By Nurse Mark
Could bone health be improved in seniors by getting a better night’s sleep? If that better sleep involves melatonin the answer could be “Yes”!
We have long praised the benefits of a good sleep in our HealthBeat News articles, and we have also warned of the dangers of achieving sleep with drugs – especially the newest crop of drugs known as “Z-drugs”, such as Ambien and Lunesta. Check out Sleeping Pills – It Just Gets Worse if you need to review.
Our alternatives are improved sleep “hygiene”, and supplements like magnesium, Kavinace, Lavella, and of course melatonin. For more information and suggestions review our recent article Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Your Checklist
Now according to recent research melatonin can not only help seniors get a good night’s sleep, it can also help to strengthen their bones too.
Researchers from McGill University in Canada have just this month published a paper describing their work with melatonin and aging lab rats (really – I couldn’t make this stuff up!) where they found significant improvements in bone density and strength in the animals given supplements of melatonin.
You can read the full McGill University news article here: Melatonin Makes Old Bones Stronger – but for those who want the punch line, this is what the article concludes:
The researchers found that there was a significant increase in both bone volume and density among the rats that had received melatonin supplements. As a result, it took much more force to break the bones of rats that had taken the melatonin supplements, a finding that suggests to the researchers that melatonin may prove a useful tool in combating osteoporosis.
Now, to be fair, this is not exactly “new” news – researchers have long been aware of the relationship between melatonin and the health of so-called “hard tissues” like bones and teeth. Here is what another, earlier research paper concluded:
The above analyzed data indicate that melatonin may be involved in the development of the hard tissues bone and teeth. Decreased melatonin levels may be related to bone disease and abnormality. Due to its ability of regulating bone metabolism, enhancing bone formation, promoting osseointegration of dental plant and cell and tissue protection, melatonin may used as a novel mode of therapy for augmenting bone mass in bone diseases characterized by low bone mass and increased fragility, bone defect/fracture repair and dental implant surgery.
Reference: Jie Liu, Fang Huang, and Hong-Wen He. Melatonin Effects on Hard Tissues: Bone and Tooth. Int J Mol Sci. May 2013; 14(5): 10063–10074.
Published online May 10, 2013. doi: 10.3390/ijms140510063
Indeed, a quick search of PubMed using the terms “melatonin” and ‘bone” returns hundreds of articles discussing the positive effects of melatonin on bone and dental health.
So, do you really need more reasons to supplement your melatonin and get a good night sleep?
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