Epithalamin is a synthetic peptide that mimics the activity of a natural pineal gland hormone called melatonin. It has been shown to extend maximum life span in animal experiments, increase cell viability, decrease oxidative stress levels, increase catalase activity, and protect DNA from damage. In addition, it slows the progression of certain cancers and heart disease in humans.
In human trials, it has been found that thymalin combined with epithalamin significantly reduces mortality and morbidity in people with chronic degenerative diseases, especially vascular disorders (cardiovascular disease) and rheumatoid arthritis, and increases longevity. These effects appear to be primarily related to a reduction in the incidence of acute respiratory disease and an improvement in clinical manifestations of ischemic heart disease, as well as a reduction in blood pressure.
It has also been found that epithalamin upregulates telomerase activity. Telomeres are the repetitive nucleotide sequence at the end of linear chromosomes, which normally shorten with each cell division and eventually cause the cell to stop dividing or to self-destruct (undergo apoptosis). Epithalamin prevents the shortening of telomeres by adding repeated nucleotides to the ends of chromosomes every time they revert back to their original form.
Other actions of epithalamin include increasing pineal synthesis of serotonin and N-acetylserotonin; normalizing the activity of the hypothalamo pituitary gland in male rats; slowing dawn age-related cessation of estrous function in female rats; and restoring fertility in ovariectomized rats. It has also been shown that epithalamin restores cellular immunity and inhibits spontaneous and induced carcinogenesis in animals.