Friday, April 20, 2007
Light pollution in the US
Blindness and breast cancer
If you want 662 pages worth of reasons to take melatonin at night, do a search on the supplement at www.pubmed.gov. There's 15 pages alone on the association between melatonin and breast cancer.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland at the base of our brain when the lights are out. The more we stay up late working at our computers under bright lights, the less melatonin we produce.
I've written before about what a marvelous anti-oxidant melatonin is. Turns out, it has oncostatic (cancer-stopping) properties as well, particularly with respect to estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. One reason for this protective quality of melatonin may be that it has anti-estrogenic properties that block the stimulation of estrogen to breast tissue.
An extensive review of hospital discharge records years ago by the Centers for Disease Control found that profoundly blind women (all dark all the time) have half the risk of breast cancer compared with their sighted counterparts. Other studies have found a positive association between the degree of visual impairment and the risk of breast cancer.
My neighbors have the spotlight from hell guarding their driveway; a beacon worthy of a lighthouse that brights my bedroom into the lighted equivalent of perpetual dawn. My husband toys with shooting it out, but I'll just keep downing my melatonin. Breast cancer protection AND great dreams!