Electromagnetic fields and melatonin production

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39 Scopus citations


The pineal gland, which in humans is located near the anatomical center of the brain, is normally responsive to visible electromagnetic fields (ie light) since the eyes are functionally connected to the pineal gland by a series of neurons. Normally, the pineal gland produces low amounts of melatonin during the day and high amounts at night; this rhythm is reflected in the blood melatonin concentrations which are higher at night than during the day. In both man and lower mammals, their exposure to light at night is followed by a drop in pineal melatonin production and blood melatonin levels. Likewise, exposure of non-human mammals to sinusoidal electric and/or magnetic fields as well as pulsed static magnetic fields often reduces pineal melatonin production. Melatonin has many functions in the organism and any perturbation (not only electromagnetic fields) which causes levels of melatonin to be lower than normal may have significant physiological consequences. Melatonin, because it is a potent antioxidant, may provide significant protection against cancer initiation as well as promotion. However, it is premature to conclude that the alleged increased cancer risk reported in individuals living in higher than normal electromagnetic environments relate to reduced melatonin levels caused by such field exposures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-444
Number of pages6
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1993


  • electromagnetic fields
  • melatonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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