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High Melatonin can Help Delay Ageing

The Spanish Ageing Research Network is very near to achieving one of today’s Science greatest goals: allowing humans to age in the best possible health conditions.//

As well as from the UGR, researchers from the Spanish universities of Seville, Oviedo, Saragossa, Barcelona and Reus also took part in this study, concluding that the consumption of melatonin – a natural substance produced in small amounts by human beings and present in many types of food – delays the oxidative damage and inflammatory processes typical of the old age. Melatonin can be found in small amounts in some fruits and vegetables, like onions, cherries and bananas, and in cereals like corn, oats and rice, as well as in some aromatic plants, such as mint, lemon verbena, sage or thyme, and in red wine.

UGR participation in this study was leaded by professor Darío Acu?a Castroviejo, member of the Institute of Biotechnology and lecturer at this University’s department of Physiology. Professor Acu?a Castroviejo also coordinates the Spanish Ageing Research Network. Both normal and genetically-modified mice, with an accelerated cell ageing, were analysed. "We proved", says professor Acu?a Castroviejo, “that the first signs of ageing in animal tissues start at the age of five months [in mice] – equivalent to 30 human years of age – due to an increase in free radicals (oxygen and nitrogen), which cause an inflammatory reaction.”

The UGR researcher points out that such oxidative stress also has effects in animals’ blood, as blood cells have been proven to be “more fragile with the years and, therefore, their cell membranes become easier to break".

The authors of this innovative finding administered small amounts of melatonin to mice and observed that not only did this substance neutralize the oxidative stress and the inflammatory process caused by ageing, but it also delayed its effects, thus increasing longevity. In particular, the University of Granada’s go
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