When you just can't fall asleep at night, many health professionals advise trying melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain that regulates sleep and wake cycles. It's a fact that a good night's sleep is essential for one's health and well being, but it appears now that his sleep-inducing hormone could also fight off breast cancer.
In a new study conducted at Michigan State University researchers found that when they exposed lab-grown breast tumor cells to melatonin, their growth was limited, even when they were simultaneously exposed to chemicals known to encourage cancer development. The team hopes that these results and the technique used in the study could provide valuable insight into future treatment for breast cancer. The research involved lab created breast cancer tumors called mammospheres. When these tumors were exposed to the hormone melatonin, the number and size of cancer cells decreased compared to those not treated with the hormone. This action continued to be true even when cells were simultaneously exposed to both melatonin and estrogen or BPA -- suggesting lower levels of melatonin may be related to increased risk for breast cancer, the researchers say.