Melatonin Full Review and In Depth Look

Melatonin is a hormone that is used to regulate sleep. It is produced in the pineal gland located at the top of the vertebral spine.

Circadian Rhythms

It regulates your circadian rhythms which affect how awake, or how energised you feel at certain points of the day.

People who suffer from a lack of Melatonin can find it hard to sleep properly – many insomnia sufferers find that they actually don’t produce enough Melatonin, and supplementation sorts it out.

Sources of Melatonin

There are some foods that you can take that will naturally boost your melatonin levels.

A study in 2013 found that tropical fruits such as

  • Bananas
  • Pineapples
  • Oranges

Could significantly increase serum melatonin levels [1].

Other studies have found tart cherries to be really effective [2], as are plums [3]. So you could try having some fruit before bed.

Interestingly it seems that both beer and wine can also increase melatonin [4] – although if you’ve ever had to carry your sleeping buddy out of a bar this might not seem too surprising!

Another option would be dietary supplements, you can take oral dosages of melatonin without prescription in most countries. Though you should ask your doctor first as it can interfere with certain medications.

Benefits of Melatonin Supplementation

Useful for Jet Lag

There are quite a few benefits to melatonin supplementation. As mentioned earlier it can be a cure for insomnia, and it can also be really useful for sufferers of jet lag. It can also help protect against stomach ulcers.

Reduce Cortisol

There is a slight reduction in blood pressure as well when taking melatonin, so it’s good for the cardiovascular system. It may also reduce cortisol if you take it before bed.

Indirect Benefits

A lot of the other benefits of melatonin supplementation are indirect. So melatonin can improve sleep which can lead to increased testosterone and growth hormone levels, while increasing Leptin and reducing Ghrelin levels (which will help prevent overeating).

These are great benefits which will help you lose weight and build muscle, but they are not directly caused by melatonin supplementation.

What Dosage Should You Take?

According to examine.com you can see good results when taking melatonin at doses ranging from 0.5mg to 5mg [5].

This will help to regulate sleep.

If you want to increase growth hormone levels then taking a dose towards the 5mg end of the scale would be advisable.

Final Verdict

Underrated Supplement

Melatonin is an underrated supplement, and in many ways it is an underappreciated neurohormone. Sleep is so vital to health and body composition, and low melatonin levels can severely disrupt it.

If you have trouble falling asleep or especially if you are suffering from jet lag then either a melatonin supplement, or the foods that were mentioned earlier might be a really good idea!

Alternative Ways to Improve Sleep

Remember though that there are many ways that you can also improve your sleep. Exercising regularly, avoiding caffeine at night, meditation before bedtime, and a lack of electronic devices before bed can all make a big difference.

Cherry on Top

Think of melatonin supplements as the cherry on top, rather than the miracle pill solution.

References

[1] Sae-Teaw, M., Johns, J., Johns, N., Subongkot, S. 2013. Serum melatonin levels and antioxidant capacities after consumption of pineapple, orange, or banana by healthy male volunteers. Journal of Pineal Research 55(1): 58-64 (link) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23137025

[2] Burkhardt, S., Tan, D., Manchester, L., Hardeland, R., Reiter, R. 2001. Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry 49(10): 4898-902 (link) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11600041

[3] Gonzalez-Flores, D., Belen, V., Garrido, M., Rodriguez, A. 2011. Ingestion of Japanese plums (Prunus salicina Lindl. Cv. Crimson Globe) increases the urinary 6 sulfatoxymelatonin and total antioxidant capacity levels in young, middle-aged and elderly humans: Nutritional and functional characterization of their content. Journal of Food & Nutrition Research 50(4): 229-236 (link) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259983119_Ingestion_of_Japanese_plums_Prunus_salicina_Lindl_cv_Crimson_Globe_increases_the_urinary_6_sulfatoxymelatonin_and_total_antioxidant_capacity_levels_in_young_middle-aged_and_elderly_humans_Nutritional_

[4] Lamont, K., Somers, S., Lacerda, L., Opie, L., Lecour, S. 2011. Is red wine a safe sip away from cardioprotection? Mechansims involved in Resveratrol – and melatonin – induced cardioprotection. Journal of Pineal Research 50(4): 374-80 (link) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21342247

[5] https://examine.com/supplements/melatonin/

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