Melatonin is a hormone that produces by our brain in response to darkness.
The production of melatonin is regulated by our internal clock with light/dark signals, and light will inhibit the production of melatonin.
Melatonin (MT) is found in certain foods, supplements, gummies, pills, and sprays.
This article will tell you everything about melatonin, like why people take melatonin medicine, its health effects, and more things.
What is Melatonin and how does it work?
MT was first discovered in the 1950s and is a pleiotropic neurohormone secreted by the pineal gland.
It is also known for maintaining circadian rhythms, (our body’s internal clock, which tells our body when to sleep, and when to wake (1)
MT is produced in darkness, and being exposed to light at night can block MT production, which interacts with sleep patterns.
It plays a vital role in sleep, but beyond sleep, research has shown that it regulates many physiological processes such as:
- blood pressure
- immune function
- physiological activity rhythms (that keep living things alive)
- Reproductive system
- maintain bone health
- cell differentiation
- fat metabolism
- memory formation
- oxidative stress
- may also inhibition of cancer
- prevent inflammation process
Health benefits of melatonin
MT has many health benefits, that is why many researchers considered it a natural supplement for several medical conditions including:
Support immune system
Melatonin highly influences our immune system so less melanin means less resistance you have against bacteria or viruses.
Check Out – Immune System: Disorder, Response
In patients with essential hypertension, repeated bedtime melatonin intake significantly reduced nocturnal blood pressure (2).
Research has shown that repeated (but not acute) MT can bring improvement in blood pressure.
Check Out – High Blood Pressure: Reason, Age, Ideal Range
Studies reported that melatonin produced an antiproliferative effect against breast cancer (3).
It has been reported that (MT) may control tumor growth in advanced cancer patients, and play as a natural anti-angiogenic molecule (4).
Clinical studies reported that in colon, breast, renal, brain, and in lung cancer treatment, melatonin may support when given along with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Research has reported that migraine headache patients have low melatonin hormones (5).
It has been suggested melatonin may play a vital therapeutic role in the treatment of migraines and other types of headaches.
Check Out – Best Yoga Asanas To Minimize Headache To a Great Extent
A 2018 study showed a positive effect of (MT) on memory, showing it may actually help to protect brain cells’ health against Alzheimer’s disease.
The study seems that melatonin treatment therapy ameliorates sundowning and slow evolution of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s Disease patients.
Melatonin for sleep
It is primarily known for sleep, which secretes from a pea-sized gland found just above the middle of your brain.
Poor sleep is also associated with an increased risk of mortality, hospitalization, and traffic accidents (6) (7).
A meta-analysis reported that (MT) was beneficial for treating most primary sleep disorders over the short-term (4 weeks or less).
Evidence suggests melatonin may reduce the time it takes for people with delayed sleep phase syndrome to fall asleep.
It also helps promote total sleep time, aids with fatigue from jet lag, or balances circadian rhythms and rotating shift work.
During 8 randomized control trials with 300 participants assessed the efficacy of (MT) for promoting sleep-in shift workers (8)
Another study showed that (MT) also significantly increased total sleep time, and quality compared to placebo.
In which form melatonin are available
Melatonin is available in many forms which include:
- Supplements are the most recommended form of (MT)
- tablets (fast dissolve, chewable, budget, advanced strength tablets)
- capsules (vegan, overall, hypoallergenic caspule)
Whatever you want in this you can buy, but first, consult your doctor because low and high doses can cause side effects.
Supplement with melatonin
Melatonin dietary supplements can be made from animals or microorganisms, but most often they’re made synthetically.
In today’s time, there are many people who live sleeplessness due to their lifestyle, diet, and some disorder.
But (MT) supplements can play an important in bringing sleep, supplement doses are particularly higher than the normal body produces.
Short-term use of melatonin supplements appears to be safe for most people.
Melatonin dosage according to age
The best-recommended dosage is given according to your age (9)
And then gradually increased until when you find a dose that helps you fall asleep quickly without showing any side effects.
A clinical trial reported shown that melatonin dosage varied from 0.1 mg to 50 mg/kg and was administered orally in all studies.
According to the sleep foundation, a safe starting (MT) dose for adults is b/w 0.5 and 5 mg.
For older people starting with 0.1 mg is safe and effective.
NOTE: Make sure children should avoid it unless recommended by a doctor.
When to take melatonin?
It is also important to take (MT) at the correct time, taking too early or too late can disturb your regular cycle and wake times.
According to the national health service (NHS), they recommend taking melatonin 1-2 hours before bedtime.
If you are traveling from another place and want to prevent jet lag, then you should take melatonin a few days before leaving.
It is best to take melatonin 2 hours before bedtime at the destination.
As we know (MT) is a brain chemical that is naturally produced and has no side effects, as long as this is natural.
Taking Melatonin in outer form like supplements is good in the recommended dosage, but too much (MT) can lead to many health issues.
Make sure first, consult your doctor about it, because it may interact with other medicines, and too much can also cause side effects such as:
- Some people with allergic reactions to it
- too much can lead to sleeplessness
- nausea and drowsiness are also seen in children, so avoid to given it
- Upset stomach
- joint pain
- Aso lead to a medical condition like – High BP, unwanted sweating, etc
Diarrhea, bedwetting, nausea, and irritability are also seen in children, so avoid to given it, or talk to your doctor before giving it.
Too much melatonin can also affect women’s lifecycle including:
- menstrual cycle
- overproduction hormone
- effect during menopause
How to increase melatonin levels naturally
Melatonin is synthesized from tryptophan, an essential dietary amino acid.
Not only supplement, spray, and gummies can increase (MT) levels, but melatonin can be also increased naturally.
An excellent strategy that a few hours before bedtime to promote (MT) level includes:
- Keep your bedroom, and the room should be dark, with no lights
- Avoid watching tv and using computers and smartphones
- Keep your room as noise-free as possible
Sunlight and artificial indoor lighting can be bright enough to prevent the release of melatonin (10).
So make sure this should are not in the room when you are going to sleep.
There is also some food that naturally contains serotonin which includes:
There are also other factors that have been allied with lower natural melatonin levels such as stress, and shift work.
Melatonin during pregnancy
During pregnancy naturally, melatonin release is necessary, In fact, during pregnancy melatonin levels continuously fluctuate (11) (12).
Insomnia can disrupt sleep at any time during sleep, In fact, it affects up to 75% of women in their third trimester.
According to the sleep foundation (MT) levels are much lower during pregnancy, that why many women experience high blood pressure
Many women take (MT) supplements during pregnancy but Are they safe during pregnancy?
Clinical studies, to data, suggest that (MT) use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is probably safe in humans.
Other studies have shown that (MT) is safe in the short term but there is no clear confirmation for the long term.
So make sure to talk to your doctor, before taking any supplement whether it is herbal or chemical.
It is also seen that melatonin protects the fetal nervous system (because has an antioxidant) effect from damage due to oxidative stress.
It is a hormone that produces by our brain and regulated by our internal clock with light/dark signals.
Light whether it is sunlight or artificial light inhibits the production of melatonin, so keep your bedroom dark, and cold for sleep fast.