Osteoporosis Benefits Of Melatonin Revealed

A recent study conducted at McGill University confirms that melatonin increases bone density and strengthens bone in older women. This is great news for Savers since there are several natural ways to increase melatonin levels without taking a supplement.

Today we’ll examine this study to understand how melatonin improves bone health, and we’ll also look at melatonin’s other valuable qualities. Then we’ll delve into ways to maintain desirable melatonin levels by the inclusion of certain foods and avoidance of specific substances.

So let’s begin with the study on…

Melatonin And Bone Density

Researchers at McGill University’s School of Dentistry, led by professor Faleh Tamimi, have found that bones of older rats increased in density, strength, and flexibility when given melatonin supplements.1

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, a pea-sized gland located right above the very middle of the brain. The pineal gland is inactive during the day, but when the sun sets, the darkness of night activates a special part of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which in turn signals other parts of the brain to begin the biochemical processes that prepare our bodies for sleep. Among those preparations is the activation of the pineal gland’s melatonin production.

As the melatonin levels in the bloodstream rise, we begin to feel less alert, facilitating sleep, and those levels remain elevated for about 12 hours. During the day, melatonin levels are low. This sleep-wake cycle, also called the circadian rhythm, plays an important role in health.

McGill’s experiment was conducted on twenty 22-month-old laboratory rats, divided into two randomly assigned groups. Physiologically, a 22-month-old rat is equivalent to a 60-year-old human. One group was treated for 10 weeks with melatonin, and the other group served as a control group without receiving any treatment.

At the end of the 10 weeks (which in the lifespan of a rat equates to about six human years), the rat femurs were tested by micro-computed tomography, histomorphometry, and a three-point-bending test.

Here are the results, as published in the study:

“Rats treated with melatonin had higher bone volume, bone trabecular number, trabecular thickness, and cortical thickness in comparison to the control group. Histomorphometric analyses confirmed the increase of bone volume in melatonin-treated rats. In agreement with these findings, melatonin-treated rats showed higher bone stiffness, flexural modulus, and ultimate load compared to controls.

These compelling results are the first evidence indicating that dietary melatonin supplementation is able to exert beneficial effects against age-related bone loss in old rats, improving the microstructure and biomechanical properties of aged bones.”1

While this study establishes the positive impact of melatonin on bone health, it doesn’t delve into the mechanics by which this occurs. Fortunately, our understanding of the bone remodeling process provides the information we need to uncover the reason for these results.

Melatonin, Sleep & Bone Remodeling

Sleep is an important part of the remodeling cycle of bone. In fact, studies have established a clear relationship between lack of sleep and osteoporosis. In a nutshell, lack of sleep disrupts the crucial bone remodeling process, stopping new bone formation without altering the pace of bone resorption.

Research performed on rats found that when the study subjects lacked sleep, they stopped producing new bone, but bone resorption was not affected. Their bones decreased in density and tensile strength, simply because they weren’t getting enough sleep.2

Since melatonin helps to regulate the circadian rhythm and to sleep more soundly and regularly, it facilitates building fracture-resistant bones.

But that’s not the only bone health benefit of melatonin…

Melatonin Increases Glutathione Levels

Glutathione, also known as the Master Antioxidant, offers measurable bone health benefits by turning destructive free radicals into harmless molecules. It does this by offering a spare electron to these deficient molecules that would otherwise cause harm through the theft of an electron.

Additionally, glutathione is involved in a great number of biochemical processes in the body, including a key role in the liver in detoxification reactions.3 As Savers know, the liver plays a crucial role in the elimination of toxins, which is critical for bone health.

Examining estrogen-deficient mice, researchers found that glutathione increased bone density despite the lack of estrogen. In essence, optimal glutathione levels help to bolster bone density.4

Fortunately, glutathione is an endogenous antioxidant, meaning that it is produced inside the body, so a balanced diet supports glutathione production. You can read more about three essential nutrients for glutathione production– beta-carotene, riboflavin, and magnesium– in this article.

Melatonin has been shown to increase glutathione levels, and a great many studies have linked melatonin to reductions in oxidative damage and toxicity.5

Either one of these bone benefits, sleep regulation or glutathione increase, would make melatonin an essential component of bone health; together they render this hormone an unsung hero of bone-building.

