Life Extension Update
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Melatonin helps protects kidneys from high frequency mobile phone radiation damage
A study published in the July-August 2005 issue of the Archives of Medical Research (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01884409) found that electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitted by mobile phones can cause oxidative stress in the kidneys and that melatonin protects against it. The current study tested 900 megahertz EMR, which is emitted by phones used in Europe and Turkey. The proximity of mobile phone antennas to the abdominal organs of individuals who carry the phones on their belts has raised concerns that the radiation is absorbed by the kidneys, causing damaging effects.
Researchers at Suleyman Demirel University in Isparta, Turkey administered 30 minutes of 900 MHz electromagnetic radiation for ten days to 16 rats. Half of the rats received subcutaneous melatonin each day before the electromagnetic radiation exposure. A control group of eight rats received melatonin followed by sham EMR exposure.
At the study’s conclusion, the group exposed to EMR without pretreatment with melatonin experienced decreases in kidney tissue levels of the antioxidant enzymes catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, while malondialdehyde, a measure of lipid peroxidation, and urine NAG, a renal tubular damage marker, were elevated compared to controls. For rats pretreated with melatonin, antioxidant enzyme activity was nearly that of the control group (and higher for glutathione peroxidase), and malondialdehyde and NAG were reduced compared to rats who received radiation without melatonin.
The authors suggest a probable role for reactive oxygen species in the effects of EMR from mobile phones. They conclude, that “the potent free radical scavenger and antioxidant agent, melatonin, seems to be a highly promising agent for protecting renal tissue from oxidative damage and preventing organ dysfunction as a result of 900 megahertz exposure.” They point out the need for additional studies involving different electromagnetic frequencies and exposure periods.
According to statistics compiled by the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)(2001), kidney conditions such as inflammation, kidney stones, and cancer affected some 2.553 million persons; ESRD affected 424,179 people; polycystic kidney diseases affected 600,000 people; and other urinary conditions such as kidney infections, bladder infections, and cystitis affected millions more, costing billions of dollars of medical care funded by the public and by private individuals (NCHS 1999; Grantham et al. 2000; USRDS 2001).
Adults lose renal function and capacity with aging. A number of factors, including drug reactions and degenerative disease not endemic to the kidneys, may bring added stress.
If you have healthy kidneys, protect them. Start with a healthy diet; drink lots of water; give careful attention to the over-the-counter medicines you take, particularly when combined with prescription medicines or other over-the-counter products; consume alcohol responsibly (remember, over-the-counter or prescription drugs can be very damaging to the kidneys when combined with alcohol); protect your kidneys from injury if you engage in sporting activities; and consider taking protective supplements and nutrients to support overall kidney health.
As part of an annual physical checkup, request tests for blood levels of creatinine and blood urea nitrogen and urine levels of protein. Small elevations of creatinine can be an early sign of kidney disease. Early detection leads to early treatment which can occur at a stage when there is treatment to help prevent kidney disease from advancing to a more serious stage.
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