Your Health

May 15, 2019

Melatonin Supplement

Melatonin Sleep

Melatonin dietary supplement is known to aid sleep naturally. Melatonin hormone is responsible for regulating your sleep-wake cycle. In situations where the level of this hormone in the blood is not sufficient, the melatonin supplement helps to balance it up. The supplement is known to be useful in the treatment of sleep-related disorders like insomnia, delayed sleep phase, jet lag, etc. Beyond these, the supplement also performs some vital functions in other areas of our health.

This article tells us what melatonin and melatonin supplement are, their functions and benefits to the body as well as the dosage and side effects.

MELATONIN: WHAT IS IT?

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland in the brain. This hormone is responsible for the regulation of the circadian rhythm in your body; this circadian rhythm regulates your sleep-wake schedule. There is a natural level of Melatonin in the body and this is highest at night. Melatonin is present in some foods but also has a supplement which is typically ingested by mouth.

The presence of Melatonin in the body is vital to proper functioning of the body because it works across many systems. Receptors for melatonin are present in the cardiovascular system, brain, liver, intestine, and kidneys.

SOURCES OF MELATONIN

Melatonin is found in some foods but is also available as a supplement to balance up its level in the body if it lacking.

Foods containing melatonin naturally are bananas, ginger, tomatoes, rice, sweet corn, porridge oats barley, red wine, and morello cherries.

There are foods containing tryptophan which induce the production of serotonin which in turn is a requirement in the production of melatonin. Such foods include rice, seafood, sunflower seeds, beans, turkey, chicken, soy and nuts.

In the production of melatonin, some micronutrients are also required; they are Folic acid, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B-6.

FUNCTIONS AND BENEFITS OF MELATONIN SUPPLEMENT TO THE BODY

Melatonin supplement is a very good treatment of sleep disorders arising from jet lag, insomnia or shift work. It is usually taken to induce sleep. Scientific research has revealed that with a melatonin supplement, sleep occurs six minutes faster than when the supplement is not taken. However, the research also shows that there is no difference in the total time asleep with or without the melatonin supplement.

The melatonin supplement is instrumental in the synchronization of the circadian rhythm, the natural internal regulation of the sleep-wake cycle and repeats in a 24-hour rhythm. The circadian cycle is regulated by a circadian clock which is located in the hypothalamus area of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus, SCN.

Children with autism usually have lower-than-normal Melatonin levels so the supplements serve to augment the level of melatonin required to make them access the proper proportion of rest. Some researchers have shown that Melatonin not only reduces the time it takes them to drift to sleep but also improve sleep duration by reducing the number of times they wake up in the night.

Melatonin is known to be potent antioxidants that prevent cell damage and keep the eyes healthy. According to research, it is good for treating glaucoma and Age-related Macular Degeneration AMD. An examination of people with age-related macular degeneration AMD revealed that taking melatonin supplement of 3mg for 6-24 months ‘‘helped protect the retina, delay age-related damage and preserve visual clarity’’ National Institutes of Health, NIH.

The PubMed Central database of the National Institute of Health has revealed that higher levels of the Melatonin hormone may increase fat cells, strength and muscle mass and the Human Growth Hormone, HGM. The HGM is the body hormone that is instrumental to the growth and cellular regeneration, especially in men. Taking melatonin supplement is therefore very important in maintaining the level of the hormone to aid proper growth rate mainly in men.

The melatonin supplement can also reduce symptoms of depression especially seasonal depression also referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD. This is a type of depression that occurs with changing seasons and its symptoms manifest at the same in each year. Research indicates that seasonal depression could be as a result of changes in one’s circadian rhythm resulting from seasonal light changes. It further reveals that low doses of the melatonin supplement taken daily can arrest or decrease the symptoms of this depression because it regulates the circadian rhythm.

