Experimental studies have suggested melatonin could block key steps in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, primarily by acting as a brain antioxidant an inhibiting the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain (a hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease). Several clinical studies suggest melatonin can block the progression of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to full-blown dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

A recent animal study suggesting melatonin also blocks key steps in the development of Lou Gehrig’s disease (also known as amytrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS), a disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and eventual death due to the failure of respiratory muscles.

A research team determined melatonin is a powerful antioxidant which blocks the release of enzymes that activate programmed cell death (apoptosis) of nerve cells involved in the development of ALS.

The researchers involved in the recent animal study stated: “We demonstrate that melatonin significantly delayed disease onset, neurological deterioration and mortality in ALS mice.” More specifically, melatonin was shown to inhibit nerve degeneration and nerve cell death of the motor nerves involved in ALS.

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