Saul, as I recall my message I said that I didn't think melatonin WORKED
because it was an antioxidant. It may well be an antioxidant --- there are
lots of antioxidants. But if we are to suppose that ALL antioxidants work
against aging, we must somehow deal with the many that do not.

Ultimately, of course, we must find out how a proposed antiaging drug works by
examining that question empirically. I mean by this that we look in detail at
the chemical actions by which it prolongs life. These may or may not have to
do with its antioxidant activity. In my previous message I was only stating 
my opinion, and will bow to empirical results. But those empirical results 
must verify just how it works; it's not enough just to discover that it is an
antioxidant, again because there are many chemicals which are.

I will also provide, for what it's worth (remembering that this is only a 
hypothesis rather than a fact) my notion of why melatonin works. Basically I
think it is somehow tied up with whatever process turns off production of 
chemicals which aid our bodies in self repair and protect them from damage --
from oxidation, among other kinds of damage. The experiments on transplanted
pineal glands influence my opinion a lot. Possibly melatonin itself acts to
suppress production of these protective chemicals, and prevent activty of any
protective processes in our body. In this context it would be very interesting
to verify whether or not melatonin can extend maximum lifespan, although 
(because generally we are talking of very few animals when we discuss
maximum lifespan) any such experiment should use enough animals that the
difference in survival at high ages will be statistically significant.

			Best and long long life,

				Thomas Donaldson

PS: Incidentally, we know now that not all substances that prolong life do 
so because they act as antioxidants. Chromium picolinate gives a good 

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