Beware Of Melatonin-Depleting Prescription Medications

Certain very popular prescription drugs have been shown to reduce melatonin levels. One study on the pineal glands of mice given psychotropic medications established a dose-dependent decrease of melatonin levels following the administration of diazepam (Valium), hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril), chlorpromazine (Thorazine, Largactil) or haloperidol (Haldol).6

The antidepressants Prozac or Celexa, benzodiazepines including Ativan or Xanax, and antipsychotics such as Abilify or Seroquel, also inhibit melatonin synthesis.

Melatonin In Foods

You can increase melatonin levels by consuming melatonin-rich foods. Should you wish to take a supplement, the Save Institute recommends the lowest possible dose.

Like so many biological imbalances, a melatonin deficiency can be addressed without taking drugs or supplements. Just look at this diverse (and delicious) list of melatonin-rich foods:

  • Tart (sour) cherries*
  • Walnuts*
  • Mustard seed
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Ginger root
  • Peanuts*
  • Rolled oats*
  • Asparagus*
  • Tomatoes*
  • Fresh mint
  • Black tea
  • Broccoli*
  • Pomegranate
  • Strawberries*
  • Bananas*
  • Brussels sprouts*
  • Green tea
  • Cucumber*
  • Sunflower seeds*

*Foundation Food

The remarkable overlap between melatonin-rich foods and Foundation Foods provides a two-for-one bone-building bonus every time you incorporate them into your meals. The complete list of Foundation Foods is longer than the one above, and the culinary possibilities they provide are endless.

You can learn more about those foods in the Save Institute’s cookbook and meal planner Bone Appétit. It contains more than 200 recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; spanning smoothies to salads, and main courses to desserts.

Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones

Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!

Learn More Now →

Isn’t it remarkable that eating better can help you sleep better? As the scientific studies we covered today show, it takes both to build strong and healthy bones.

Till next time,

References:

1Tresguerres Isabel F., Tamimi Faleh, Eimar Hazem, Barralet Jake E., Prieto Santiago, Torres Jesús, Calvo-Guirado José Luis, and Tresguerres Jesús A.F. “Melatonin Dietary Supplement as an Anti-Aging Therapy for Age-Related Bone Loss.” Rejuvenation Research. August 2014, 17(4): 341-346. Web: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/rej.2013.1542
2C. A. Everson, A. E. Folley, J. M. Toth. “Chronically inadequate sleep results in abnormal bone formation and abnormal bone marrow in rats.” Experimental Biology and Medicine, 2012; 237 (9): 1101
3Kaplowitz, N. “The importance and regulation of hepatic glutathione.” Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. Nov-Dec. 1981. 54(6): 497-502. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2596047/
4Lean, JM et al. “A crucial role for thiol antioxidants in estrogen-deficiency bone loss.” J. Clin. Invest. 112:915-923. 200
5Urata Y et. al.. “Melatonin induces gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase mediated by activator protein-1 in human vascular endothelial cells.” Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Oct;27(7-8):838-47.
6Wakabayashi H1, Shimada K, Aizawa Y, Satoh T. “Effect of psychotropic drugs on the contents of melatonin, serotonin and N-acetylserotonin in rat pineal gland.” Jpn J Pharmacol. 1989 Feb;49(2):225-34. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2733260

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21 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Barbara J Nichols November 23, 2017, 11:20 am

    As a previous commenter, I, too, would like a hard copy of your program. Sitting at a computer for hours reading your ebook seems counterproductive for my osteoporotic back.

  2. Geri November 20, 2017, 4:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing the info on Melatonin and all of the research you do! I love your website.

    Have you ever researched the use of “I-Cool for Menopause plus Omega-3′? My GYN suggested recently that I take it since it contains Genisten, which supposedly increases your bone density. He recommended taking 2 gelcaps, equally 60mg per day, but the directions say not to exceed the recommended use, which is 30mg per day. Needless to say, I only use one gelcap. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

  3. Nancy W Curtis November 18, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Need help determining how to make my nails healthy. They seem dry, break easily with peeling, raggity edges. Suggestions, please. Thx

  4. Nancy Wenderhold November 17, 2017, 5:19 pm

    I want to take advantage of your very generous offer (10 year anniversary sale @ 40% off) but I want the Save our Bones book and not the e version. Is that possible? When I went to checkout I was asked for my billing address but not my mailing address, so I am under the impression that your Save our Bones book is ONLY available as an e book. Thank you!

