Potential Benefits of Melatonin:
Authors note: Having suffered from insomnia for many years of my life, these are the benefits that I have found to ring true about melatonin. I have taken melatonin for the past 6 years and have found it to greatly reduce episodes of insomnia that once would last years.
1. Melatonin helps people sleep. Many people with insomnia may find that melatonin helps them get to sleep even better than some prescription drugs. Other people with more normal sleep patterns can also possibly benefit from supplementing with melatonin by achieving an even better quality and quantity of sleep.
2. Melatonin acts as an antioxidant throughout the body. It is one of the few antioxidants that can actually pass the blood brain barrier, which may lessen oxidative stress due to free radicals in the brain. This is especially important, as excess oxidation in the brain can cause neurological problems.
3. Some studies have shown the melatonin lowers cholesterol levels in individuals. Individuals with high cholesterol levels have an increased risk of illness, so it’s good news that melatonin may help lower LDL versions of cholesterol.
4. According to some studies, melatonin has been shown to protect the retina of the eye. Specifically, melatonin may be instrumental in protecting your eyes from macular degeneration.
5. Some new studies have shown that melatonin may reduce anxiety levels. Although there is no solid evidence of this claim (yet), it is promising that something as natural as melatonin could possible help with anxiety.
Where to get melatonin?
Melatonin is naturally produced by the body in the pineal gland. Though most young people’s bodies manufacture sufficient amounts of melatonin, as we get older the body seems to produce less and less of this vital hormone that regulates our sleep cycles. This being the case, many of us will likely need to supplement with melatonin to get an adequate dose. While some foods to contain melatonin, e.g., cherries and sunflower seeds, the amounts are very small. Thus, supplementing with melatonin is likely the best method. Luckily, melatonin is both inexpensive and widely available at most health stores. For example, iHerb.com sells melatonin for as little as $5- or almost free if you use any iHerb coupon.
How Much to Take?
This all depends. While most people find that supplementing with 1 mg of melatonin is sufficient for a good night of sleep, many people need much more. For example, I need at least 6 mgs of melatonin to feel an effect with regards to my sleep. In rare case, some may require even more and, as mentioned, many people will do just fine without supplementing at all. If you feel you need to supplement with melatonin for sleep or you just want to add melatonin as part of your health care routine, it's a good idea to talk with a MD first as he/she can guide you to an appropriate dose. It is very important to talk with your Dr. before supplementing with melatonin as sleep issues can stem from a number of other issues other than a melatonin deficiency
Thanks for reading!