Most of you have heard of melatonin before, but it’s likely that you usually only hear about it in regards to insomnia or sleep issues. What you may not know is that it seems to play a role in other health concerns we frequently hear about, including cancers, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, just to name a few.
Melatonin is a compound in our body that helps to regulate sleep as well as other physiological rhythms in our body. It is secreted by the pineal gland and is a hormone that is affected by light. Light suppresses levels of melatonin, while darkness helps to trigger our body to secrete more of this compound. What’s interesting about melatonin is that its levels start to wane as we age and certain medications seem to alter its levels in our body as well.
Here are 15 impressive melatonin benefits for your body:
1. Natural Sleep Aid
Melatonin for sleep is by far its best-known usage as a natural remedy. When it comes to sleep trouble, conventional medical treatment typically involves pharmaceutical drugs, but these medications frequently lead to long-term dependence and come with a laundry list of possible side effects. This is why many people want to find something more natural to help them have a more restful night’s sleep.
Research suggests that supplementing with melatonin may help people with disrupted circadian rhythms, such as people who work the night shift and people who have jet lag. Melatonin supplementation may also help individuals sleep better who have chronically low melatonin levels, as people with schizophrenia, who have poor sleep quality.
2. A Potent Antioxidant
Melatonin is a powerful and versatile antioxidant produced within the body. It protects both lipids and proteins against damage, and it can scavenge some of the most dangerous free radicals in the body.
Unlike other antioxidants, melatonin readily diffuses into all cells and even crosses the blood-brain barrier to protect the delicate brain. Supplementing with melatonin may help older adults enhance their antioxidant protection against some of the most ravaging diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.
3. Reduces Inflammation And Promotes Healthy Immune Function
Melatonin receptors are present in a wide variety of immune cells. It is immunomodulatory, which means that it reduces excessive immune function in inflammatory conditions and enhances immune function in immunocompromised people.
Melatonin can reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines including IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-alpha. Also, by reducing free radicals in the microglial (immune cells that are specific to the brain), melatonin can reduce brain inflammation through lowering NF-kB. In humans and rodents, melatonin can promote healthy immune responses, and reverse suppression of the immune system due to aging, steroid medications, lead and chemical exposures.
4. Helps With Jet Lag
Circadian rhythm sleep disorders (CRSD) are disorders that occur when the circadian system does not function properly due to jet lag or shift work. It causes a persistent pattern of sleep disturbance. Melatonin and melatonin supplements can shift the phase of the circadian rhythm in animals and humans.
5. Potential Treatment For Breast And Prostate Cancer
Several studies suggest that low melatonin levels may be associated with breast cancer risk. Research found that melatonin may inhibit tumor growth and cell production, as well as block the formation of new blood vessels in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer models. This research shows melatonin’s potential as a therapeutic agent for breast cancer.
Another study looked at women who were taking the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen for breast cancer but not seeing any improvement. With the addition of melatonin to their treatment regimens, researchers found that tumors modestly shrank in more than 28 percent of the women.
Studies also show that men with prostate cancer have lower melatonin levels than men without the disease. One aimed to verify whether melatonin might modulate the growth of androgen-dependent prostate cancer cells. The results demonstrated that melatonin could significantly inhibit the proliferation of prostate cancer cells.
6. A Smooth Muscle Relaxant
One of the ways that Melatonin Supplements benefit some people is its ability to relax 'smooth' muscles. This is different than most muscle relaxants that are mostly used to help relax SKELETAL muscles – such as back muscles or shoulder muscles that you have conscious control over. Smooth muscles, by contrast, are muscles that you have little or no control over under most circumstances.
One of the lesser known melatonin benefits is its effects on the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. It can help to relax these muscles to the extent that it has been shown to be of benefit in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, esophageal reflux and other problems of digestive irritability. This makes sense since melatonin is not JUST produced in the pineal gland between the eyes, but it's also produced in the gastrointestinal tract too. It's possible that this is an adaptive mechanism to prevent irritability and inflammation from stress. Just another one of the exciting melatonin benefits.
7. Decreases Negative Menopause Symptoms
Melatonin supplements have been shown to improve sleep problems experienced during menopause. This is excellent news because it shows that melatonin can help reduce common negative perimenopause symptoms and menopause symptoms, like sleeping problems.
8. Protects The Brain
Melatonin not only helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation inside the brain but also increase BDNF and strengthen the blood-brain barrier. It has been proposed as a treatment for several brain and neurological diseases. It also protects nerve cells. Melatonin demonstrated an antioxidant effect in the brain, spinal cord, optic nerve, and spinal cord white matter.
9. Essential For Eye Health And Vision
The cells of the eye, especially the retina, make melatonin. Light influences melatonin production, while the cells that react to light produce melatonin. The more light there is, the less melatonin the cells in the eye produce. Disruption of MT receptors leads to the death of cone cells, the cells in the eye that help the eye to discern color.
Melatonin is also essential for healthy eye development. It was also shown to protect human cells that make eye pigment from cell death.
10. Heart Disease Helper
Multiple studies suggest that melatonin has heart-protective properties. Specifically, research shows that when it comes to cardiovascular health, melatonin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It also can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It seems to have cardioprotective properties via its direct free radical scavenger activity. Overall, the protective abilities of melatonin may be able to help reduce and treat cardiovascular diseases.
11. Effects On The Reproductive System
Depending upon who you are, the melatonin effects on the reproductive system may be one of the melatonin benefits- or it may be a problem. Melatonin is quite useful in dosages that are EXTREMELY low. In fact, a normal Melatonin Dosage of even as low as 0.1 mg has been shown to be an effective dose for adults and children. But EXTREMELY high doses, what some would consider close to a Melatonin Overdose, have been used effectively over long periods of time as a natural female contraceptive.
12. Help With Glaucoma
Additionally, it decreases elevated pressure in the eye in humans. The disturbances in melatonin function may be one of the causes of glaucoma. Melatonin and 5-MCA-NAT (a molecule similar to melatonin) are promising agents for treating glaucoma, which is an eye condition caused by elevated pressure.
13. Fibromyalgia And Chronic Pain Relief
Fibromyalgia symptoms include long-term and widespread pain in muscles and connective tissues, without any specific cause. A randomized, placebo-controlled study of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome evaluated melatonin’s effectiveness at reducing symptoms. It found that patients experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms when they took a melatonin dosage either alone or in conjunction with the antidepressant fluoxetine.
14. Helps Relieve Stress
Melatonin levels change when you are experiencing stress. Stress decreases melatonin concentrations at night and increases melatonin production during the day, which is due to the increase of cortisol, the stress hormone. Melatonin can help to relieve stress by controlling the level of stimulation experienced by the body.
If you are feeling anxious, melatonin helps to ease anxiety symptoms like daytime fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, and restlessness. It also promotes a calm mood, and it supports brain function.
15. Relieves Noises in the Ear (Tinnitus)
Tinnitus is the unexplained noise in the ears that affects many people: the elderly, those with a hearing disability, or those affected as a result of certain drugs. Melatonin was 150 times more efficient compared with other medications that treat tinnitus at decreasing tinnitus symptoms. In elderly patients with tinnitus, melatonin levels are deficient. This may indicate that its levels are connected with normal ear activity.
When used properly, melatonin has been shown to help several different sleep issues, whether it’s the temporary woes of jet lag or a more chronic sleep issue like insomnia. The scientific findings when it comes to cancer and heart health are also highly impressive. In this post, I shared with you 15 impressive melatonin benefits for your body.
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