Melatonin is produced naturally in the body by the pineal gland.1.2 It is a primary hormone involved in regulating the body's circadian rhythms and female menstrual cycle.1,3,4 It also plays important roles in blood pressure regulation, seasonal reproduction, immune system health, and bone and tooth health.1,5.6 Melatonin levels are higher at night, suppressed by bright light, and decline as we age. Low levels of melatonin can cause sleep disturbances, as it is a primary component in the sleep-wake cycle.1,7 Melatonin is derived from tryptophan, an essential amino acid. When tryptophan is consumed through the foods we eat, it is converted into serotonin (a neurotransmitter) and then broken down further into melatonin at night.1
Has powerful antioxidant effects.1,8-11
Promotes brain health even under challenging conditions.1,12-17
Potentially beneficial in preventing abnormal cellular development.1,17-24
Has immune-enhancing properties.1,25-32
Beneficial when used peri-operatively (surrounding surgeries).1,33-41
Promotes better sleep.1,42-46
Helps avoid jet lag.1,47-50
Aids in the biologic regulation of circadian rhythms.1,3,51
Supports reproductive and follicular health in women desiring to get pregnant.4,9,52-57
Has adaptogenic properties.58-60
Promotes a healthy inflammatory response.61-66
Adverse reactions associated with melatonin include morning grogginess and daytime hangover. Aspirin, NSAIDS, and beta-blockers may lead to decreased melatonin levels. Use of melatonin with benzodiazepenes, sedating antihistamines, sedating antidepressants, and other sedating drugs may cause additive sedation and increase incidence of adverse effects.
Those who use melatonin supplements to help with sleep disturbances or jet lag usually take about 3 mg at bed time. Morning drowsiness indicates a dose is too high. Dose can be increased under physician supervision to obtain a good night's sleep.
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