February 13 2021
The pineal gland in our brain is responsible for melatonin production in our body. Normally people consume melatonin supplements for getting restful sleep. Melatonin provides several other benefits, but its role in maintaining the circadian rhythm in our body is regarded as the most important one.
The circadian rhythm is also known as our body’s internal clock. It instructs the body to sleep and wake accordingly. The circadian clock is located at the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) region of our brain. SCN creates and maintains a regular sleep as well as a wake cycle according to daily pattern of light and darkness.
Most incredible health benefits of melatonin: -
Acts as a powerful antioxidant
Melatonin maintains health on a cellular level by increasing the antioxidant enzymes in our body. It also functions by binding and neutralizing reactive oxygen species (ROSs) and reactive nitrogen species (RNSs), thus making them inactive and less harmful. ROSs, as well as RNSs, are considered harmful as they play their part in damaging the DNA or RNA of the cells, further leading to aging, infertility, and even cancer. Accordant to a study, 1 molecule of melatonin can neutralize up to 10 molecules of ROSs and RNSs. The study also found out melatonin’s effectiveness as a detoxifier for our system.
Protects the mitochondria and inhibits cell death
Mitochondria is considered the powerhouse of our body as it helps in generating energy. When mitochondria generate energy, it also produces ROSs and RNSs as its by-products. Melatonin aids in removing ROSs and RNSs from the mitochondria of the cells, thereby protecting it. Moreover, it also helps in preventing disease in these parts of our body when present in a sufficient amount. According to several studies, melatonin was found to be very effective in protecting and restoring the cell’s function against toxins that attacked the mitochondria of the cells.
Reduces inflammation in the body and also aids the immune system
Several pieces of research have suggested melatonin as an immune-stimulant and anti-inflammatory agent. According to a study, melatonin was found responsible for reducing cell oxidation as well as free radicals in the immune cells specifically related to neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, traumatic brain injuries, and many other diseased conditions.
Helps in maintaining sleep and circadian rhythm
Melatonin is often referred to as a sleep hormone due to its ability to help maintain better sleep as well as treating issues like insomnia. Multiple studies have demonstrated melatonin’s effectiveness in aiding better sleep. According to a study, melatonin consumption two hours before bed helped in enhancing oversleep quality in insomnia patients. Another study also found out melatonin’s effectiveness in improving sleep quality, increasing total sleep time, and reducing the amount of time it took to fall asleep in people suffering from sleep disorders.
Helps in maintaining good brain health
Melatonin also plays a good part in brain regeneration and neuroplasticity. According to research, melatonin was responsible for activating Brain-Derived Neuropathic Factor (BDNF), a protein that helped in maintaining health, wellness, and regeneration of the nerve cells. Melatonin also aids in strengthening the blood-brain barrier. A study demonstrated melatonin’s effectiveness in decreasing edema, permeability in the blood-brain barrier, and intracranial pressure area of patients with brain injury. Melatonin also helped reducing brain swelling and brain cell death in people suffering from a stroke. According to several studies, melatonin was also found beneficial and effective while treating patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Helps in treating people suffering from Parkinson’s disease
People having Parkinson’s disease mostly suffer from sleep disorders. According to a newly conducted research, it was evident that melatonin was very effective in providing Parkinson’s patients with better sleep quality, thereby also slowing the course of the disease.
Helps in treating people with Epilepsy
Melatonin’s anticonvulsant properties are very effective in treating audiogenic, electrical, as well as induced seizures in patients suffering from Epilepsy.
Helps in reducing symptoms related to anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a condition that affects up to 10 % of the population worldwide. Change of seasons occurring each year around the same time is the main factor for the cause of this type of depression. Several pieces of research indicate a strong link between circadian rhythm and seasonal light changes. According to a study, consumption of melatonin tablets twice daily helped in improving alterations in the circadian rhythm, thereby also reduced symptoms related to seasonal depression.
Helps in increasing HGH levels in our body
Human growth hormone (HGH) is solely responsible for the growth and cellular regeneration of our body. An increase in HGH levels contributes to increasing strength and muscle. According to a study, HGH levels were significantly increased in the consumption of melatonin.
Helps in the promotion of eye health
Our eyes are the only region in our body where melatonin is produced. Melatonin plays a huge part in the development of our eyes. Shortage of melatonin often leads to various problems. Melatonin has been found very effective in protecting eye cells from cell death and condition like glaucoma.
Helps in protecting the stomach
Backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus is responsible for the cause of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is further associated with symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, and belching. Melatonin works by decreasing the production of nitric acid, which is responsible for the relaxation of our body’s lower esophageal sphincter, thus allowing stomach acids to enter the esophagus. This is how melatonin blocks the secretion of stomach acids and thereby prevent GERD.
Helps in treating ear conditions like tinnitus
According to many research studies, melatonin was found 150 times more effective than other drugs in treating ear problems like tinnitus.
Contradictions and side effects related to melatonin
Melatonin has been labeled as safe and effective by researchers for both short and long term therapy. However, melatonin therapy is currently not recommended in children or adolescents. Furthermore, people who are on antidepressants, blood thinners, and blood pressure medications are advised not to consume melatonin as it might lead to serious drug interaction.
Some side effects associated with melatonin are nausea, headache, dizziness, and sleepiness.
Dosage recommended for melatonin consumption
Most melatonin supplements recommend a dose of 0.5-10 milligrams daily for maximum benefits. Furthermore, it is also highly recommended to consume to get the best results.
Despite having some drug interactions and side effects, melatonin is yet considered a very effective and beneficial supplement in treating various conditions such as GERD, insomnia, depression, etc. However, indications on the label should be properly followed to get maximum benefits and zero side effects.
Example of a good melatonin supplement
This health supplement helps in decreasing jet jag syndrome, adjusts sleep cycles in the blind, and is also useful in treating insomnias.