Melatonin And Macular Degeneration
The hormone melatonin secreted by the pineal gland is known to maintain the inner 24 hour body clock; thereby regulating the sleep and wake up timings. The hormone is also in control of the production of female reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Medical examinations have demonstrated that children have a higher level of melatonin than older people; which means that the hormone decreases in the human body with the rise in age.
Research conducted at the National Eye Institute highlights the utility of this hormone towards the treatment of macular degeneration. This medical condition is a consequence of the thinning down and disintegration of the macula cells leading to blurredness in vision. At this stage, the disorder is referred to as dry macular degeneration, which in due course of time manifests into wet macular degeneration characterized by the development of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula and that tend to leak blood. Macular degeneration is evaluated as one of the primary causes of vision loss amongst individuals over the age of 60 years.
Although there is yet not enough evidence in favor of authenticating the positive influence of melatonin on macular degeneration, many believe that the hormone can aid in its prevention owing to its anti oxidant properties. Being a potent anti-oxidant, melatonin is believed to reduce the free radicals in the body that are formed from the disintegration of toxins and are highly destructive in nature.
Melatonin is also known to provide protection to the layer beneath the retina known as the retinal pigment epithelium that plays a significant role in regulating the quantity of light allowed to reach the photoreceptors in the retina.
The fact that the synthesis of melatonin decreases with age in human beings makes the intake of melatonin supplements crucial in protecting the retinal pigment epithelium; thereby reducing the probability of contracting macular degeneration.
The only clinical trial conducted so far with respect to this correlation is the one carried out at the the Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-Sen University in the year 2005. During this trial, patients suffering from wet and dry macular degeneration were administered a dosage of 3 milligrams of melatonin on a daily basis. The experiment highlighted a reduction in vision loss amongst the subjects in contrast to other patients.
However, long term intake of this hormone is also known to generate side effects such as vivid dreams or nightmares, drowsiness in the day time, pain in the stomach, headache, giddiness and temperamental changes. Owing to some of its severe repercussions, it is advisable to consult a professional before taking melatonin supplements for macular degeneration.
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