October 26, 2016
Could Melatonin be the
Breast's Best Friend?

Melatonin is the hormone released by the pineal gland in a diurnal rhythm, with a surge in the middle of the night during sleep, around 2:00 AM. While supplementation with melatonin for sleep benefit is well established, its role in breast cancer treatment and prevention is lesser known.

First, a quick overview: estrogen is proliferative, meaning it stimulates growth. In a woman’s menstrual cycle, estradiol is important for the growth and regeneration of the endometrium. It is also responsible for the development of breast tissue at puberty and has an effect on breast cells throughout life, which might result in fibrocystic breasts, breast swelling or even breast cancer.

Because melatonin has been shown to be capable of disrupting estrogen-mediated cellular pathways, researchers hypothesize that the disruption of melatonin production increases estrogenic stimulation of breast and cancer cells. Studies show that circadian disruption, specifically night shift work, is correlated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer, so much so that women who work night shifts are found to have breast cancer rates well above normal. Additionally, women who live in neighborhoods with large amounts of illumination from outside light have a higher rate of breast cancer than do women who live in areas with more nighttime darkness. Many studies have demonstrated the inverse correlation between melatonin metabolites and the incidence of breast cancer. As well, melatonin levels tend to be lower in women with an established diagnosis of breast cancer.

Melatonin is breast-protective. It has been shown to disrupt estrogen dependent pathways resulting in an overall reduction of the estrogenic stimulation of breast cells It also has the ability to slowdown cell growth in a wide variety of cancer cells, as well as triggering cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction). Melatonin also interferes with the blood supply tumors require for their rapid growth (angiogenesis), and it boosts the production of Interleuken-2, an important signaling molecule of the immune system which helps to identify and attack the mutated cells that lead to cancer. In short, melatonin is the breast’s best ally, and breast cancer’s worse enemy.

How will you know if your patient’s melatonin levels are breast protective? Test, don’t guess! Labrix now offers a melatonin panel that reveals the circadian rhythm of melatonin throughout the day. While diurnal cortisol is highest in the AM and decreases as the day progresses, melatonin levels peak at night. They are lowest in the evening, and gradually increase as night progresses. Order the Melatonin Panel along with any panel that includes adrenal function, and Labrix will provide a graphical representation of these two diurnal curves on your patient's report. For more in-depth clinical applications and case studies for melatonin as well as other Labrix testing, consider Labrix Advanced Workshop in Las Vegas. Register by October 31 and receive a $50 testing credit on your account after completion of workshop. Click here to register.

  • Hill SM, Belancio VP, Dauchy RT, et al. Melatonin: an Inhibitor of Breast Cancer. Endocrine-related cancer. 2015;22(3):R183-R204. doi:10.1530/ERC-15-0030.
  • Del Río B, García Pedrero JM, Martínez-Campa C, Zuazua P, Lazo PS, Ramos S. Melatonin, an endogenous-specific inhibitor of estrogen receptor alpha via calmodulin. J Biol Chem. 2004;279(37):38294-38302
  • Voordouw BC, Euser R, Verdonk RE, et al. Melatonin and melatonin-progestin combinations alter pituitary-ovarian function in women and can inhibit ovulation. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992;74(1):108-117.
  • Hansen J. Increased breast cancer risk among women who work predominantly at night. Epidemiology. 2001;12(1):74-7.
  • Kloog I, Stevens RG, Haim A, Portnov BA. Nighttime light level co-distributes with breast cancer incidence worldwide. Cancer Causes Control. 2010;21(12):2059-68.
  • Kaczor T. An overview of melatonin and breast cancer. Natural Medicine Journal. 2010;2(2) http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/article_content.asp?article=108.
  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/03/19/melatonin-benefits.aspx#_edn11. Accessed October 21, 2016.

Labrix Core Training

Join the hundreds of practitioners who have attended Labrix live training events and learn more about these exciting opportunities directly from a Labrix attendee and Dr. Jay Mead, Medical Director and co-founder of Labrix.

Labrix Advanced
Las Vegas, NV
February 10-12, 2017

Labrix will be conducting the annual Advanced Workshop in Las Vegas in February. Due to increased demand, this event will now span three days of comprehensive presentations and discussions. Registration is $199 but if you sign up using promo code MARKETING before October 31, you will receive a $50 testing credit on your Labrix account (after completion of workshop.) Register today!

Portland, OR
December 3-4, 2016

Labrix will also be exhibiting at the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians conference in Portland OR, December 3-4.

Las Vegas, NV
December 9-11, 2016

Stop by the Labrix booth and meet Labrix co-founders Dr. Erin Lommen and Dr. Jay Mead at the A4M Conference in Las Vegas this December.