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Thread: Recent study on Melatonin and Scoliosis

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    Recent study on Melatonin and Scoliosis

    March 5, 2009 - Serum melatonin levels in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis prediction and prevention for curve progression – a prospective study

    From their Abstract:
    "These findings suggest that melatonin deficiency plays a role in the prognosis of idiopathic scoliosis. Therefore, melatonin supplements may prevent the progression of scoliosis, especially in mild cases with less than a 35 degree curve."

    Research on Melatonin levels and curve progression are mixed. Some find a connection, others don't. The scientists in this study collected very precise measurements in an attempt to find a pattern. Instead of testing Melatonin once or twice a day they tested it every 3 hours for a full 24 hours. Instead of testing once they did this yearly for up to 6 years. Sure enough they got a much clearer picture. In their sample all children with normal Melatonin levels and curves less than 35 degrees did not experience curve progression. All children with low Melatonin levels who took Melatonin supplements and had curves less than 35 degrees did not experience curve progression. 2 children in their control group who had low Melatonin and did not take supplements experienced rapid curve progression. Their study suggests that if a child has normal Melatonin or even low levels and takes supplements AND does not already have a large curve they should be in good shape. I hope someone tries to replicate their study but this one took 6 years and I can't wait around to find out.

    In the meantime the easiest way to increase natural Melatonin production is to "black out" your child's room. Eliminate nightlights, hall lights and all light that enters through windows. Even the smallest amount of light from an LCD will disrupt Melatonin production.

    Here is an easy to read and understand article on light and Melatonin production. There are a lot of health and science articles on this but this one gets right to the point.
    "The pineal gland needs darkness to produce the melatonin that tells your body it's time to sleep. Any light you receive at night can confuse your pineal gland and decrease your body's production of melatonin."

    Another thing that may potentially boost natural Melatonin production is fish oil (Omega 3 fatty acids).

    Dietary deficiency of Omega 3 fatty acids disturbs Melatonin rhythm in Syrian Hamsters

    Researchers found that Hamsters who were fed low levels of Omega 3 oils produced half as much peak Melatonin. Whether this translates to humans I don't know. I doubt these scientists were worried about optimal Hamster health. This was probably an inexpensive study designed to see if a human study was worth exploring.

    So how do Americans stack up compared to Omega 3 deficient Hamsters? Sadly we are in the same boat.

    University Of Maryland Medical Center article on Omega 3s

    "A healthy diet should consist of roughly 2 - 4 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 - 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, and many researchers believe this imbalance is a significant factor in the rising rate of inflammatory disorders in the United States."

    Here is one last thing you may already know. Melatonin is a Calmodulin eater and Calmodulin appears to be what triggers curve progression. This is from the latest Japanese study, "Melatonin binds to calmodulin with high affinity, thus acting as its antagonist. The inverse relationship between calmodulin and melatonin may prove important in considering the pathogenesis of idiopathic scoliosis."

    If you haven't already seen it here is another article on this phenomenon
    Platelet Calmodulin Levels in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS): A Predictor of Curve Progression and Severity?
    "It appears that increasing platelet calmodulin levels correlate closely with curve progression and severity"

    It appears that Melatonin might be a Scoliotic child's best friend. Supplements increase Melatonin levels 10 to 100 times normal levels. I'm not qualified to know if longterm use would be safe in children but as a nonscientist that doesn't sound healthy. Thankfully there are a few easy things any parent can do to increase their child's natural Melatonin production.
    Last edited by Dingo; 03-31-2009 at 11:31 AM.

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