Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body and requires receptors like all hormones. We commonly think of Melatonin as the sleeping hormone, however it is found in the blood and also acts as an endocrine hormone. It is commonly used by insomniacs and will induce drowsiness and help lower the body temperature. We commonly think of this hormone in association with the pineal gland; however it can also be produced by bone marrow cells and epithelial cells which form your epithelium tissue which is a type of tissue that lines cavities and surfaces of structures throughout the body. Let just say there are many kinds of epithelial cells, and know this does change the entire spectrum of what Melatonin can mean to our body and organs.
Let’s talk in point form about Melatonin
- Melatonin production in the brain is inhibited by light. Even low levels of incandescent light will affect the production (so for maximum production and benefits when supplementing even night lights will affect this) with exposure time as little as 39 minutes. The presence of light will reduce your production by 50%. Melatonin is released into blood stream and levels peak in the middle of the night.
- Natural sleep aid for sleep disorders including narcolepsy, helps with jet lag and changing body clocks when travelling or shift change
- Helps you sleep when fatigued or in time of stress
- Melatonin synchronizes the body clock, this is called the circadian cycle
- Stimulates the immune system
- Stimulates several components of the endocrine system
- Melatonin will increase dreaming
- Shown to have a positive effect in the time required to fall asleep in ADHD children (Mayo Clinic)
- May reduce intra-ocular pressure for glaucoma patients and delay macular degeneration
- Helps lower blood pressure
- Prevents damage from ischemia of the brain and the heart
- It plays a role in preventing some arrhythmias
- Improves sleep for asthmatics
- Improves sleep and benefits sufferers of Tinnitus
- Benefits sufferers of Depression and Bi-polar
- Benefits chronic headache suffers – migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches
- Low levels of Melatonin production has been proposed as a factor in higher levels of cancer for night workers and modern day lighting practices has been suggested as a factor in higher levels of cancer incidence in the entire developed world.
- Melatonin is also proving to be an important and ‘special’ antioxidant. It is referred to as a ‘terminal’ or ‘suicide’ antioxidant because it forms a stable end product upon reacting with a free radical
- Melatonin is believed to protect the DNA and prevent damage from some carcinogens therefore halting some of the mechanisms in the body that cause cancer
- Low levels of Melatonin have been linked to breast cancer; adding Melatonin has been shown to inhibit growth of these cancer cells; has been shown when combined with tamoxifen caused tumours to modestly shrink in 28% of the women (University of Maryland Medical Center)
- In prostrate cancer Melatonin has been shown to block growth of cancer cells and improved survival rates in 9 out of 14 men when used as an adjunct therapy. (University of Maryland Medical Center)
- Melatonin may help improve platelet count due to cancer therapies
- It shows promise in reducing damage to the brain caused by the onset of Parkinson’s
- Has been shown in lab research to increase longevity by up to 20%
- It may help counteract acquired immunodeficiency
- May help fight viral and bacterial infectious diseases
- Stimulates cells called osteoblasts and promotes bone growth therefore aid in the prevention of osteoporosis (University of Maryland Medical Center)
- Melatonin has been shown to relieve depression and anxiety for post menopausal women. It causes a surge in your serotonin levels. Low Serotonin levels are believed to be the reason for many cases of mild to moderate depression which can lead to symptoms like anxiety, apathy, and fear, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia and fatigue.
- Melatonin benefits Rheumatoid Arthritis (University of Maryland Medical Center)
- Low levels of Melatonin have been found in ASD—autistic children and their non affected parents
- Melatonin receptors appear to be important in the mechanism of memory and learning
- Melatonin is useful for Alzheimer’s – it prevents neuronal death in the brain caused by toxic proteins in the brain in Alzheimer’s patients—-it also has been shown to help lessen and prevent ‘sundowning’ in Alzheimer’s patients which is heightened afternoon agitation
- Because Melatonin controls the timing and release of reproductive hormones in peri-menopausal women it helps prevent depression, migraines and cluster headaches and improves Thyroid function
- Melatonin is involved in regulation of body weight especially when combined with calcium
- It may help reduce the amount of seizures with epileptics
- Improves sarcodosis, the development of fibrous tissue in lungs and other tissues in the body. The amounts needed was 20 mg per day for 4-12 months (University of Maryland Medical Center)
- Melatonin has proven to be effective even in small doses. In research Melatonin was to shown to be as effective over time in small doses as the larger doses.
- Remember keep your rooms dark and remove electrical appliances, move your electric alarm clock at least 6 feet from your bed and NO nightlights. Nightlights even for children impair their valuable Melatonin production through the ni
Christine Kontomerkos, ND, a naturopathic physician at Trumbull
Naturopathic & Acupuncture in Trumbull, Connecticut. Visit her Web site
for ordering information please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to diagnose any ailment or prescribe any remedy. It is not to be a substitute for professional help. It is intended to set forth historical uses for natural remedies. A person should consult an approved health professional for any conditions which requires their services.