In recent years it has become clearer that Melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, has many other tremendously beneficial effects. In humans, it is produced in the pineal gland. When the sun goes down and darkness naturally occurs, the hypothalamus sends a regulating signal to the pineal gland, to make Melatonin -- if it is able to do so. Too much exposure to light at nighttime or staying up late -- this all decreases the natural production of Melatonin and makes it difficult for the pineal gland to produce enough of it for whole body support. Also, the pineal gland itself can become calcified or damaged by modern living so it is not as able to produce Melatonin. Walter Pierpaoli. M.D. spent years researching this subject using animal studies and thorough this work he recognized that melatonin is a master hormone that has across the board beneficial effects on basic human functioning. Melatonin has been found to extend lifespan in animals and also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer effects in humans.
All of these more global effects of Melatonin were not at first recognized and most people used it only to sleep better or to prevent jetlag. It is now being recommended as an adjunct to cancer treatment as well as treating elevated lipids, high blood pressure, overweight issues, migraines, and more. It is available in low doses of 1.5mg-3mg per pill. Some patients may need to start at a lower dose of 0.5 mg. There are no serious side effects when taking Melatonin in low doses except that some people report nightmares or very vivid dreams; in those cases the dose can be reduced if needed. Too much Melatonin can cause a feeling of grogginess the next day. All in all, everyone over the age of 35 should be taking melatonin at night, especially those individuals over 50 or 60 for its beneficial hormonal regulating and anti-aging effects.
It is always a good idea to review, with a health practitioner, all the supplements and medications you are taking to see if there is a need to add any others to your program or to make adjustments, because as the body works better, dosing requirements change. I have found the key is to modify the doses of medications and supplements according to each individual’s needs. As with anything, the quality of the Melatonin you purchase will affect how it actually helps you. If you are interested in learning more about how Melatonin can help you, please listen to my recent radio show about Melatonin.