Melatonin is a powerful and versatile antioxidant produced within the body.
Melatonin protects both lipids and proteins against damage, and can scavenge some of the most dangerous free radicals in the body. Unlike other antioxidants, melatonin easily diffuses into all cells, and even crosses the blood-brain barrier to protect the delicate brain.
Melatonin exerts its antioxidant properties in both aqueous (water-soluble) and lipid (fat-soluble) environments of the body. It permeates all of the body’s physiological barriers and enters all of the body’s subcellular compartments and is therefore active as an antioxidant throughout the whole body, including the brain.
Melatonin’s antioxidant properties are particulary effective at quenching the following free radicals:
Melatonin’s Antioxidant properties are particularly effective against Hydroxyl Free Radicals.
Poeggeler, B., et al. Melatonin, hydroxyl radical-mediated oxidative damage, and aging: a hypothesis. Journal of Pineal Research. 14(4):151-168, 1993
Tan, D. Y., et al. Melatonin: a potent endogenous hydroxyl radical scavenger. Endocrinology J. 1:57-60, 1993
Melatonin neutralizes Peroxyl Free Radicals.
Mayo, J. C., et al. Oxidative damage to catalase induced by peroxyl radicals: functional protection by melatonin and other antioxidants. Free Radic Res. 37(5):543-545, 2003
Melatonin scavenges Peroxynitrite Free Radicals.
Zhou, J. L., et al. Melatonin reduces peroxynitrite-induced injury in aortic smooth muscle cells. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 25(2):186-190, 2004
Gupta, Y. K., et al. Neuroprotective role of melatonin in oxidative stress vulnerable brain. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 47(4):373-386, 2003
Melatonin deactivates Singlet Oxygen Free Radicals.
Cagnoli, C. M., et al. Melatonin protects neurons from singlet oxygen-induced apoptosis. Journal of Pineal Research. 18(4):222-226, 1995
Melatonin scavenges Superoxide Free Radicals.
Uchida, K., et al. Neuroprotective effects of melatonin against anoxia/aglycemia stress, as assessed by synaptic potentials and superoxide production in rat hippocampal slices. J Pineal Res. 37(4):215-222, 2004
Hardeland, R., et al. The significance of the metabolism of the neurohormone melatonin: Antioxidative protection and formation of bioactive substances. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 17(3):347-357, 1993
Reiter R. J. The role of the neurohormone melatonin as a buffer against macromolecular oxidative damage. Neurochem Int. 27(6):453-460, 1995
Reiter, R. A review of the evidence supporting melatonin’s role as an antioxidant. Journal of Pineal Research. 18(1):1-11, 1995
Reiter, R. Interactions of the pineal hormone melatonin with oxygen-centred free radicals: a brief review. Brazilian Journal of Med Biological Research. 26:1141-1155, 1993
Reiter, R. J., et al. Free radical-mediated molecular damage. Mechanisms for the protective actions of melatonin in the central nervous system. Ann NY Acad Sci. 939:200-215, 2001
Reiter, R. J., et al. Melatonin as an antioxidant: biochemical mechanisms and pathophysiological implications in humans. Acta Biochim Pol. 50(4):1129-1146, 2003
Reiter, R., et al. Melatonin as a free radical scavenger: Implications for aging and age-related diseases. Annals NY Acad Sciences. 721:1-12, 1994
Suzen S. Recent developments of melatonin related antioxidant compounds. Comb Chem High Throughput Screen. 2006 Jul;9(6):409-19
Tan, D. X., et al. Chemical and physical properties and potential mechanisms: melatonin as a broad spectrum antioxidant and free radical scavenger. Curr Top Med Chem. 2(2):181-187, 2002
Authority on melatonin: Dr. Walter Pierpaoli
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