Another function of melatonin in the body is that it prevents the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus resulting in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease GERD. Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease GERD include heartburn, belching, nausea, etc. Melatonin supplement boosts the level of melatonin needed to decrease the production of nitric oxide, a compound that prompts the lower esophageal sphincter to relax thereby allowing the flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. Taking a melatonin supplement can, therefore, relieve Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease GERD and heartburn. Taking the supplement along with omeprazole can effectively reduce heartburn and discomfort, NIH said.

Melatonin is known to play a vital role in maintaining the immune system and for relieving acute pancreatitis. Melatonin is also instrumental in regulating blood pressure and ensuring seasonal reproduction.

MELATONIN DOSAGE

There is no one specific dose for melatonin supplement because they are not all the same therefore, it is better to take the supplement based on the recommended dosage on the label. This is best for safe taking and avoiding adverse side effects.

However, daily doses of melanin supplement can range from 0.5 to 10mg. If you are new to the supplement, you can begin with a lower dose and progress on it as is compatible with your body. It is advisable for one to seek a medical caregiver’s advice on taking anything health-related.

If you are taking a melatonin supplement to correct sleep disorder or to alter your circadian rhythm to regularize your sleep-wake schedule, then it is advisable to take the required about two to three hours before going to bed. On the other hand, if you are taking the supplement to increase your hours of sleep, then you should take it about thirty minutes before going to bed. This will improve the effectiveness of the pill and fetch you better sleep quality.

MELATONIN DEFICIENCY AND MELATONIN SUPPLEMENT

The level of melatonin in a body may decrease for one reason or the other. The primary causes of melatonin deficiency include blood sugar imbalance, stress, alcohol, shift work, jet lag, sleeplessness, late night, etc all of which are factors that disrupt sleep or lead to a lack of it.

The rate of melatonin secretion in the body can also be reduced in the presence of full-spectrum light.  Therefore prolonged exposure to light, particularly blue light can lead to melatonin deficiency.

Another cause of melatonin deficiency is old age. Research reveals that as people get older, the rate or level of melatonin secretion in the body reduces and ultimately stops in some older people.

A good remedy to melatonin deficiency is sleep. Improving sleep quality and duration is important. People who find it difficult to sleep should reduce the brightness or entrance of light into their bedrooms by using complete blinds. They should also reduce artificial light from mobile phones and TVs. Another helpful tip is to reduce the intake of foods that can induce blood sugar imbalances and stress hormone production at night like alcohol, caffeine, sugar, etc. It is advisable to take meals that contain melatonin in the evening like sweet corn, bananas, rice, barley, tomatoes, etc.

A very good way of remedying melatonin deficiency is to take melatonin supplements to boost the melatonin level in the body and create the required balance.

RESTRICTIONS

Melatonin supplement is not recommended for some for certain health reasons and precaution. There have been researches on the short and long term effects of melatonin on adults.

However, ample studies have not been done on children and adolescents’ compatibility with the supplement, therefore, it is not recommended for them. In the same vein, Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are advised not to take it since it is not recommended for the children.

People with liver problems are also restricted from taking the supplement. According to the PubMed Central database from the National Institute of Health, melatonin supplement may interfere in some medications like blood pressure, blood thinners and antidepressants medications. It is therefore advisable that people taking any of these medications should seek a medical caregiver’s advice before taking melatonin supplement in order to avoid abuse and misuse of the pill which may lead to adverse side effects.

SIDE EFFECTS OF MELATONIN SUPPLEMENTS

Melatonin supplement is safe and non-addictive therefore side effects are usually minimal if low doses of it are taken for a short period of time. There is a hint that your body’s ability to produce melatonin naturally may diminish if the supplement is taken for a period of time.

However, side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, headaches, abnormal dreams, dizziness, and sleepiness.

CONCLUSION

Melatonin supplement helps in maintaining the required level of melatonin in the body. Melatonin helps to boost eye health, relieve sleep disorders and improve sleep quality, depression especially Seasonal Affective Disorders SAD, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease GERD and growth level

Results from research show that melatonin supplement is safe and non-addictive. Because of this, side effects from both short and long term use of it are very minimal.