If you’ve never heard of melatonin or still don’t know much about it, then you’re going to be learning a lot more in the near future. There has been a buzz building around this hormone as innovative products are developed for new delivery systems. Before we get caught up in the hype, it’s useful to take a step back and find out what this is, what it is for, and how we could benefit from it.
Medical uses of melatonin have traditionally been for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, radiation exposure, and tinnitus. However, since it is relatively easy to produce and has only a few side effects, the use of melatonin for the treatment of other conditions has been explored more recently.
We take a look at what melatonin is, where it comes from, and why we might take it. We will also explore the forms of melatonin available, how you can take them, and what the potential side effects are.
What Is Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by your brain, in the pineal gland. As a naturally produced hormone, its function is controlling your daily sleep cycles. It is known as the regulator of your circadian rhythm, or body clock.
The amount of melatonin you make depends on the hours you keep, and the amount of light to which you are exposed during waking hours. The release of melatonin is triggered in the evening after the sun has set. Your melatonin levels are elevated throughout the night due to the darkness, with levels falling the sun rises.
Although melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone, there are situations where its production may be stimulated, or it may be taken as a supplement. One of the new ways that you will see melatonin delivered is through an inhaler.
One of the main reasons inhalers have become so popular is that they are supposed to deliver their contents (whether it is vitamins, melatonin, CBD, or nicotine) in a matter of seconds. While there is little known about this method of ingestion, it is becoming an increasingly common method for delivering melatonin. In the FAQ section at http://getcherrycbd.com/cherry-faqs/, Cherry indicates that “melatonin production declines with age,” which explains why it is sought out as a supplement.
Benefits & Side Effects of Melatonin
As melatonin affects our body clock, it is often used as a treatment for sleeping disorders. Although scientific evidence to show that is can improve our sleeping patterns is lacking, there is evidence that it can be beneficial for resetting your body clock. Shift-workers or travellers suffering from jetlag can benefit from taking melatonin at the right time.
It is a potent antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s known to play a significant role within our immune systems and appears to be a critical part of keeping us healthy.
It is also believed to play a part in the regulation of our fat cells and to act as a protector against neurodegenerative diseases, which is why it’s been explored as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. Melatonin receptors are found right across the systems in our body, which means it’s likely to have multiple therapeutic functions.
The side effects of melatonin can include drowsiness, nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Others have reported general irritability and restless legs. The effects of melatonin on the reproductive system aren’t clear, so it is not recommended for those who are trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding. Anyone taking any other form of medication should check with their doctor before taking it, as it may interact with other drugs.
Other Sources of Melatonin
As well as being available to ingest as a vapor, melatonin can be found in tablet form, as a liquid, or a lozenge, which are ingested as supplements. Achieving a good balance between natural light during the day and darker surroundings at night is a great way to self-regulate our melatonin.
There are also food products that influence our natural melatonin levels. These include cherries, strawberries, olives, and walnuts. Eating foods such as tomatoes, rice, barley, and cow’s milk can also increase our levels, which can help us to feel calmer or even sleepy.
At the End of the Day
Melatonin is a natural hormone that we produce in our brains. Our production levels can diminish over time, and if our sleep-cycles are disrupted, this leads to a further decrease in melatonin output. We can stimulate our own hormone production through exposure to light and dark, and by eating specific foods, or we can boost it through vaping and other ingested supplements.