The January 19 2004 rapid access issue of Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, published the results of a study conducted at the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research in Amsterdam, which found that hypertensive men taking the hormone melatonin experienced reduced nighttime blood pressure. Melatonin is a hormone involved in circadian rhythms produced by the pineal gland in the brain, and is taken as a safe over the counter sleep remedy by numerous individuals.
Sixteen men with untreated essential hypertension were administered 2.5 milligrams melatonin or a placebo one hour before sleep for three weeks, and the results were compared to those obtained when melatonin was given for one day only. In those who received the longer melatonin treatment, ystolic blood pressure dropped by 6 millimeters of mercury and diastolic blood pressure was reduced by 4 millimeters Melatonin given in one single dose only had no effect on blood pressure. Additionally, the group who received melatonin reported an improvement in sleep.
Lead author Frank A.J.L. Scheer , PhD, who is a neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and at Harvard Medical School’s division of sleep medicine, commented, “It has been reported that people with high blood pressure often have suppressed nighttime melatonin levels. We have recently found that people with high blood pressure have actual anatomical disturbances of their biological clocks. This finding might open the door for a new approach for treating hypertension.” He added, “This is just a start. Large-scale studies need to be done, as well as studies of potential interactions between melatonin and traditional antihypertensive treatments.”
Source: Life Extension Foundation (LEF), online at www.lef.org.