Melatonin makes tamoxifen work better

Melatonin makes tamoxifen work better

Wrapping oral melatonin supplements in lipid particles increases delivery into the bloodstream and increase the effectiveness of tamoxifen requiring a lower dose of Tamoxifen to achieve the required results, according to researchers from the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran. 

Indeed, the main benefit seems to be that far less drug can be used to do the same job, meaning you can use less and have much lower side-effects. 

The lipid bubbles are more correctly called nanostructured lipid carriers (rather like liposomes), or NLCs.

Researchers set out to develop a system that reduced side-effects and chemo-resistance that builds up over time.

Dr. Nasser Samadi led the study which is recorded in the journal ‘Colloids and Biointerfaces‘.

This is not the first time that melatonin has been shown to help Tamoxifen work.  Stamford University researchers have shown (1) that quality sleep improves breast cancer survival and reduces tamoxifen requirement. And Professor Steven Hill in the Circadian Group at Tulane University Medical School showed that sleeping in a room with blue light - for example from a TV or a night light - suppresses the production of melatonin and makes breast cancer patients resistant to tamoxifen (5).

We also covered research in Cancer Watch that ElectroMagnetic Fields (known to reduce production of melatonin in the body) could inhibit the action of Tamoxifen (2).

Melatonin has many health benefits

Melatonin is often referred to as a ’sleeping drug’. It is predominantly made in the body by the pineal gland, although research shows certain gut bacteria also make it as part of their circadian rhythm. The primary function of melatonin is to put the body into a deeper sleep.

But melatonin is more than that - it is a powerful antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory compound, which is why deep sleep is so healing.

Next, it can regulate  and balance the human oestrogen and growth hormone levels in the body. Both of these are involved in driving many cancers. It has research showing it regulates cancer through its own receptors and also independently. It improves chemotherapy and radiotherapy for people with solid tumours, reducing side-effects (3).

Finally, melatonin has been shown to possess epigenetic properties, meaning it can correct cells where there has been a build up of methylation causing blockages in the sending of messages (4). This occurs in chronic illness such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Professor Russell Reiter has suggested previously that all adults over the age of 50, who have disturbed sleeping patterns or do not get sufficient sleep, look into taking melatonin supplements of at least 5 mg. Unfortunately in Europe the maximum dose from a Doctor is just 3 mg. It can be bought on the Internet in the UK or from many stores in the USA.

Melatonin improves survival of patients with solid cancers

Various studies over the last 10 years have shown conclusively that women who have disturbed sleep patterns - like long haul air hostesses, night shift workers such as nurses, and even people who stay out late three times a week or more - all have a higher risk of breast cancer. Men too with prostate cancer.

Equally EMFs reduce melatonin production and have been linked to a higher risk of these oestrogen-driven cancers.

We routinely suggest that all people with oestrogen-driven cancers ensure they are getting enough quality sleep, or top up their melatonin levels. Melatonin is also known to change oestrogen receptor sites on cells, blocking dangerous oestrogens like oestradiol from binding there.


1. Stamford University - Good quality sleep increases survival and requires less tamoxifen

2. EMFs, melatonin and breast cancer

3. Melatonin helps chemotherapy and radiotherapy work; reduces side effects 

4. Melatonin has strong epigenetic benefits

5. Lowered melatonin causes tamoxifen resistance

All this research and more is in Chris ‘ book ‘Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer’.



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