Melatonin has gained popularity over the years as a natural sleep aid, but did you know that it is also helpful in other ways?
In this newsletter, let’s explore melatonin, its benefits, dosage, and side effects.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, a tiny gland in your brain that is part of your endocrine system. Melatonin plays a major role in your sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. These processes basically respond to light and dark. The sleep-wake cycle is an example of a circadian rhythm that responds to light. The pineal gland secretes the highest level of melatonin at night and lesser amounts during the day. It is known as the sleep hormone as it helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Melatonin can also be produced synthetically in a laboratory and marketed as a dietary supplement. However, since the US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate food supplements, laboratory-produced melatonin is technically not FDA-approved for any condition (and is recommended to consult with your pharmacist or health provider/practitioner if you want to take melatonin supplements).
Melatonin Health Benefits
Sleep Improvement– Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone as I mentioned. Although you can sleep without melatonin, you can definitely sleep better when you have optimal levels of melatonin. That’s why your pineal gland produces its peak amount of melatonin at night (in response to darkness).
Various studies support that melatonin aids in having better sleep. In one study involving 50 people with insomnia, the subjects who took melatonin 2 hours before sleep reported that they fell asleep faster and improved their sleep quality. In another study, melatonin also improved total sleep time and enhanced the quality of sleep among children and adults with sleeping disorders.
Lessening the Symptoms of Seasonal Depression– About 10% of the population worldwide suffers from seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression. With symptoms usually appearing from late fall to early winter, seasonal depression is a yearly recurring condition brought about by the changes in the seasons that cause changes in the circadian rhythm caused by the decrease of light.
Taking low doses of melatonin can help in reducing seasonal depression symptoms.
Increasing Human Growth Hormone (HGH)– HGH, also known as somatropin, is essential for growth and cellular regeneration. It is the hormone produced by the pituitary gland that promotes growth in children. Once the growth plates in the bones fuse, HGH no longer increases height but is still needed to maintain normal body temperature and metabolism, which includes keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range and helping maintain healthy weight levels.
Helping to Treat GERDGERD or gastroesophageal reflux disorder is a condition in which stomach contents leak back to the esophagus and is characterized by symptoms such as heartburn, belching, and nausea.
Melatonin is not only made in the pineal gland: it’s made in the stomach, intestines, esophagus, and mouth. Additionally, studies have shown that people with GERD have lower levels of melatonin when compared to healthy people who do not have GERD.
Supplementing with melatonin likely improves GERD symptoms by helping to protect the lining of the esophagus (by decreasing the production of nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter causing the stomach acid to enter the esophagus), regulating stomach acid levels, reducing oxidative stress, and lowering inflammation.
Dosage and Side Effects
According to studies, melatonin is safe and non-addictive both in short-term and long-term use. It can be taken 0.5-10 mg per day. Common side effects reported include drowsiness, nausea, headache, and dizziness. It may also interact with other medications so it’s important to inform your provider if you’re going to take melatonin supplements.
Melatonin supplements come in many different forms including capsules, sublinguals, lozenges, gummies, and sprays.
A great way to natural support your body’s own optimal production of melatonin is to reduce exposure to blue light (from screens) in the evenings (some suggestions here), sleep in a dark room, and get to bed between 10-10:30pm.
I hope this information is helpful to you.It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
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