Melatonin

Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain and is important in the regulation of many hormones in the body. Among its key roles, melatonin controls the body's circadian rhythm, an internal 24-hour time-keeping system that plays an important role in when we fall asleep and when we wake up. Darkness stimulates the release of melatonin and light suppresses its activity. Normal melatonin cycles are disrupted when we are exposed to excessive light in the evening or too little light during the daytime. 

Melatonin is also one of the hormones that controls the timing and release of female reproductive hormones. As a result, melatonin helps determine when menstruation begins, the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles, and when menstruation ends (menopause).  

Insomnia
Although results are still controversial, studies suggest that melatonin supplements help induce sleep in people with disrupted circadian rhythms (such as those suffering from jet lag or poor vision or those who work the night shift) and those with low melatonin levels (such as some elderly and individuals with schizophrenia). In fact, a recent review of scientific studies found that melatonin supplements help prevent jet lag, particularly in people who cross five or more time zones.

Osteoporosis
Melatonin has been shown in laboratory studies to stimulate cells called osteoblasts that promote bone growth. Given that melatonin levels may also be lower in some older individuals such as postmenopausal women, current studies are investigating whether or not decreased melatonin levels contribute to the development of osteoporosis, and whether treatment with melatonin can help prevent this condition.

Menopause
Melatonin supplements may benefit menopausal women by promoting and sustaining sleep. Peri- or postmenopausal women who use melatonin supplements to regulate sleep patterns should do so only for a short period of time since long term effects, as indicated earlier, are not known.

Depression
In one small study of 10 people with a particular type of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (depressive symptoms that develop during the winter months when exposure to light is lessened), those who received
melatonin. 

supplements had significant improvement in their symptoms compared to those who received placebo. Given the small size of this study, however, more research is needed before conclusions can be drawn regarding use of melatonin for either seasonal affective disorder or any other type of depression. This is particularly true since one study from the 1970s suggested that symptoms of depression may worsen when taking melatonin.

Eating Disorders
Melatonin levels may play a role in the symptoms of anorexia. For example, abnormally low melatonin levels may cause depressed mood in people with this condition. However, it is not known whether supplementation will change the course of the disease. Some researchers speculate that low melatonin levels in people with anorexia may indicate who is likely to benefit from antidepressant medications (a treatment often used for eating disorders).

Breast Cancer
Several studies indicate that melatonin levels may be linked with breast cancer risk. For example, women with breast cancer tend to have lower levels of melatonin than those without the disease. In addition, laboratory experiments have found that low levels of melatonin stimulate the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells and adding melatonin to these cells inhibits their growth. Preliminary laboratory and clinical evidence also suggests that melatonin may enhance the effects of some chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer. In a study that included a small number of women with breast cancer, melatonin (administered 7 days before beginning chemotherapy) prevented the lowering of platelets in the blood. This is a common complication of chemotherapy, known as thrombocytopenia, that can lead to bleeding.

Prostate Cancer
Similar to breast cancer, studies of people with prostate cancer suggest that melatonin levels are lower compared to men without cancer, and test tube studies have found that melatonin inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells. In one small-scale study, melatonin (when used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment) improved survival rates in 9 out of 14 patients with metastatic prostate cancer. Interestingly, meditation appears to be a valuable addition to the treatment of prostate cancer. The positive effects of meditation may be due to a rise in levels of melatonin in the body. Although these early results are intriguing, more research is needed.

Cancer-related Weight Loss
Weight loss and malnutrition are of great concern for people with cancer. In one study of 100 people with advanced cancer that had spread throughout the body, those who received melatonin supplements were less likely to lose weight than those who did not receive the supplement.

Sarcoidosis
Some physicians use melatonin to help treat sarcoidosis (a condition where fibrous tissue develops in the lungs and other tissues). Two case reports suggest that melatonin may be helpful for those who do not improve from conventional steroid treatment.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
In a group of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, melatonin levels were low compared to healthy individuals without arthritis. When treated with the anti-inflammatory medication indomethacin, melatonin levels returned to normal. The chemical structure of melatonin resembles indomethacin, so researchers speculate that melatonin supplements may work similarly to this medication for people with rheumatoid arthritis. This theory has not been tested, however.

Epilepsy
Preliminary research suggests that melatonin reduces the number of seizures in certain animal species and may reduce seizures in people with epilepsy. However, not all experts agree with these findings. In fact, concern has been raised that melatonin (1 to 5 mg per day) may actually induce seizures, particularly in children with neurologic disorders. 

Heart Disease
Low levels of melatonin in the blood have been associated with heart disease, but it is not clear whether melatonin levels are low in response to having heart disease or if low levels of melatonin predispose people to developing this condition. In addition, several studies in rats suggest that melatonin may protect the hearts of these animals from the damaging effects of ischemia (decreased blood flow and oxygen that often leads to a heart attack). It is not known from this information, however, whether melatonin supplements may help prevent or treat heart disease in people. More research and scientific information is needed before conclusions can be drawn.

Supplement Facts: 100 Tablets (13 mg per tablet) -  Melatonin   3 mg -  Vitamin B6 10 mg
Suggested Use:
As a nutritional supplement for adults, take 1 tablet twenty minutes before bedtime.

 

 

Serving Size Price
Melatonin  100 Tabs $15.95


 

 

 

 

Medical Disclaimer

The information and procedures contained herein is not presented as medical advice nor should it be used as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner. The information contained herein has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and the information set forth herein are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease nor should any information contained herein be read as prescribing any specific remedy or guaranteeing any specific result. We are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any of the suggestions preparations, or procedures discussed herein. All matters pertaining to your physical health should be supervised by a health care professional.