6 Uses for Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the brain and helps regulate other hormones and the body’s internal clock. Melatonin plays a huge role in when we fall asleep and wake up. When it’s dark out, your body produces more melatonin. When it is light out, the production of melatonin levels decreases. If you are exposed to bright lights at night, or darkness during the day, your body’s normal melatonin cycles. Jet lag, and shift work can drastically affect your melatonin levels. You can increase your melatonin levels by spending time in the sunlight, sleeping in complete darkness, and following your body’s urges to sleep and wake up. You can also visit a doctor for melatonin supplements. Melatonin is available in tablets, capsules, cream, and lozenges that dissolve.
Uses for Melatonin
Better sleep – Melatonin supplements can help you sleep if you have insomnia or disrupted sleep rhythms, or if you have naturally low melatonin levels. Studies found that melatonin reduces the time it takes to fall asleep, increases the number of sleeping hours, and boosts alertness during the day. The study found that melatonin supplements work better on people over the age of 55 who have insomnia. For people with primary insomnia, melatonin helped them fall asleep faster, sleep better, be more alert in the morning, and improve their overall quality of life.
Breast cancer – Studies suggest that low melatonin levels are associated with breast cancer risk. Women with breast cancer have lower levels of melatonin than those who do not have breast cancer. Experiments found that low levels of melatonin help the growth of cancer cells, whereas adding melatonin to these cells slows their growth. Other experiments found that melatonin can strengthen the effects of certain chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer. A study of women who were taking tamoxifen for breast cancer but saw no improvement added melatonin to their medication schedule and found that their tumors shrunk in size in 28% of women.
Prostate cancer – Men with prostate cancer have lower melatonin levels than men without prostate cancer. Melatonin has been found to block the growth of prostate cancer cells. Taking melatonin supplements combined with conventional medical treatment improved survival rates in 9 out of 14 men with prostate cancer.
Sunburns – Studies tested melatonin alone and combined with topical vitamin E before exposure to UV light and found that gels, ointments, or lotions containing melatonin can protect against sunburn and other skin damage.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Studies suggest that people with IBS can take melatonin to reduce symptoms like abdominal pain. There were also some preliminary studies that found melatonin can help to improve other symptoms of IBS such as bloating and frequency of bowel movements. Further studies are required.
Epilepsy- Melatonin can reduce the frequency and duration of seizures in children with epilepsy. Talk to your doctor to find out if melatonin supplements can help your child.