Melatonine is the hormon that regulate sleep. Nowadays, we can find in pharmacies and parapharmacies many melatonin dietary supplements that are marketed as the new panacea to fall asleep, as not only does it fight insomnia but it also has other health benefits, such as its antioxidant effects and the prevention of the aging process of the cells, which contributes to reduce the risk of cancer and of suffering a cardiovascular diseases.
The properties of melatonin and its possible side effects have not been sufficiently investigated, for this reason it is only used as a natural remedy to combat insomnia in the UK.
Effects of melatonin
What are the effects of melatonin?
Melatonin is the hormone that controls the biological sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm.
It is produced by the body itself. It is synthesized in the brain, mainly in the pineal gland (epiphysis), although other smaller amounts are formed in the retina of the eye, in the digestive tract and intestine.
However, melatonin in the pineal gland is primarily responsible for the sleep-wake cycle. The hormone is only secreted by the pineal gland at night.
The system operates as follows: the level of melatonin is secreted in the blood and this gradually increases to its highest point halfway through the night. In the early hours of the day it drops again because of the light inhibiting it.
In addition, the hormone has many more effects on health: it reduces the temperature of the body, stimulates the immune system, is involved in the secretion of sex hormones and affects learning and memory.
Melatonin is not limited only to regulating the sleep-wake cycle, but also participates in many biological functions which include, for example, renal function and blood pressure levels, in addition to the circadian rhythm.
Since melatonin not only affects the sleep-wake process, but it is also involved in other biological processes, one should assess these effects before taking this hormone.
What produces melatonin disorders
Working night shifts or jet-lag when traveling abroad, can cause alterations in the normal production of melatonin.
An additional intake of melatonin can correct these disruptions and help people to sleep. Despite this, melatonin remains controversial.
In some clinical studies on jet lag, melanin was found to positively affect sleep. But, in other cases the benefits were not demonstrated until after a period of one day had already elapsed. This is because their impact is influenced by many varied circumstances: time differences, different types of flight, etc.
The additional intake of the prescribed dose of melatonin also helps the body to get used to the normal daily routine while working shifts.
The recommended dose of melatonin also helps people who are blind, or whose sleep-wake cycle does not follow the day-night rhythm.
Factors that reduce the synthesis of melatonin
An inadequate diet
Tobacco and alcohol
Taking anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Medications for anxiety
Medications for hypertension, antagonists or blockers of beta and calcium channels
Birth control pills
Main properties and benefits of melatonin
Melatonin's antioxidant effects are scientifically proven.
The hormone melatonin intercepts free radicals that damage and destroy cells. Unlike other fat-soluble antioxidants, melatonin provides a much more complete protection against free radicals.
This is because the ageing of cells is related to the decline in melatonin. When the melatonin begins to decline this triggers cellular ageing.
Due to the antioxidant properties of melatonin, it not only has anti-ageing properties but many other health benefits. These benefits include helping to prevent and control cancer and cardiovascular diseases, in particular.
The effects of melatonin on cancer have been investigated in different trials, but with conflicting results. For this reason, consulting with a medical doctor is recommended for patients with cancer, or who are receiving chemotherapy.
Melatonin and depression
Changes in the production of melatonin are particularly frequent during winter, since there is a decrease in light levels.
This can result in sleep disorders, fatigue and depression. To avoid this problem you should go out and walk a little in the light of the day. Daylight contributes to the inhibition of the secretion of melatonin and regulates its levels in the blood.
In cases of more severe symptoms a greater degree of light therapy should be applied.
It has mental and emotional health improving properties. This hormone helps combat depression and is able to stabilise moods. It is effective in helping older adults to protect themselves from some of the diseases associated with ageing, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's and strokes.
Melatonin and insomnia
As we age, our body produces less melatonin and there is a greater difficulty sleeping for this reason.
Therefore, in the case of people over 55 years of age, many experts recommend taking melatonin capsules for sleep.
This supplement is suitable for helping sleep, treating insomnia and poor quality sleep in the short term (primary insomnia).
Sleep disorders caused by diseases or medications can be successfully treated with melatonin.
However, the treatment of more severe sleep disorders with melatonin is much more difficult, since many individuals do not obtain satisfactory results only by taking it.
