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New Research Strengthens Link Between Melatonin and Reduced Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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According to a study published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers went through medical records from 2008 to 2023 for 200,000 older patients and focused on looking into whether there is an association between melatonin use and risk with AMD. According to the studies and findings, they show a strong relationship.

Of 121,523 patients aged 50 or older and without AMD at the beginning of the study, many were regular melatonin supplement users. Interestingly, among patients who started supplementation after an AMD diagnosis, the vision degradation rate was much slower compared to those who did not receive supplementation with the hormone.

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye condition whereby there is progressive damage to the macula, located in the central portion of the retina, and responsible for sharp, central vision. AMD is an important public health concern, causing vision impairment in close to 11 million Americans.

Although there is no cure for AMD, prevention measures and interventional modalities against the progression of the disease are continually being sought after. Previous studies have suggested that melatonin may have a protective effect on retinal damage and that the levels of melatonin are lower in patients with AMD.

Melatonin is an endogenously produced hormone in the brain, known mostly for its activity in inducing sleep. It is produced in response to darkness and is synthesized and sold as a dietary supplement, helping many people with sleeping problems.

This very recent study enhances the increasingly growing body of evidence that frequent melatonin consumption may become a truly promising strategy for reducing the risk of AMD development and retarding its advancement in already affected people.

While the researchers continue debugging mechanisms underlying the seemingly protective effects of melatonin, these findings offer hope for a simple and accessible approach toward fighting one of the leading causes of vision loss in elderly individuals.

In a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, the researchers pored over medical records for some 200,000 older patients from 2008 through 2023 for clues about whether taking the sleep hormone melatonin was related to risk for age-related macular degeneration. The results were tantalizing.

In a cohort of 121,523 patients aged 50 or older, with no AMD at baseline, many were regular users of melatonin supplements. Among patients who began taking melatonin after an AMD diagnosis, there was a slower rate of vision degradation compared to those who did not supplement with the hormone.

Age-related macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease whereby the macula gets destroyed. The macula is the part of the retina responsible for clear vision at the center. It is such that it has turned into a public health concern because it is estimated that about 11 million Americans presently have AMD-related vision loss.

Although there is no cure for this progressive neurodegenerative disease, preventive measures or therapeutic agents for it, searches for which have been on electro-Iong time, previous studies have pointed toward potential protective effects of melatonin against retinal damage and a lower melatonin level in these patients with AMD.

Melatonin is one of the hormones issued by the brain to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. The production increases with darkness, and melatonin supplements are taken orally by many people to help obtain sound sleep.

The results of this most recent research add significant weight to the growing body of evidence suggesting that regular melatonin consumption may be a promising strategy for reducing the risk associated with developing AMD and slowing down its advancement in already affected subjects.

Although the mechanisms underlying its seemingly protective effects are far from being fully understood, the findings do bring some hope that there could exist a simple and accessible approach against one of the leading causes of vision loss in older adults.

A combined effort on the part of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the Center for Ophthalmic Bioinformatics at Cleveland Clinic has turned up more genes, indicating that habitual melatonin consumption possibly plays a role in protection against the initiation and progression of age-related macular degeneration.

In a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, the research team analyzed 200,000 older patient medical records extracted for the period from 2008 to 2023 for possible links between the use of melatonin and the risk of developing AMD. The large study established a compelling link.

Of the 121,523 patients aged 50 or older without AMD at the start of this study, many were regular melatonin supplement users. Of note, patients who began using melatonin after an AMD diagnosis showed a significantly slower rate of vision loss compared with those who were not using the supplement hormone.

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disorder whereby its progression results in the destruction of the macula, which defines the central portion of the retina responsible for sharp central vision. It is considered to be a major public health problem because it has been estimated that nearly 11 million Americans are suffering from vision impairment due to AMD.

Although an AMD cure is unreachable, preventive measures and treatments against its progressive course have continuously been sought. Previous studies have pointed to the potentially protective effects of melatonin against retinal damage and lower melatonin levels in AMD patients.

Melatonin is one of the hormones produced by the brain that helps induce sleep. It is produced in reaction to darkness and is often supplemented to help ease problems with sleeping.

This latest study adds significant strength to a small but rapidly growing body of evidence that indicates frequent melatonin use could prove an effective means of reducing the risk of AMD onset and slowing its progression in those already suffering from it.

These were findings that gave real hope for a simple and accessible way to fight off one of the worst caterers of vision loss among the elderly, right at a time when researchers are teasing apart mechanisms underpinning melatonin’s seemingly protective effects.

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