• The Wonders of Melatonin

    Posted on September 5, 2012 by in Cancer Prevention, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Osteoporosis, Sleep

    Melatonin is well known for helping people improve their sleep.  However, that’s just the beginning of the many benefits of this “sleep hormone”.  Melatonin has been found to promote health in many other ways:

    1. Melatonin can protect against heart disease.  It’s been shown to reduce “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels and increase “good” (HDL) cholesterol and play a role in lowering blood pressure.  Melatonin can also protect your heart during a heart attack. 
    2. Melatonin is a powerful anti-carcinogen.  That is, it is has the ability to prevent cancer and can reduce the spread of cancer in those who already have the disease.  A recent study in the Cancer Chemotherapy Pharmacology journal showed that 20 mg. of melatonin taken alongside other cancer treatments increased remission by almost 50%, increased one year survival by 45% and significantly reduced side effects from conventional cancer treatment.
    3. Melatonin is highly beneficial in those with diabetes.  It protects the pancreatic cells, slowing down the progression of this disease.  It also has very strong anti-oxidant properties reducing the damage to kidneys, eyes and circulation that is common in those with diabetes.
    4. Melatonin protects against Alzheimer’s disease and slows down progression in the early stages of the disease.  This is due to its strong anti-oxidant properties along with its ability to readily cross the blood-brain barrier. 
    5. Melatonin may help prevent osteoporosis.   While further research is needed, early studies suggest that melatonin may prevent bone loss and increase new bone formation. 
    6. Those who struggle to lose weight may benefit from melatonin.  Lack of sleep causes an increase in appetite through disruption of your appetite hormones resulting in the consumption of more food in those who are sleep-deprived.  As well, recent animal studies suggest that melatonin intake may decrease abdominal fat and activate your body to burn fat rather than storing it. 

    It’s important to know that you can increase your natural production of melatonin by making sure that you sleep in a dark room (light of any type turns off production and destroys melatonin) and by reducing the number of electric appliances in your bedroom (electromagnetic radiation also reduces melatonin production).   It’s interesting to note that deep sleep itself increases your production of melatonin. 

    Natural melatonin production decreases as you age.  This is why it often becomes more difficult to get a “good night’s sleep” as you grow older.  If you struggle with getting a good night’s sleep, you may want to consider taking a Melatonin supplement.  Melatonin has no known side effects and unlike other sleeping pills is not addictive and does not disrupt your normal sleeping pattern.  Please note that the production of Melatonin supplements is not well regulated and quality may vary significantly between different brands.  Feel free to contact me if you would like more information on recommended brands.

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