Why Melatonin in Important and 4 Ways to Naturally Boost this Anti-Aging Hormone

sleeping woman

Melatonin is a natural hormone that is released from a small gland within the brain known as the pineal gland. Melatonin is known to be responsible for the regulation of our internal body clock, referred to as the circadian rhythm and regulates female’s reproductive hormones. However, science is now discovering that this is only one of the many benefits adequate Melatonin levels have in the body.

  • Insomnia: Boosting melatonin levels appears to reduce the time it takes for individuals to fall asleep, increase the number of sleeping hours and boost daytime alertness.
  • Menopause: Increasing melatonin may also benefit woman suffering from disordered sleep during the time of menopause.
  • Breast Health: Melatonin appears to be protective against breast cancer. Several studies suggest that low melatonin levels may be associated with breast cancer. Further, several preliminary studies suggest that melatonin may strengthen the effect of chemotherapy drugs.
  • Prostate Heath: Studies show that men with prostate cancer have lower melatonin levels than men without the disease.

Melatonin levels appear to naturally decline as we age. Read on to find out how you can naturally boost the levels of this important hormone in your body.

 

1. Avoid Exposure to Bright Lights at Night
Nighttime light exposure disrupts melatonin production and interferes with sleep. We recommend dimming the lights, avoiding looking at TV, computer and smart phone screens 1 hour before going to bed. This also applies for if you wake during the middle of the night, use dim light and avoid putting on bright overhead lights.
2. Expose Yourself to Sunlight During Your Waking Hours.
Nighttime night interferes with melatonin production, however inadequate exposure to light in the daytime also disrupts the body’s natural melatonin cycles. Make time to get outside in the sunshine during the day, or sit in a sunny window when you can.

3. Melatonin-Boosting Foods in Your Daily Diet.
By increasing the substrates necessary to produce melatonin through food, you can naturally increase the production of our this important hormone in our bodies. Make sure that you are consuming adequate protein (especially in the morning) and foods with calcium and magnesium. Good choices include seeds and dark leafy green vegetables.
4. Consider Supplementing with Melatonin
The dose of melatonin required will vary from for each individual and it is best to consult your Naturopathic doctor before taking melatonin. Melatonin should always be taken 30 minutes  to one hour before bedtime, preferably on an empty stomach. Melatonin should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or nursing or before driving a vehicle.

If you are interested in having a Naturopathic Doctor come into your place of work for a interactive wellness seminar or for Naturopathic treatment in the comfort of your own office, please check out http://www.infusionhealth.ca or contact info@infusionhealth.ca.

In Health,

Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND

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A Few “Very Naturopathic” Weight Loss Tips

1. Always eat breakfast! Breakfast helps to kick start our metabolism and increase our metabolic rate for the whole day. By including protein in your first meal of the day you will also stay full and satisfied for longer.
2.Cook with coconut oil as much as possible. Our bodies have trouble storing the fat from coconut oil so as soon as we eat it we burn it!! This also encourages fat loss.
3.Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and add lemon and/ or a pinch of cayenne to your water. The lemon increases liver detox and the cayenne can help stimulate weight loss.
4.Do not eat three hours before bedtime. You don’t need the fuel right before bedtime, and eating late at night can also interfere with melatonin production, preventing you from getting the rest you need.
6.Try and get 8 hours of sleep a night. Proper sleep helps decrease cortisol levels. High cortisol levels are associated with weight gain. Additionally, when we have enough sleep we have more energy to exercise and less of a tendency to make poor choices when eating.
7. Try and be active EVERYDAY. Even if it is just a 30 minute power walk, at least you are getting your body moving. However, to encourage weight loss you have to sweat, so when you do go to the gym or for a run make sure to work at a level that you are perspiring at.

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