What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a natural hormone found in animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria. This natural hormone has been used as a sleep aid, for treating sleep disorders, powerful antioxidant, and to regulate blood pressure. It can be purchased in liquid, capsule or tablet form. In the U.S. it can be purchased at health food stores, department stores, pharmacy and other stores online. In some countries it requires a prescription from a licensed doctor. It has been proved to be very effective for treating insomnia in the elderly. It is also used for treating seasonal affective disorder. This supplement can be used in the treatment of anti-hypertensive therapy.
People who take it for treating insomnia should take the dose in the evening hours because it does cause drowsiness. It is also helpful in reducing the effect of jet lag. This hormone contains natural protective properties. Studies have shown that it can convert cholesterol to bile. It is very useful in preventing oxidative stress. It also increases the mobility of gall stones in the gall bladder. Melatonin protects against the radiation-induced cell damage. In autistic people, this natural hormone is used for improving sleep. It is also useful in treating anxiety and stress. It contains natural anti-inflammatory properties. People who use it for daytime fatigue report an improvement.
Melatonin as an antioxidant
This hormone is a very powerful free-radical antioxidant. It works with other antioxidants in the way of improving the effectiveness of the other antioxidants. It offers two times the power of vitamin E. It has been proved as a better protector against the mitochondrial oxidative stress. Some researchers say that it may be helpful in fighting certain infectious diseases. This supplement enhances the immune system and fights against certain diseases like bacterial infections, viral infections like HIV and certain types of cancer. Melatonin is known to promote sleep when taken several hours before bedtime.
The natural hormone production is started in the evening hours which is the time known as dim light melatonin onset. Blue light is known to suppress melatonin. Eye glasses or shades that block blue light in the evening hours can decrease the loss of melatonin. Melatonin is cleared from the body by passing through the urine, the liver, and through saliva.
In the U.S. this is classified as a dietary supplement and it has not been approved by the FDA. Melatonin food studies show that this supplement is naturally found in some foods like cherries, bananas, grapes, rice cereal, olive oil, herbs, pineapple, orange, beer, and wine. When we consume these foods that contain melatonin the levels of this supplement will increase in the bloodstream. Some beverage and snacks contain melatonin as naturally or as an additive ingredient.
Can Melatonin raise Glutathione Levels?
Cells in our body contain Glutathione naturally from amino acids. This is what helps to combat the free radicals in our body and acts like a powerful antioxidant. As we age and get older, glutathione decreases in our bodies. It also acts as a natural detox in the body. It is known to boost the immune system and fight against infertility. Melatonin plays a major role in keeping our immune system healthy. It is also very effective in raising the levels of Glutathione in the body. Eating foods rich in melatonin can help accomplish raising the Glutathione levels. Taking melatonin as a supplement can also achieve the results.
Side Effects of Melatonin
The most common side effects of melatonin are a severe allergic reaction like rash, hives and difficulty breathing, tightness of chest, swelling of mouth, face, lips, and tongue, confused, depression, rapid heartbeat, low body temp or hypothermia, fast breathing, shivering cold. If you experience any of these symptoms then you should see a doctor right away and stop taking melatonin.
Caffeine or coffee and fluvoxamine may have an increase in the the effects of melatonin. Melatonin may decrease the anti-hypertensive effect of nifedipine. Melatonin may possibly increase the effects of warfarin or other blood thinners.
Before Taking Melatonin
As with any herb or dietary supplement before you begin treatment, you should seek the advice of your health care provider and let the doctor know of all prescriptions and non-prescriptions, vitamins and minerals you are taking. You doctor will let you know if you can benefit from taking melatonin and the doctor will also tell you the correct dosage to take. Melatonin is not intended to cure major diseases but is said in reducing the symptoms. Your doctor may want to see you regularly after you begin treatment with melatonin so the doctor can take blood tests or lab work to monitor the level of melatonin in your bloodstream.
The History of Melatonin
Studies on this natural hormone date back to the 1960's.It was discovered during this time that this natural hormone is produced by the body in a few different organs like the eye, gastrointestinal tract, bones, skin, lymphocytes, platelets, and the thymus. Many studies have been done since the 60's with the testing on animals. Today you can find a variety of commercial brands of melatonin. It can be purchased at an inexpensive price and since it has not been approved by the FDA, the FDA warns users of melatonin that it may or may not be safe.