2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

The Night Shift and Breast Cancer

Posted 10/23/2006

For years, doctors have puzzled over why women who work the night shift are more likely to get breast cancer. Now they think they’ve come up with an explanation, and it has to do with melatonin–the same melatonin sold to promote sleep.

Melatonin is a hormone made by the tiny pineal gland in your brain. (For years, doctors had no idea what the pineal actually did. In fact, early anatomy books named it “the seat of the soul.”)

Your brain responds to darkness by producing more melatonin, which in turn makes you sleepy. When you’re in bright light, either natural or artificial, your brain makes less melatonin. If you ever wondered why you fall asleep in a dark theater or wake up when sun pours into your bedroom, now you know.

As a side note, melatonin is made from serotonin. Logically then, women with low-serotonin Triple Whammy disorders often have more problems sleeping.

Melatonin is also an extremely powerful antioxidant, and has even tested well in lab animals in high doses as cancer therapy.

Some recent research looked at the melatonin-breast cancer connection. Doctors injected human breast cancer cells into rats. The cells “took” and started to grow. Then they injected the rats with one of two types of blood, the first from women with very low melatonin levels and the other from women with high melatonin levels.

The growth of the cancer cells in rats given the high-melatonin blood was dramatically suppressed, while cancer cells in the rats that got low-melatonin blood continued to grow. The provisional conclusion: melatonin can suppress the growth of breast cancer cells.

Many women working the night shift don’t ever experience total darkness, and thus their melatonin levels never get particularly high. It’s this lack of melatonin production that may be the basis for their increased breast cancer risk.

A couple of important cautions:

  • Even if you’re a poor sleeper, you’re still making melatonin as long as you’re in the dark (i.e., breast cancer risk is not higher among insomniacs).
  • It’s too early to recommend taking melatonin as a supplement to prevent breast cancer.

However, melatonin is a safe and effective sleep aid and a potent antioxidant. If you happen to work the night shift, it may be a prudent addition to your daily supplements.

Click here for the product we recommend.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Telemedicine – Now Available at WholeHealth Chicago

In order to maintain your continuity of care, WholeHealth Chicago now offers telemedicine appointments with most of our practitioners. During a telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider can review medical history, discuss symptoms, arrange for prescriptions, and more. When necessary, labs and diagnostic imaging can be ordered from a facility near your home, and our Natural Apothecary can ship supplements quickly to your door.

Please contact Patient Services for details and scheduling a telemedicine appointment, or to change a regular appointment to telemedicine by calling 773-296-6700.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you in our virtual consultation room soon.

Upcoming Workshops

**Adrenal Boost!
Tue, April 28, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
With Naturopath Caley Scott and Yoga Therapist Renee Zambo

Course Fee: $75.00
(Includes custom adrenal herbal tincture and a description of yoga practices you can do at home.)

Feeling Tired? Need help improving fatigue? Learn to boost your energy! Dr. Scott will teach you about herbs that support your adrenal glands to help boost your energy and adapt to stress. Renee will teach practices that restore and build energy, support daily activities, and ensure sound rest at night. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • Ibuprofen And Other NSAIDs: Yes or No in the Age of Covid-19?

    The story’s familiar. You have joint aches and pains, a headache, fever, or menstrual cramps and you reach for a bottle of aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). What these drugs have in common is that they belong to a class called NSAIDs—non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Here’s a list of them. NSAIDs are generally safe, typically effective, and inexpensive, and as a chiropractic physician when Read More

  • Coronavirus Immune Superstar #1: Vitamin D

    Take 5000 IU daily. Here’s why: • The role of vitamin D in the human body is complex, with ramifications well beyond healthy bones. One of D’s effects is to trigger your immune system into a high-alert, anti-viral state. • Low Vitamin D increases your susceptibility to viral infections, likely including Covid-19. Former CDC director Tom Frieden has publicly stated that vitamin D may protect Read More

  • IMPORTANT High Dose IV Vitamin C Now Available

    Look. I know you’re crazy busy at home, sheltering in place, sleeping a lot, eating too many carbs, binging marginal TV, and generally going bonkers. You don’t have a lot of spare time. But please click to this article in the New York Post. Too busy for that? OK. I’ll summarize. Intravenous vitamin C in high doses is being used both in China and in Read More

Join our Discount Program

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!