6 Hidden Health Benefits of Melatonin

While your body is asleep, it’s raging an internal war. Melatonin, which we often refer to as the “sleep hormone”, serves as a useful ally.

The multi-faceted nature of melatonin is for the most part unknown. Currently, there is research suggesting it may protect, and even treat, certain diseases.

Below we’ve described some of the lesser-known benefits of this widely used supplement.

Melatonin is a Powerful Antioxidant

Did you know that melatonin is a powerful antioxidant? In fact, it’s about twice more potent than vitamin E, and it’s superior to glutathione and vitamin C in reducing oxidative damage.1-2

Studies indicate melatonin protects multiple organs against free radical damage, including the kidneys, brain, pancreas, and eyes.3-6

Melatonin Combats Obesity

The link between poor sleep and obesity is no longer a mystery. Melatonin, interestingly enough, is thought to play a role.

In animal studies, melatonin was found to suppress abdominal fat, plasma leptin (a hunger hormone), while also reducing weight and food intake.7

In addition, melatonin activates brown fat, which causes the body to burn fat rather than to store it8.

Melatonin Prevents Migraines

The cause of migraines has continued to baffle scientists. There is some information suggesting the pineal gland may play a role in the condition.9 Interestingly, this is the same gland that produces melatonin.

Research shows melatonin helps to alleviate migraine pain and reduce the frequency of headaches.10

In one particular study,more than two thirds of migraine patients using melatonin experienced at least a 50% reduction in the number of headaches per month.11

Melatonin Protects Your Bones

Preserving bone mass and strength should be a priority for all aging people, and melatonin could potentially help.

According to a recent study, melatonin was found to improve bone strength and thickness in aging rats.12 Several studies revealed that melatonin increases osteocalcin, a bone-building hormone.13

Melatonin Has Anti-Cancer Benefits

Melatonin supports the role of your immune system. That’s probably why it has notable anti-cancer effects.

According to a review of eight clinical trials, melatonin taken along with conventional treatments was shown to significantly increase the one-year survival rate of cancer patients.

Benefits were seen for breast, colorectal, brain, and lung cancers.14

Melatonin Protects Your Brain

Melatonin demonstrates its power especially in the brain, where it combats neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies indicate that melatonin protects against beta amyloid plaque, one of the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease.15

In addition it slows the cognitive decline associated with the condition.16

The Bottom Line

Even if you’re not having trouble sleeping, supplementing with melatonin may not be a bad idea, especially considering all of its newly emerging benefits.

Thinking of trying it? A good starting dose ranges between 300 mcg to 3 mg daily.

References:

  1. J Neural Transm. 2005;112:349-58.
  2. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2008 Sep;1(2):137-49.
  3. Pharmazie. 2007 Sep;62(9):693-8.
  4. J Pineal Res. 2001 Jan;30(1):22-8.
  5. Exp Eye Res. 2004 Jun;78(6):1069-75.
  6. Histol Histopathol. 2014 Apr;29(4):423-31.
  7. Endocrinology. 2000;141:487-97.
  8. Obes Rev. 2011 Mar;12(3):167-88.
  9. Int J Neurosci. 1992 Nov-Dec;67(1-4):145-71.
  10. Altern Med Rev. 2001 Aug;6(4):383- 9.
  11. Neurology. 2004 Aug 24;63(4):757.
  12. Rejuvenation Res. 2014 Aug;17(4):341-6.
  13. Int J Mol Sci. May 2013; 14(5): 10063–10074.
  14. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2012 May;69(5):1213-20.
  15. J Pineal Res. 2004 May;36(4):224-31.
  16. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2010 Sep;8(3):218-27.

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