Melatonin

MELATONIN is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain.  During sleep the amount of melatonin increases, and during the day the amount of melatonin falls.  This is because melatonin is influenced by the light/dark cycle and regulates our biological clock(1). Research has shown an inverse relationship between breast cancer size and nighttime levels of melatonin (Front Horn Res 1997; 23:132-36).  And another study found that women who worked 3 or more night shifts for 3 years or less were 40% more likely to have breast cancer than women who did not work night shifts (Health facts, Nov 2001, 26 (11):3-4).  Around the mid- forties the reduction in pineal gland becomes noticeable, and sleep patterns change.  Supplementing with melatonin can increase your night sleep time, help treat jet-lag, and may help reverse the signs of aging (2).  To naturally increase your melatonin you can:
1.Eat foods high in tryptophan
2.Supplement with vitamins B3 and B6
3.Sleep in a dark room
4.Expose yourself to 20 minutes of natural sunlight in the morning
5.Do not turn on bright lights when waking at night- this stops the melatonin production.  Instead, use a night light in the bathroom/ hallway.

(1)Kaur, Sat Dharam, ND 2010
(2)Pettle, A., MD 2003

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