Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Melatonin, Glutathione, and Sleep

One of the themes in the very recent medical literature is a curious relationship between melatonin, glutathione, and sleep. A recent finding in the research about sleep is that people who snore tend also to have unusually low levels of antioxidants.

The reason people who snore, in particular, and people who have insomnia, in general, suffer antioxidant stress is that they have varying levels of oxygen in the blood. Oxygen-stressed cells have to use less efficient pathways of energy production that generate massive amounts of free radicals.

It's a vicious circle. Lower levels of antioxidants result in a weaker respiratory system, and irregular breathing during sleep depletes antioxidants. Any therapy that increases antioxidant glutathione and melatonin, on the other hand, strengthens the upper respiratory tract and enhances sleep.

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