    • Bev November 19, 2017, 9:09 pm

      This offer is in ebook form. It used to be available to get in the mail. I bought them for my daughter and I. So many things are only available in ebook form now. It is disappointing. All my books are underlined and full of notes!

  5. Darlene November 17, 2017, 5:14 pm

    I have followed your site since just about the time you originally had the first book. I still use and follow those recommendations. I took Fosamax for 7 years and really, it didn’t do any good at all. I was constantly worried about side effects, although I had none. I have been off of it for about 4 years now. I am glad to hear this news on Melatonin because sleep is elusive for me. I was taking 5mg and waking within 1-3 hours. Then I read that if you wake up like that while taking Melatonin, you are taking too much. So I reduced to 2.5mg and am doing much better. Not as good as I need, but better. I will try to add more of the foods listed above and continue to try to reach a nightly sleep of 7-8 hours. Sleep is so important for your brain and your bones. Thanks for all your research and the way you present it by citing it so well with links. I recommend your site to friends whenever I can.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 17, 2017, 6:14 pm

      So glad to know you got off Fosamax, Darlene. And you’re very welcome!

  6. Loti November 17, 2017, 12:23 pm

    Thank you so much for everything you do to help us learn how to strengthen our bones. You gave me the courage to get off the bisphosphinates 7 years ago, and since then, my bones are increasing in density and I’m stronger than ever. I have your book and follow your diet and exercises. Keep up the good work!! I appreciate you!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 17, 2017, 12:34 pm

      And we appreciate you, Loti! Thanks so much for sharing with us such wonderful results. You too, keep up the good work 🙂

  7. Kelsey Fickling November 17, 2017, 12:21 pm

    Although I read all your emails and really enjoy them and the exercise programs I haven’t sent a comment in a long time. Thanks Vivian for all your great research etc. I’m 86 this month and thanks to you I’ve never taken drugs for osteoporosis and continue to improve my bone density. I must confess I do not exercise as much as I should these days; but I rake up my garden leaves and pick up beans as they fall from my trees daily. Many Blessings to you and your family for an enjoyable Christmas Holiday Season. Kelsey Fickling (Australia)

    • Lori November 17, 2017, 12:25 pm

      How wonderfully encouraging to hear this! Thanks for sharing.

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 17, 2017, 12:32 pm

        You’re a true inspiration to the Saver community, Kelsey! Keep in touch with us, and happy holidays!

  8. Gail November 17, 2017, 12:04 pm

    Can I purchase a hard copy of you book Bone Appetite or will I only receive a digital copy? I prefer a book. Thanks, Gail ps your daily posts are great!

    • Olga voros November 17, 2017, 12:34 pm

      I have the same question as Gail. Can I purchase the hard cover book of Osteo Cleanse?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 17, 2017, 12:30 pm

      Thanks for your kind words! To answer your question, Bone Appetit (and all of our books) are downloadable digital e-books. Of course, you can print the recipes you select individually, so you’ll have them on paper.

  9. Lynn November 17, 2017, 10:00 am

    I was hoping the book was vegan, I wanted to buy it, but it isn’t so no point. Shame.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 17, 2017, 10:36 am

      Sorry that Bone Appetit does not meet your needs, Lynn. However, Bone Appetit contains plenty of recipes that do not include meat or fish, and many others can be prepared by replacing those with vegan alternatives.

  10. Marlene November 17, 2017, 9:09 am

    Good morning Vivian,
    Thank you very much for sharing these excellent
    information.
    I’m enjoying the Bone Appetit cookbook.

    Have a wonderful day.
    Marlene

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 17, 2017, 10:31 am

      You’re very welcome, Marlene! And we’re glad you’re enjoying the recipes in Bone Appetit. 🙂

  11. Judy Schlegel November 17, 2017, 7:56 am

    For all those women who had breast cancer, estrogen receptive, my doctor said we should not take melatonin. How I wish I could!

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