Italy is known for it’s food and fashion but who would have guessed they’d also have the jump on helping women potentially eliminate menopause and it’s associate symptoms using a common over-the-counter supplement – melatonin.
This is great news for all women, and a huge relief to those trying to decide which side effects to gamble on as a result of only knowing about traditional prescription drug therapies.
A six month watershed study conducted by the Menopause Center at the Madonna Del Grazie Health Institute in Rome Italy, identified a clear relationship between nocturnal melatonin production, a hormone that makes us sleepy, and menopause.
Female subjects between the ages of 42 and 62 were given either a melatonin supplement or a placebo each night for six months. The subjects were either in the stages of perimenopause and experiencing missed menstrual cycles or post menopause and their menstrual cycles had ceased entirely.
Over the course of the six-month study an amazing thing occurred. The subjects who received the daily melatonin supplement resumed menstrual cyclicity. Yes even the women who were post menopausal regained their menstrual cycles.
Symptoms typically associated with menopause such as depression, sleep disorders, hot flushes, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, appetite disorders and tremors related to anxiety and depression were remarkably reversed or significantly improved.
Natural hormone levels were restored to youthful levels and the women receiving the melatonin became fertile again.
These results are nothing short of remarkable. While this is just a single study and should be viewed with that in mind, the potential ramifications are profound. If in fact the chicken-and-egg relationship between the onset of menopause and melatonin are the opposite as previously thought – that it is the reduction in melatonin that heralds the onset of menopause and not the reverse – then by simply supplementing with melatonin may completely reverse menopause. At least that is what the results of this study are pointing to.
This would most likely eliminate the need for hormone replacement therapy entirely as a transitional step to menopause since women would continue to produce youthful levels of hormones on their own. It would also greatly impact several segments of the pharmaceutical industry – anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and non-hormonal osteoporosis drugs that are now being hawked by celebrities like Sally Fields.
Imagine a world where women no longer have to fear fragile bones, or that their careers will be interrupted by the lack of energy or mental clarity suffered during menopause. How about mothers regularly giving birth at 75? Perhaps this will be a reality in the near future. We’ll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime what will be more interesting is how physicians handle this news. This study was published in December of 2005. Will it be repressed or discounted? Remember, melatonin is an over-the-counter sleep aid and doesn’t require a prescription. The pharmaceutical industry wont profit from this potentially wonderful discovery. That is unless they address it as they did the cholesterol-lowering effects of the common B vitamin - Niacin. They created an extended release version of an already perfect over-the-counter supplement called NiaSpan™ so that physicians would have something to prescribe. Most physicians are reluctant to recommend over-the-counter supplements citing purity is not guaranteed.
You’ll have to educate yourself about your options when addressing menopause. Melatonin may prove to be a valuable aid for some women and may be worth examining for those of you beginning to see the symptoms of menopause.
NiaSpan™ is a Registered Trademark of the KOS Pharmaceutical Company