Electromagnetic fields harm you by lowering melatonin - improved by Geowave

The effect of EMFs on melatonin release
Many environmental and endogenous factors can potentially affect Melatonin secretion. One of the most prominent noxae experimentally tested in a number of studies, is that the secretion of melatonin and its tumor inhibition function can be influenced by electric and magnetic fields.
Due to a US-study presented in Nov. 1997, even weak electromagnetic fields inside a normal living environment can negatively affect the release of melatonin in women in a dose-dependent manner. This kind of melatonin-decrease has been repeatedly discussed as a possible factor co-influencing the development of cancer.
“It is for the first time that we have seen influences of a comparably small change of magnetic fields on melatonin”, commented Dr. Scott Davis from the Fred Huchtinson Cancer Research Institute in Seattle/USA – his study resulted in an interview for the journal Microwave News. Dr. Richard Stevens worked together with Davis on the study (“Workshop on Electromagnetic Fields, Light-at-Night and Human Breast Cancer”, November 1997, Washington, DC.
The study of Davis and Stevens
During three subsequent nights, Davis und Stevens tested 200 women for possible effects of magnetic fields and light on the nocturnal secretion of the melatonin metabolic product 6-Hydroxy-Melatonin-Sulfate (6-OHMS) in urine.

A number of other factors that influence the production of melatonin, such as various drugs, including beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and psychotropic drugs, age, alcohol consumption, body weight and darkness of the night were also considered in the evaluation.

There was a significant reduction of 6-OHMS concentration at simultaneous exposure to magnetic fields and taking melatonin diminishing medication. A doubling of nocturnal exposure to magnetic fields has led to a reduction of 6-OHMS concentration by 8%, a tripling and quadrupling led to a reduction by 12% and 15% respectively. This influence of the magnetic fields was also observed in subgroups.
Measurement of 6-hydroxy melatonin sulphate in urine is an accepted method allowing to estimate melatonin concentration in blood. Thus, for example, Pfluger et al. (1996) from Switzerland found a significant reduction in the evening 6-OHMS values by 20% for highly professional electromagnetically polluted railway workers on the working days in comparison to their days off.
Pfluger, D. H., Minder, C. E.:
Effects of exposure to 16.7 Hz magnetic fields on urinary 6-hydroxymelatonin sulphate excretion of Swiss railway workers. J. Pineal. Res. 21, 91-100 (1996).
Weak residential magnetic fields affect melatonin in humans. Microwave News 17(6), S. 1, 4 (1997).
Double-blind studies have shown that melatonin promotes sleep and improves sleep quality.
Moreover, going into sleep and staying asleep are stimulated by melatonin.
During the mid-90s, it became known that melatonin protects cells against harmful radicals.
Melatonin also increases the cytotoxic effect of NK cells (natural killer cells) that are important in immune defense, and stimulate the immune system.
In addition, the immunosuppressive effects of cortisol may be annulled by melatonin.
Because of the cell-protecting, immune-stimulating and anti-proliferative effects of melatonin, studies were also conducted in which the substance has been used to treat cancer.
To date, there still is no evidence that melatonin increases the survival rate for cancer; however, it appears to prolong survival time of the patient.
Melatonin has a hypotensive effect and protects the heart and blood vessels through its antioxidant effects against harmful cholesterol deposits.
Until a few years ago, it was considered that the pineal gland was the only organ producing melatonin in the body.
The pineal gland has lost this privileged position when it became clear that more than 90% of melatonin found in the body is localized in the intestine. It is produced there (from special cells called the EC or enterochromaffin cells) and released mostly into the intestinal lumen. Under certain conditions, such as an increased supply of its precursor tryptophan, or during fasting, the increased melatonin synthesis in the intestine can also get into the systemic circulation. Why the gut produces so much melatonin is yet unclear. Possibly it serves (in the capacity as free radical scavengers) to protect the intestinal mucosa – which is very sensitive to irritation, infection and inflammation.
The relationship between sleep-wake rhythm and melatonin has been studied relatively well. There is a certain evidence that melatonin influences the sleep-wake cycle, and conversely, the sleep-wake rhythm influences the melatonin production. This mutual influence appears to be a rather indirect one. Apparently, temporary sleep deprivation or sleep disorders over a period of up to 5 years do result in reduced melatonin secretion. Sleeping pills may improve sleep, but from these, melatonin secretion may become more suppressed. It is also believed that melatonin can positively influence neurodegenerative processes, particularly due to its radical scavenger properties.
Melatonin is an extremely interesting hormone, because it is, to some extent, a metahormone – capable of controlling and coordinates the synthesis and secretion of other hormones, thus also playing a role in controlling and coordinating many vital body functions. Melatonin is also a very potent modulator of intracellular signal transduction. The importance of this ability in the regulation of intracellular communication in the context of aging and certain diseases is at the current state of knowledge not really possible to predict. Melatonin as a radical scavenger is principally capable to suppress radical-mediated processes and in this way, also to limit the extent of the damage caused by free radicals on cells and tissues.
Melatonin may also be produced by a variety of peripheral cells such as bone marrow cells, lymphocytes and epithelial cells (such as enterochromafin cells in the stomach and gut). Usually, the melatonin concentration in these cells is much higher than that found in the blood, but it does not seem to be regulated by the photoperiod.
Melatonin is also synthesized by various plants, such as rice, and ingested melatonin has been shown to be capable of reaching and binding to melatonin binding sites in the brains of mammals.

Recent research claims that playing video games improves some types of visual functioning. But before rushing to your computer or buying more games, consider another new research finding. Newly published results suggest that performing an exciting video display terminal task fitted with a bright display suppresses the nocturnal changes in melatonin concentration and other elements of our biological clocks. In other words, playing an exciting video game at night with a bright display backlight might just be the physiological cause of a poor night’s sleep.
Another factor affecting the human biological clock and sleep-wake cycle is thought to be increased mental activity caused by using a computer.
It has been reported that melatonin level was influenced by exercise and affective state.
For more data, also check the Medline database ( search for “effects of melatonin“, “influences melatonin“, or “inhibit melatonin“, etc.)

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