Tip: If you suffer from insomnia, you should try to sleep in a very dark room so that the pineal gland system distributes melatonin for as long as possible. Not having the television switched on or taking work to bed is also recommended. We strongly advise against the use of computer screens, mobile phones or tablets before bedtime.
Melatonin and the immune system
Melatonin has the ability to promote the proper function of T-lymphocytes and stimulate the synthesis of interleukin-4, which in turn works on the stromal cells in bone marrow and favours the synthesis of hematopoietic factors, helping to counteract the weakening of the immune system caused by stress, changes in temperature, intake of certain drugs (including chemotherapy) and the effect of viruses, etc.
It is known for possessing a significant a antioxidant action associated with mitigating the symptoms of ageing and for that reason is known as the "youth hormone". Its action helps to neutralize free radicals, helping to slow ageing. It also has the ability to pass through the membranes of all cells of the body, including in the brain.
Melatonin positively influences quality of life, especially for older people
Melatonin and migraines
A promising study also suggests melatonin may reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. Scientists attribute this effect to its anti-inflammatory action and the effect of sweeping away free radicals which contributes to headache relief.
It can help women regulate their menstrual cycle. This is due to the fact that melatonin is also one of the hormones controlling the timing and release of female reproductive hormones. For this reason, melatonin can help to determine when menstruation starts, the frequency and duration of the cycle and when it finally ends (menopause).
It promotes the synthesis of growth hormone in the body. New investigations that are being done regarding this hormone show that it has a positive effect on the natural synthesis of human growth hormones. Taking into account that growth hormone is released during sleep and that melatonin induces sleep, increasing its length and quality, we can say that these two hormones have a very close relationship.
It protects the cells of our body from oxidation which produces free radicals, which also play a role in ageing. In addition, this hormone helps one avoid fatigue, chronic tiredness, sleepiness and lack of energy. We know that proper rest is essential for people who practice sport. Quality of sleep affects not only the necessary recovery of energy, but also in making sure that all regeneration processes run correctly.
In addition to being a natural sleep remedy, taking melatonin is also recommended as a dietary supplement to treat other health problems: fighting cellular ageing, fat-burning, combatting hair loss and preventing and mitigating the adverse effects of diseases such as AIDS, Alzheimer's and various types of cancer.
How to take melatonin
You must take the indicated dose for the dietary supplement, 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
Doses of melatonin
The dose of melatonin we recommend ranges between 1 to 3 milligrams, which is also the amount that is usually indicated on the majority of food supplements.
Taking melatonin can be accompanied by other natural supplements that promote relaxation, such as Valerian, Passiflora, Melisa and Tila.
What are the side effects of melatonin?
When melatonin is taken during a short period of time (two to three months maximum) side effects are barely observable.
The most typical are: sleepiness, decreased concentration, nightmares, stomach cramps, dizziness, headaches, irritability, decreased sexual desire and even interruption of the natural sleep-wake circadian rhythms.
However, the risks and side effects of the administration of melatonin over the long term are still unexplored. In any case, carefully reading the instructions provided for the product and always following the recommended dosage is advisable.
For safety reasons you should avoid taking melatonin during pregnancy, lactation and when suffering from serious allergies.
People with diabetes or high blood pressure should consult a doctor before taking melatonin.
Who should take melatonin?
Melatonin supplements, are recommended especially during periods of insomnia, since they are caused by stress or other factors such as:
Working hours with shifts or different schedules.
Chronic insomnia or difficulty sleeping.
Helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle in blind people.
What interactions can melatonin cause?
There may be a melatonin interaction if ingested along with antiepileptic drugs, antidepressants (SSRIS), and antithrombotics. For this reason, people who are taking these medicines should consult a doctor before taking melatonin.
Melatonin is a supplement that is gaining in popularity among the public, because unlike sleeping pills, it does not cause tolerance and the resultant progressive increase in the amount required and which therefore provides much more satisfactory results.
Putting it another way, as a sleeping pill product it can encourage the body to go to sleep, preparing the organism for a much more natural and complete period of rest. In addition, this hormone has many beneficial properties for the body, such as its highly antioxidant effect.
Where can I buy melatonin products?
Buy melatonin online at Hsnstore.com. We have a wide range of products based on melatonin, aiding relaxation and a good night's rest.